Converge Bury The Ghost Of ‘Jane Doe’
Is Converge’s latest album, ‘Axe To Fall’, better than their landmark release to date? We put the question to Converge frontman Jacob Bannon.
Like virtually every seminal band, Converge have one of those albums that are considered untouchable. Slayer have Reign In Blood, Black Flag had Damaged and Converge have Jane Doe. Dare to question the brilliance of this record and you’ll deservedly be met with a dismissive sneer or a brick to the nose, depending on who you’ve just dared to open your mouth to. It’s the catch 22 of having an album that has inspired such unwavering devotion. On the one hand, you have a landmark record that has justifiably etched your place in the pantheons of hardcore folklore for the rest of time and on the other, people are always likely to say “it’s not as good as Jane Doe”.
“I don’t really look back on releases,” reveals Converge frontman, Jacob Bannon. “I don’t look at anything I’ve put my name to as being defining of myself or anything else. My life is always moving forward, so I don’t get married to an idea or a certain body of art or music. We don’t enjoy music that’s that stagnant and predictable. I create and move on and it’s up to other people to digest in some way. It’s really flattering and we’re really appreciative that people become attached to albums in some way but also, people romanticise a lot in music. I take it for what it’s worth. I appreciate it that people dig that album and other albums but I don’t put any one of our records above another.”
Seeing as it’s our job to debate such matters, if the band’s latest opus (the outstanding ‘Axe To Fall’) is not equal to their most revered album, it’s certainly the closest they’ve come in the 8 years since Jane Doe’s release. This is no diss to ‘You Fail Me’ or ‘No Heroes’, they’re both incredible bodies of work, it’s just that ‘Axe To Fall’ is a dazzling array of white-hot metal riffing in amongst colossal grooves and thick-textured soundscapes. To even be causing the debate of whether or not it’s a better album than ‘Jane Doe’ is a remarkable achievement and is testament to the quality of the band’s latest and perhaps greatest. Ask Jacob whether this is the best thing that Converge have stamped their name on and his response is instantaneous.
“Absolutely. If you’re not creating music that is your best work then what’s the point?” spits Bannon. “If you’re not putting something out there that’s real and valid and that’s relevant, that’s truly relevant, not just relevant to the music community, but that’s relevant to yourselves as artists or you personally and emotionally, then why are you even bothering to do it? We’ve always felt that the day that we no longer feel that motivation to better ourselves, we’d choose to stop as a band. We consistently create and enjoy challenges and we always challenge ourselves with everything we do. Every album we put out, we put everything of ourselves into it and hopefully that comes out at the other side for the listener.”
WORDS: Terry Bezer