With rookie metal-core acts popping up out of nowhere like a bad case of ass acne, it's great to see the hard-bitten, decibel-scarred troops of Converge still soldiering on. Since its inception in 1990, the Boston-based battalion has been a study in sustained bloodletting and violent contradictions. Sinewy yet sensitive, spastic yet technical, dissonant yet anthemic, Converge has spent years defining its poles and then stretching its music tautly between them. But the band's recorded output always fell a bit short of its bludgeoning live show -- that is, until 2001's Jane Doe, a juggernaut sculpted out of armor-piercing riffs, apocalyptic noise and the lung-rupturing roar of vocalist Jacob Bannon. The quartet's brand-new Epitaph release is called You Fail Me, a self-prophecy in reverse if there ever was one. Picking up what Jane Doe threw down, the disc's dozen tracks trawl the bleakest, moodiest depths of the sonic lexicon as they pummel all mall-punk pretenders in their path. Converge might be getting up there, but it's not coming down anytime soon.
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