Fear, Emptiness, Decibel: Converge’s You Fail Me Inducted into the Hall of Fame
Before there were blogs there were these things called magazines, and the only metal magazine we still get excited about reading every month is Decibel. Here’s managing editor Andrew Bonazelli…
We’ve put Converge on the cover of Decibel to coincide with every one of their new albums since they released You Fail Me in September of 2004 (way back in issue #2). That’s four straight full-lengths, and to borrow from Bruce Willis in Pulp Fiction, we don’t feel the least bit bad about it. They’re one of the most innovative, influential, athletic and ferocious bands in not just modern hardcore, but extreme music at large (whether or not they have an Encyclopaedia Metallum page), so no shit they were overdue for a second dB Hall of Fame. The fact that it wound up being You Fail Me makes for a cool in-house full circle story at camp Decibel, but more importantly, actively dispels the myth that Jane Doe is the end-all, be-all of their career.
Not that we’re going off-the-grid contrarian here and bagging on Jane; we named it the top extreme album of the ’90s in a special issue a couple years ago, and stick by that assessment with pride. And we’re sure that many of you agree. But, as you’ll read in this oral history, the Bay State quartet considers You Fail Me the album where they ripped through their leg braces Forrest Gump-style (sorry, I don’t know why the ’94 Oscars keep coming up; I don’t have any inane references for Shawshank, Quiz Show or Four Weddings and a Funeral, promise) and galvanized their formidable whirlwind of riffs, fills and anguished poetry into… shit, I’m hesitant to use such fart-sniffing terminology, but songcraft. That lurching, crushing, bending one-note riff in the title track is just the start, a foundation for the many risks Converge would take (and land, emphatically) in the ensuing 11 years.
Jake Bannon, Kurt Ballou, Nate Newton and Ben Koller have only enhanced their scene bona fides in that timespan, from their music together and apart to their contributions to visual art, engineering and production. Yet they couldn’t be more unpretentious and thoughtful in reminiscing upon the task of following up a universally-agreed-upon classic. Check out the YOF HOF in the February issue.