Converge: Axe to Fall [Epitaph]

March 1, 2010

bp0310_bprec_con_nrFrom the opening punk/ metal, bass-and-drums, 5/4 runaway-train beat of “Dark Horse,” you know you’re in for a frightening ride from metalcore pioneers Converge. The band might not be typical BP Recommends fare, but Axe to Fall contains a performance from longtime bassist Nate Newton that’s just too vicious and unique to go unnoted. Guitarist Kurt Ballou doesn’t go for generic metal crunch, instead choosing an extremely distressed vintage tone, leaving ample room for Newton’s wildly overdriven bass to maraud and wreak general havoc. The kind of distortion in Newton’s tone is more aggressive, treble-y, and flat-out terrifying than perhaps anything this reviewer has ever heard; the combination of low-end boom and high-end shatter sounds like a huge pane of glass in the process of exploding. The bass actually feels dangerous. Song forms are short, challenging, and loaded with tricky time changes—but the ethos is far more punk than metal, the band is more rowdy than incessantly precise, and the disc is compelling from start to finish.

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