Wow, where to start? Converge is the last great remnant of a dying scene... metalcore. Sure, there are tons of other come-lately bands that are trying to follow in their footsteps, but to this day no one has come close to the power that Converge has shown. 2001 saw the release of Jane Doe, a pure metal masterpiece. It found the band expressing a new understanding of their sound and driving it home in as raw and energetic album as they could possibly muster. Honestly, it left the door wide open for failure. With such a highly praised album as Jane Doe was, there had to be some nervousness when they started the recording process for You Fail Me. The real question on the mind of every Converge fan is could they repeat that success?
It's easy to set up reviews like this. The, "can they repeat" scenario. But it's what music fans have come to expect. And when a band that changes up their sound as much as Converge does is expected to give you a better version of the last album, it's easy to get caught up in the, "well... I liked the last one better" game. But you have to listen to each Converge album as a separate entity and You Fail Me is no different.
Even though you wouldn't mistake any Converge album for another band, they have kept their sound remarkably fresh and vibrant. With You Fail Me the band continues down the road they started with Jane Doe. The guitars are screeching, the drums clear and heavy, the bass raw and unsettling, and Jacob Bannon's vocals are demon like. But the unrelenting pace of Jane Doe is replaced with a more even tempo album.
The epic squall of Jane Doe's title track is felt throughout You Fail Me. It seems that the band is even more obsessed with creating encompassing soundscapes rather than 'metal' or 'hardcore' songs. The scale of some of this ambition could be compared to Neurosis' earlier work (see Through Silver In Blood), but that is not to say that they sound like Neurosis. It's a hard thing to put into words, and I'm probably doing a horrible job of it... but just know that the songs are very big and fully realized.
With You Fail Me, Converge solidify their spot in history along side other largely influential bands. And I'm not just talking about bands in the hardcore scene. Converge has become just as important to metal as At The Gates, Entombed, Dead Guy (I know, a hardcore band, but still a very important band) and the like. So just go out and pick this one up before you happen along another review that says "tour de force", "crushing", or something stupid like that.