Release DetailsLABEL Epitaph
RELEASED ON 10/24/2006
posted on 12/2006 By:
"Orphaned." It's probably the most perfect piece of music I have ever heard in my life. That fact that music fans aren't quitting their jobs and killing their families so that they can sit at home and listen to this song all day cements my already hardening disdain for the underground music scene at large. I approach this song the same why I would a gorgeous woman with whom lovemaking would only seem like over indulgence and defilement. For this song alone, No Heroes should cost five billion bricks of gold boullion and a liter of blood. And, you should still have to put a nickel ... into something ... every time you want to hear "Orphaned". Honestly, there's something so honest and spartan about this song, that I'm blown away that a band that's been writing mind-blowing songs for so long has struck gold like this on what seems like their trillionth album. The guitar tone is a perfect marriage of Dinosaur Jr., The Jesus Lizard and way fucking old school Meat Puppets. It makes me want to cry. The tightness and rhythmic drive are drawn from the very same tank that powered Jane Doe, but seemed to have run dry on You Fail Me. The transition at the ten second mark contains more musical merit than the entire discography of every band that Kurt Ballou has ever produced ... or probably even heard of. There's an interlude at the one minute mark that tells a story of such depth and beauty that it makes the compiled works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky read like Chicken Soup for the Grandmother's Soul.
What I'm trying to tell you is that "Orphaned" is the kind of song that necessitates the purchase of an entire package. If "Orphaned" is Playstation 3, than the rest of No Heroes is an HDTV and Tee-Shirt that says "I'M A FUCKING MORON!" Except, the bulk of No Heroes is actually pretty fucking great, and its purchase probably won't scar you for life and land you in a pauper's grave. Any hesitance you may have developed about embracing this band after You Fail Me should be peeled away immediately, as Converge begin No Heroes by licking off five shots of gritty, acerbic aggression that all last no longer than two minutes. These songs succeed because they hint at grind, hardcore, crossover, and rock with equal amounts of reverence and class. These songs serve the style rather than ape it.
Converge fans by now are probably used to the band putting their best foot forward when arranging tracks, and might be convinced they've done it again, as these songs are so aggressive and so reminiscent of what this band does best. "Vengeance" and "Sacrifice", both display the band's ability to turn dissonant, jangly riff repetition from a minor annoyance for the listener, into pure bliss. And those drums on "Vengeance", ... those drums will kill you when they kick in. And, the title track might as well have been written in 2002 during the Jane Doe sessions.
However, shit gets even better at around track seven. "Plauges" is an overdriven, recursive builder that sees the band expanding their style, and doing it with confidence. The mood that's built here is oppressive, and it's carried over the band's intended centerpiece combo of "Grim Heart/Black Rose", a truly forlorn sounding and beautifully sung fucking love song that actually puts the lyrics in the forefront. After the life-affirming "Orphaned", the band offers a series of mid-length tracks, which give the band room to stretch a little bit, but don't allow them to get lost or self-absorbed. "Trophy Scar's" has a spaciousness that both Cult of Luna and Neurosis should envy. Kurt Ballou has so mastered his craft as a producer that each chord he strikes is unmistakably branded as a product of Converge, which gives these slower songs an authenticity despite their deviation from the band's typical approach.
No Heroes is uniformly good. Time will tell the tale of how it stands against Jane Doe, but I think it will do well. This is a machine that has been inspected from every angle and tuned to run for eternity. The songs range from better than anything else I've heard this year, to hyperbole inspiring. Buy this album, or at least download it, then buy it. If you hate it, it can be my fault. I won't reimburse you, but you can lash out and call me an obsessed fan boy and question my already flimsy credentials. Do whatever, just hear this album.
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All We Love We Leave Behind
Axe To Fall
Petitioning The Empty Sky (Re-Issue)
When Forever Comes Crashing (Re-Issue)
You Fail Me