Converge - No Heroes
Epitaph Records
13 songs (41:30)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by James
Archive review

With Converge's latest, Axe To Fall touching down this week, it's time to look at the Boston noisemakers 2006 release, No Heroes. A return to the band at their most ferocious after the slight step to the left that was You Fail Me, No Heroes is perhaps the most divisive record in the Converge canon, with a range of opinions from fans ranging from a disappointment to an album that betters even the mighty Jane Doe. While I wouldn't go that far, at the very least No Heroes is the most easily lovable album from Converge combining the sort of noisy chaotic hardcore that makes you want to smash up a room with laser-focused songwriting.

One of the most interesting things about No Heroes is the way it's structured. The opening stretch from the lurching opening riff Heartache to Vengeance consists of short, 90-second bursts that say everything there is to be said about Converge in five minutes. It's clear this is a return to classic Converge, the opening double-hitter of Heartache and Hellbound recalling the way Jane Doe's opener Concubine led into Fault And Fracture.Guitars twist this way and that, sticksman Ben Koller keeps the band's assault grounded with mechanically precise beats, and Jacob Bannon howls like a wronged man gargling with razor blades. His lyrics aren't quite as intense as they were on Jane Doe (still the ultimate break-up album for pissed-off white guys), apart from Grim Heart/Black Rose, which is the closest the band have ever come to a power ballad. It's still loaded with groaning sludge riffs and apoplectic roaring, but it's set against cleanly sung vocals (admittedly not those of Jacob Bannon) and mournful guitar melodies. At nearly 10 minutes long it's a Converge epic, and I dare say it rivals Jane Doe's title track even though it lacks that song's crashing post-metal climax. Hardcore journeyman Jonah Jenkins provides guest vocals, and turns in a performance that proves him to be one of the underground's best kept secrets. He lends the song a emotional subtlety that Bannon's leonine howl, as jaw-dropping as it can be, just can't bring to Converge's music.

Although there are plenty of whirling mathcore wig-outs present on No Heroes, we still have some of the most instantly grabbing material they've cut to date. The rumbling, seasick Weight Of The World sets us up nicely for the title-track, sounding every bit like it should be Converge's hit single. You'd have to be some kind of humourless basement-dweller not to bellow your lungs out along with the song's simple refrain, while the verses boast galloping riffs not all that far removed from classic crossover thrash. It's the band straddling the line between punk and metal perfectly, and prove why they're one of the few metalcore bands still doing it right.

Despite Axe To Fall having just been released, No Heroes still strikes me as the perfect entry point to Converge. It's a tighter, less obtuse record than the less immediate, more tech-y Axe To Fall. It may have raised the ire of Converge O.G's, for reasons I've never had adequately explained to me, but it's certainly a worthy rival to Jane Doe. And considering that record's shadow still looms large in both metal and hardcore to this day, that should tell you just how good No Heroes is. Sterling stuff.

Killing Songs :
James quoted 94 / 100
Other albums by Converge that we have reviewed:
Converge - You Fail Me reviewed by Milan and quoted 85 / 100
Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind reviewed by Koeppe and quoted 93 / 100
Converge - Axe to Fall reviewed by Thomas and quoted 91 / 100
Converge - Jane Doe reviewed by Thomas and quoted 94 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 5 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:51 am
View and Post comments