Converge – No Heroes

No Heroes

Converge is the Tyrannosaurus Rex of metal. A beast that comes barreling out of nowhere and ripping into the flesh of anything foolish enough to stand in its way. It’s jaws are massive; teeth, razor sharp. You give me any other metal band, I don’t give a fuck which one and these guys will tear them limb from limb, stringing the carcass up in a tree with its own entrails. If you’ve ever seen them live, you know the ferocity of which I speak.

With Jane Doe already an established metal masterpiece and its solid follow up, 2004’s You Fail Me, the band edged its way into the upper echelon of all things hard and heavy. At this point Converge has nothing left to prove to anyone. But unlike other groups who would be content to bask in the glow of success, these guys are constantly touring and slaving in the studio. They’re working overtime for you, motherfuckers!

No Heroes is a fantastic album, its rough hewn passages sound like they were crafted by caring hands, like your grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies. Other than that you’d be hard pressed to find much else that your grandmother and Converge share in common. Centerpiece “Grim Heart/Black Rose” is the albums only misstep. Its sung vocals, courtesy of Only Living Witness vocalist, Jonah Jenkins, sound a little too close to the cheesy faux-crooning of Cave-In vocalist Stephen Brodsky. While ignoring this one track will cut ten minutes out of No Heroes‘ run time of 40 total, it’s what they do with the remainder that will leave you gasping for air.

“Heartache” and “Hellbound” are short and sweet, encompassing relentless intensity with a sharp focus. The latter’s jugular-grabbing bassline sounds like something from an early Discharge record. “Sacrifice” comes off like a more fleshed out version of Jane Doe‘s “Phoenix in Flames.” “Vengeance” comes in on a drumroll not unlike one of the odd changes on Black Flag’s Slip It In. Just listen to the way Ben Koller rides the cymbal during the opening riff. This dude has got to be one of the best drummers in metal. The title track has a riff so memorable it should be an instant classic. You’ll be wondering how they can possibly top it. Instead of even trying, “Plagues” changes direction with a mid-tempo organ and downtuned guitar riff courtesy of Kurt Ballou that grinds salt in the open wound left from the first six songs. “Orphaned” has an oddly melodic clean guitar riff buried under the distorted bass. It has an odd breakdown in the middle that threatens to jacknife the song before the band takes control and bashes it into submission. “Lonewolves” is closer to You Fail Me material with Jacob Bannon using his staunch bark instead of the gurgling throaty rasps heard on the rest of the album. “To The Lions” showcases one of the only typical metal riffs you’re likely to find on a Converge record. This one sounds like prime ’86 era Metallica (which I have no problem with by the way). By the end of the song, which is also the end of the record, the band is riding out on a slower stoner-metal style groove.

With the exception of “Grim Heart/Black Rose,” No Heroes is easily the best metal record of 2006. You can bet that Converge will be touring on it for at least the next year and a half. In the meantime we’ll have this document to keep us company – a blinding blast of unforgiving white light.