Converge - You Fail Me
Epitaph Records
12 songs (35'26)
Release year: 2004
Reviewed by Milan
Archive review

After Jane Doe, a massive album not only for Converge as a band but for underground music in general due to its never seen before mix of raw emotion, vigor and technicality, everyone was wondering what their next move would be. A near impossible act to follow, releasing just another Jane Doe would've led to nothing but disappointment. On the other hand, coming up with something completely different might help them step out of the enormous shadow cast on them by their previous masterpiece, but it might also mean taking a step back, something so not Converge that it would come as a shock to their fans and the entire underground music community. Or even more shockingly, would they, given the exposure Jane Doe had earned them, take a more commercial route? The answer turned out to be quite the opposite: You Fail Me, their most bare-bones and darkest album to date.

Not a lot has changed when it comes to the themes Bannon addresses in his lyrics (fractioning relationships, being seemingly alone in this world, inner strength, etc.). It's how he addresses and delivers them that makes them so effective on this album. They're more poignant than ever before and the way he portrays these themes makes them instantly relatable to everyone listening. Take Last Light for example, where he encourages everyone to "Keep bleeding, keep healing, keep fading, Keep shining on", to keep fighting, even when times are rough, but to never lose hope. But that's about all hope Bannon will provide you with, besides that it's all about inner demons, people who feed off others and unanswered love. Musically You Fail Me follows suit. Don't think Converge have gone all gothic metal on our ass though, for the vicious riffs the band is known for are still here. The point is that every riff, while being as loud and crushing as ever, only strengthens the nearly depressing mood Bannon's lyrics evoke, just listen to the main riff of the aforementioned Last Light for example: one would expect an album opener, especially on a Converge full-length, to kick the album and your ass into gear. Not here though! Next in line is Black Cloud featuring a riff that comes a bit closer to being headbangable, only to be interrupted by the entire band yelling BLACK CLOUD GAINING GROUND!", instantly taking you back to that hopelessness that's so present on this record. Lastly, one can't talk about a Converge album without addressing the rhythm section with Koller putting a lot of incredibly skilled drummers to shame.

In sum You Fail Me was possibly the best way for Converge to follow up the classic Jane Doe. It isn't a step forward from Jane Doe but it's not a step back either. It's just different to what came before as well as to what came after, You Fail Me possibly being their most difficult album with its hardly cheerful mood and quite dry production. I can hardly recommend it as a starting point in their discography but it's an album that shouldn't be ignored by anyone even remotely into Converge.

Killing Songs :
Last Light, Black Cloud, Drop Out, Heartless, Eagles Become Vultures
Milan quoted 85 / 100
Koeppe quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Converge that we have reviewed:
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 - No Heroes reviewed by James and quoted 94 / 100
Converge - Jane Doe reviewed by Thomas and quoted 94 / 100
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