Track By Track: Converge's Axe to Fall with J. Bannon
To celebrate the release of Converge's latest—and quite possibly greatest—release Axe To Fall, we asked frontman J. Bannon to give us a rundown of all the songs. To read more about the album and the band, be sure to snag a copy of the newest Decibel (December 2009), featuring Converge on the cover. And now we turn it over to Mr. Bannon.
The concept of an underdog or "Dark Horse" is a common theme throughout punk and hardcore for good reason; our community itself was built on the backs of them. Many of us involved in this community were counted out in other places in our lives. We then carved out our own homes and built our own lives independent from others. This song is a tribute to the people in my life who have done (and continue) to do just that. It's also for those I've known who have died trying.
I'll sum this up with the two main verses as they capture the essence of the song: "...for all those born to serve and those that chose to hide / (how many worker bees died within our hive) / let their sadness be our blessing / let their losses lead the way / for all those born to die and those that lost the fight / (how many fallen friends died within our sights) / let their hard roads be our way out / let their passion lead the way..."
Reap What You Sow
Reflection is blinding and regret is paralyzing. We'd be soulless without these things. I've spent over half my life within this community, giving everything I have to it. With that said, I am forever grateful for all that it has given me. Sadly there are others involved in it who are empty and parasitic. They've come to reap, but will never sow. This song is about those on that destructive path. In the end, they'll inherit their own barren lands. After all, karma theoretically catches all, and death always comes ripping.
Axe To Fall
The title track of the album. In my opinion life is a constant emotional battle of positive and negative. Regardless of cultural and economical division, we all face this age-old quarrel in some way or another. This song is about my own personal struggle with that within my own life. At times I feel as if I want to figuratively split the negative me from the positive, and this song was written in the throws of one of those lows. It's less poetic and more confrontational than many things I've written intentionally. Real talk, as they say...
"Axe To Fall"
The quest for wealth turns people into monsters. It distorts ones vision and forces them to abandon their reason, logic, and heart. In the last few years, I've watched many lose themselves to that and attempt to drag good people down with them. The main verse explains my feelings on the subject pretty well: "...distorted hearts worship god currency that is so worthless to me / the poor eat the poor / just like we've done before / cursed by the burden youth brings..."
Worms Will Feed / Rats Will Feast
An expansion on both "Reap What You Sow" and "Effigy" lyrical themes. In the last year or so I felt as though I've witnessed the coming and going of a great deal of misguided souls. I've watched them chase dreams uphill only to come crashing down twice as fast. Reality is far less forgiving than dreams. As I say in the song "...the worms will find a way / the rats will find a way..." They always do.
Everyday our past becomes bigger while our future becomes smaller. This song is about the idea that the past will haunt and follow as much we let it, all throughout life. We all have things from our past that weigh on us, but it is our choice to either let this weight define us or to overcome it in some way.
I've met many people that have never taken steps to live the life they wanted. In time, those regrets start to poison and cloud them, essentially making them destructive to the good that surrounds. This song is about witnessing these people sour, but it's also about the complexity of emotion when you are trying to help those that you care about. Ultimately it's about true hate, as well as true love and dedication to saving the people you care about.
A song about having friendships with people who can't live honestly with themselves. Years of white lies and excuses only build to fall.
Dead Beat is about the vicious circle that is abuse and neglect. Someone made the demons within most people. We aren't born with them.
A song about self-destruction. Tearing yourself apart to damage others does nothing. Living well is the best revenge.
This song is about working day in and day out and feeling yourself slip away. Losing yourself just to maintain. I think many can relate to that, when the numbness sets in within all of us.
A bleak vision of the present and the stresses that our world hands us. We all search for ways out, to escape the weight of this world.
A song about loneliness, and wanting nothing more than to be standing in the shadow of the people you love.
Buy Axe To Fall here and brace yourself for its unforgiving awesomeness.