Converge - You Fail Me (Cover Artwork)


You Fail Me (2004)


I'm not sure what to say about this release. I think I'm still suffering from some sort of complex pertaining to their contract with Epitaph. I understand why Epitaph would want to get their hands on an inevitable release that will go down as a landmark in hardcore and independent music, but it's awkward to cope with. Converge got me into Equal Vision. Not Shelter or Saves the Day. Converge was the band that got me into Cave In, and eventually slightly more off-center bands like At The Drive-In. They put on a phenomenal live show (even with just one guitarist), and are a role model for DIY bands (doing their own production, artwork; they could have even conceivably released this on their own successful label). I might as well have written this review before the record even landed in my mailbox.

For all the amazing things Converge have their name on, I'm always pretty skeptical at first about each one of their releases. Jane Doe took a few listens before I'd really put it up there with Petitioning The Empty Sky (still, as far as I'm concerned, one of the most influential hardcore CDs ever), and You Fail Me is already proving to be the same way... hopefully. Through two tracks, you start to wonder if the band ever rehearses anymore, or just records the first thing that comes to mind. Jacob Bannon's trademark bloodcurdling screams venture down into actual male range to begin the record, making you wonder what gives. By the third track "Black Cloud," you start to hear a more traditional Converge, and with the seventh track "You Fail Me" (an epic six-minute hardcore opus), the band is in full stride. However, they follow it up with six more minutes ("In Her Shadow") of seemingly "artsy" acoustic strumming with various noises in the background. It would be meaningful if it went anywhere or somehow served as a segue into "Eagles Become Vultures" (probably the album's most treacherous and heavy track), but it just makes highly apparent my one big complaint with You Fail Me. Every previous record has been so phenomenally contiguous and flowing, despite how off the wall their music is, and this record just sounds like twelve disconnected tracks. This record has a good eight tracks of great gun-to-your-face metalcore - certainly among the best you'll hear all year - but this band is capable of writing albums that can serve as one big song or broken down for your hot hardcore party mixes.

You Fail Me is an outstanding release, and is worth whatever Best Buy charges for it, but for a band that was such a gateway for me into pretty much every kind of heavy music that I now consider myself a fan of, I guess I wanted to say this was their best record yet, and it most definitely is not.