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Converge 

You Fail Me (Epitaph)

Converge is one of the most brutal and single-minded noisecore outfits around, mixing the complex riffage of Botch with the hellish screeching of Unsane. It's a thoroughly unpalatable mix, unless you're really looking to have a record pummel you about the face and head for half an hour or so.

The band's 2001 album, Jane Doe, was a landmark in the noisecore genre; for most groups following in their wake, the bar was set far out of reach. Indeed, Converge itself has failed to equal -- let alone outdo -- its own past glories on its first full-length in three years, You Fail Me.

On almost every score, You Fail Me is a pale echo of Converge's past work. The rhythms are more pugilistic than mathematical, and vocalist Jacob Bannon is buried in the mix more than before. His voice sounds like it's coming through a train-station intercom (echoing Unsane's Chris Spencer). Kurt Ballou's production emphasizes guitars, which is fine; this is hardcore, after all, and the feedback squeals punctuating "Black Cloud" create the migraine headache noisecore fans will be expecting. Retitling the album We Fail You would be overly harsh, but after a breathtaking achievement like Jane Doe, this feels mediocre.

More by Phil Freeman

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