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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Converge
Petitioning the Empty Sky/When Forever Comes Crashing
Equal Vision Records

Rating: 7/10 ?


July 25, 2005
Rating: 7/7.5 /10

Though Converge's third and fourth full-lengths have never been out of print, Equal Vision has justified their reissue to the point that repurchase will be necessary for diehards. 1996's Petitioning the Empty Sky and 1998's When Forever Comes Crashing come completely repackaged with new artwork from Aaron Turner and expanded booklets with plenty of that no-flash photography the hardcore kids love. Each album also features enhanced portions and bonus tracks: a demo of "Bitter and Then Some" on Forever and a series of live radio performances on Petitioning.

A sense of duty also seems to be behind these repressings. The liner notes' essay (which spans the course of both albums' inserts) is filled with pining for the pure glory days of hardcore, longing for the days of Deadguy and Coalesce and decrying the scene's current "commercialization."

Converge emerges from this context as saviors of a style gone sour, at once pure practitioners and forward-thinking explorers. These albums - which foreshadow math-metal monster Jane Doe and mark the apex of the band's punk-flavored days - now stand as reminders that meaningful art actually can crawl out of suburban all-ages venues.

The irony in thinking of Converge only in this light is that it negates the source of their wide appeal: their accessibility. Always tagged as genuine cross-pollinators of heavy metal and hardcore, Converge have just as much Jane's Addiction and Smashing Pumpkins in their blood as they do Slayer or Dag Nasty - though critics, fans, and perhaps even the band themselves would be hard-pressed to admit it. Jacob Bannon matches his devil child shrieks with Perry Farrell crooning, and the band's thoughtful dynamics and banner-waving refrains fly with the precision and epic thrust of a Big Rock band. The remastering job betrays Converge's cock rock flirtations even further; these re-releases sound prime for Headbanger's Ball.

Fortunately, the band's underlying similarity to the artists they're most often pitted against does nothing to detract from these albums' potency. Converge's position as heavy band of choice among indie rock types has always hinged on the fact that they provide unrivaled teenage catharsis. Anyone who's been following the band long enough to see these reissues as a chance to revisit Converge's catalog has probably discovered long ago how Bannon's lyrics offer neither revelation nor revolution. "Conduit" and "The Saddest Day" can only change your life once; their magic lies in their ability to rock no matter how demystified they've grown over time.

Reviewed by Phillip Buchan
A one-time music director at WUOG in Athens, Phillip is into college radio, literature, writing, buying records, going to shows, talking to friends, learning -- pretty much the same stuff that all of us priveledged, (pseudo?)intellectual Americans are into.

See other reviews by Phillip Buchan

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