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Somewhere between releasing 2004′s You Fail Me and No Heroes in 2006, I started seeing Kurt Ballou getting name-checked more as a producer at his Salem-based GodCity studios than as the guitarist of one of Massachusetts’s mightiest exports, Converge. If you take a quick look at what he’s recorded between even just 2008 and now, it makes sense: The shortlist includes Disfear’s Live The Storm, Genghis Tron’s Board Up the House, Torche’s Meanderthal, Misery Index’s Traitors, Buried Inside’s Spoils Of Failure, Doomriders’ Darkness Come Alive, Magrudergrind’s self-titled breakthrough, and yes … Converge’s forthcoming seventh full-length Axe To Fall. Which is why it’s time to forget his production resume for a bit and focus on his riffs … and piano, glockenspiel, saxophone, etc. Yes, Axe To Fall sounds great, but even if they’d recorded the 13-track collection in a shoebox, you get the feeling these songs would melt your face. The band still sounds like Converge, but like a Converge that’s been around for 19 years and continues adding distinctively new details to their attack. For instance, take a listen opener “Dark Horse.” It has everything you could want from a Converge song — knotty guitars, deep hardcore breakdowns, gnarled howls, and a triumphant blast of a finish — along with an updated dark-progressive feel you’ll find threaded throughout.

The collection includes guest spots from members of Neurosis (Steve Von Till offers guest vocals on the tumbleweeded Waits-style “Cruel Bloom”), Genghis Tron (Mookie Singerman gets soulful with his GT mates on the broodingly anthemic electro-tinged 7-minute post-”Grim Heart/Black Rose” closer “Wretched World”), Cave In, Hatebreed, Himsa, and (yes) Disfear.

Axe To Fall is out 10/20 via Epitaph (and on vinyl via Deathwish). You can catch them on tour with Mastodon, High On Fire, Dethklok, etc.

09/05 – Los Angeles, CA @ F Yeah Fest
09/24 – Durham, NH @ UNH
09/28 – Iowa City, IA @ The Picador
09/29 – Gillette, WY @ Knights Of Columbus
10/02 – Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater #
10/03 – Seattle, WA @ WaMu Theater #
10/04 – Vancouver, BC @ Orpheum Theater #
10/06 – Calgary, AB @ Big Four Building #
10/07 – Edmonton, AB @ Shaw Conference Center #
10/09 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Great Saltair #
10/10 – Denver, CO @ Fillmore Auditorium #
10/12 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theater #
10/13 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant #
10/14 – Des Moines, IA @ Val Air Ballroom #
10/15 – Nutty’s North @ Sioux Falls, SD %
10/16 – St. Paul, MN @ Myth #
10/17 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom #
10/18 – Milwaukee, WI @ Eagle’s Auditorium #
10/19 – Cleveland, OH @ Grog Shop %
10/20 – Columbus, OH @ LC Pavilion #
10/21 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore #
10/23 – Toronto, ON @ Sound Academy #
10/24 – Buffalo, NY @ The Fairgrounds #
10/25 – Albany, NY @ Armory #
10/27 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues #
10/30 – New York, NY @ Hammerstein Ballroom #
10/31 – Washington, DC @ Patriot Center #
11/01 – Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory #
11/05 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle #
11/06 – Myrtle Beach, SC @ House Of Blues #
11/07 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live #
11/08 – Pompano Beach, FL @ Pompano Beach Amphit #
11/11 – Dallas, TX @ House Of Blues #
11/12 – Houston, TX @ Verizon Wireless Theater #
11/13 – Austin, TX @ Austin City Music Hall #
11/14 – Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater #
11/16 – Las Cruces, NM @ Pan American Center #
11/17 – Mesa, AZ @ Mesa Ampitheater #
11/18 – Las Vegas, NV @ House Of Blues #
11/19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Palladium #

# w/ Mastodon, Dethklok, High On Fire
% w/ High On Fire

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Comments (12)
  1. Gmarley  |   Posted on Aug 25th, 2009 0

    Yesss.

  2. Whiney Stereogum reader  |   Posted on Aug 25th, 2009 0

    Best post of the week. Thank you.

  3. This song is awesome, and I can’t wait for the new LP to come out.

    It’s crazy that Converge has been together for so long

  4. Awesome. Can’t wait to hear this.

  5. “Jane Doe” was the soundtrack to my first year at college, so Converge will always hold a special place in my heart. I still think Ben Koller is one of the best drummers I’ve ever heard. This track just made my morning.

  6. no one captures real “extreme” intensity quite like converge. this track is tough!!

  7. Burg  |   Posted on Aug 25th, 2009 0

    I accidentally punched myself in the face on my first listen… you should have warned me Stereogum!!

  8. so every time i click on that link for the song, thinking it’s going to download, like converge’s myspace says and this website… it just opens the mp3 in firefox. how do i download it?

    • Andrianina  |   Posted on Aug 31st, 2009 0

      To download it, just right-click the link then click at something like “save target at” (I used Firefox in french version and now I’m on Opera) or, if you have any download manager, copy the link and use it w/ your download manager. Enjoy!

  9. hot-damn, what an awesome song. can’t wait for the album!!!!!!!

    Rob
    - holland

  10. Luke  |   Posted on Oct 8th, 2009 0

    This made me poo a little bit!! they still got it!

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