My experience with Converge is fairly limited. I don't think I've ever heard Jane Doe. I might have heard Petitioning the Empty Sky. And I haven't listened to No Heroes in years. So really, when I threw on Axe To Fall, it was almost like a new band. A new, incredibly awesome band. Right from the opening riff, this album is a monster. It taps into that part of the brain that says "throw yourself around haphazardly and if someone's elbow breaks your nose, it's totally worth it." I have no doubt that the mosh put at a Converge show is down right frightening. The Red Cross sets up buckets for blood donations. It's just impossible not to get worked up listening to Axe To Fall. The track with Steve Von Till as a guest vocalist is pretty mellow or the most part but when the heavy kicks in near the end, it's huge.
Jake Bannon is an amazing vocalist. The energy that he put into his performance is outstanding. You can't fake that kind of intensity. Kurt Ballou is one heck of a guitar player too. There is nothing simple or easy about his riffs. It's weird that something that intricate can be as catchy as it is. His style makes Converge a very fitting tour-mate for Mastodon. Mastodon may be "sludge" or "crust" and Converge "hardcore" but they are both so complex. And both bands are so tight. Like they were born to play together. I wish I was able to catch that tour. Dammit.
I still can't get over Jake's neck tattoo though. Those things weird me out. Back of the neck. Fine. Side of the neck. You're pushing it. Right over the Adam's Apple? Nope. Sorry. Not for me. Maybe it's because I hate turtlenecks.
I'm getting off topic. If you want to read about Axe To Fall from someone who's a way better writer than I am, check out the cover story in the current issue of Decibel. It's fantastic.