on 25 September 2001
the first time you finish listening to converge's jane doe you will exhale for what feels like the first time in 45 minutes.
it is brutal, it is sublime, it is the single most passionate hardcore cd i've ever heard. it will make your ears bleed - in the best possible way. there's awesome stuff here from the blistering speed of distance and meaning, to the fury of phoenix in flight and the almost soothing hell to pay.
but the epic title track is for me the stand out song and it contains elements that sum up this cd: complex guitar movements weaving together the raw and the smooth, scrunchy basslines and punctuation drumming ... stoked up by the alternately hard and soft searing screams of singer/genius jacob bannon; and one of the most haunting finales i've ever heard - its 11 and a half minutes of bruising beauty. be generous with the volume controls - your neighbours will hate you but hey that's ok ...
yes, it's hardcore and not for everyone. but even if you don't usually go for this type of music, don't please dismiss jane doe. there's something alot more here that goes very deep, and the more more you listen the more you get it.
by the way the lyrics are pure poetry - you won't be able to hear many of them and their reproduction in the cool cd booklet is fractured and artistic.
on 11 June 2006
So I went out to buy "converge-you fail me" one day, and saw another cd with an amazing cover, which would be "Jane Doe". I brought it home and started listening to it. All I can say is I was sucked in and couldnt get out. The entire album is what i needed. Recovering from a recent relationship gone wrong, Jane Doe had everything. The heaviness and anger. The pain and sympathy. And even though you cant hear too well, the lyrics are just beautiful. And the album name is perfect. Many people have their own "Jane Doe" (or "John Doe" for females), someone they think they know, but really, they dont. The album art throughout the booklet is jaw dropping as well.
This is no doubt my favourite cd so far.
I recommend it to anyone who enjoys metal (especially hardcore, for this band is probably the best hardcore band around) and for those who recently suffured a bad relationship. This album is no doubt inspiring, and nothing short of absolutely brilliant.
on 10 March 2004
What never ceases to amaze me about Jone Doe by Converge is it's ability to impress and attract the attention of people other than fans of extremem music. Even though it is extreme music to an unparralelled degree, this album seems to impress a most broad cross-section of music lovers. I have shown it to fans of metal who've been suitably bowled over, I've shown it to fans of technical and classical guitar music and they've loved it, and I've shown it to fans of indie and they've liked it too. I think that it's because it stands out as something more than just another heavy record - it stands out as a work of art that holds the flag for it's genre, in the same way that Dostoyevsky's The Idiot did for modernist writing and that Casablanca did for the screenplay.
Compared to their earlier albums, Jane Doe is a positively scar-inducing experience. The production here is at first deceptively messy and grating, but soon reveals itself as being a pinpoint balance between extreme cold mathcore and human warmth experimentation, and the individually recorded instruments are powerful beyond expectation. Kurt Ballou's guitarwork here is all over the place in it's ferocious energy, and the coils of Nate Newton's bass strings are time bombs of thumping power. Ben Koller's drums are so over-produced that they sound like The Velvet Goldmine destroying a drumkit with grenades, and Jake Bannon's vocals are matched only in their anger and confusion by that of a new born baby screaming life into their fluid-filled lungs.
The first two tracks are comapnions to each other, and lead into themselves with breathless fury. Jake's vocals never let up, and the beauty of his lyrics is at first sadly lost in the affray of nightmarish music it's supposed to be on top of, but they soon become a macabre instrument in their own right.
The album doesn't even remotely let the listener pause for breath until we get to Hell To Pay, where the over the top bile of the band is swapped for this panting, haunting crawler. But even this has jarring guitar riffs that can lacerate the inside of your ears at the wrong volume, and then throw you straight back in the deep end with Homewrecker - the first of several 'punk' speed tracks on the album. Even though Converge can easily prove that they can do 'math'rock, they don't saturate the notion with patternless self-indulgence like so many bands tend to. The band always seem keen to prove that they never forget their roots.
Heaven In Her Arms is a technical piece worth noting here. There is a confusing emotion brought forward with tracks like this, with their frenetic and complex musicianship which ensures us that when we think we've got the band pinned down, they run off into the darkness ahead of us all over again. Next two tracks, Phoenix In Flight and Phoenix In Flames, are a coupled pair of songs that begin as an ancient temple of animalistic fury that turns into a minimalist drum work-out and vocal punishment, before deceptively ploughing into Thaw -possibly the greatest song on the album. Thaw is a nasty, unpredictable horror movie of a track that encapsulates the mood of the record perfectly. Final track, Jane Doe, is an ending that feels more like hospitalisation due to paralysis rather than resolution.
What must also be pointed out here is the truly astounding artwotk by Jake Bannon himself. Full of haunting and inexplainably disturbing silhouettes of women's pouting faces intertwined with his classically poetic (if a little hard to read) lyrics, the sleeve here provides an unexpected air of ghostly gentleness to the record, which isn't on previous Converge releases, as they tended to have much more shock-value styled album art. Converge even dropped the 'scratchy' logo that they had used for the previous releases and instead opted for a straight forward, simplistic font. This really is a labour of love from Converge. A visualised and achieved work of beauty in the guise of nihilistic, bitter metal that transcends so many styles of music because it was never planned to be categorised - just realised.
on 19 July 2004
I find it difficult to explain why I purchased this album, having never heard a single Converge song before. I was just drawn to them, drawn to the artwork, drawn to their reputation for being hardcore stalwarts. The first listen was shocking to say the least, and I mean that in the true sense of the word ! I was shaking and sweating by the time the 11-minute title track had finished. But succintly, this is a swirling, bludgeoning, ear-splitting work of art. It is as chaotic as it is hypnotic, as beautiful as it is disturbing, and it fizzes with raw emotion, in particular bitterness and disappointment. The whole lyrical concept of the album appears to be the philosophy on the bloody ruins of a relationship.
If you're new to Converge, you have been warned: buy this if you have an open mind, a love of technical, complex music, and a true punk spirit. This album is incredibly heavy !
on 17 November 2005
I can't think of an appropriate way to begin this review so I'll just get straight into it. Jane Doe by Converge is absolutely gut-shredding. Sometimes it will lift you up, sometimes it will push you sobbing into the earth. It may just make you want to drive angrily, but if you let it, it will make you remember. You can listen to it as a music CD sure, but there's listening, and then there's listening. Let Jacob Bannon in and he will make you want to let go of everything that pains you in a roar of blackened syntax, no matter what kind of person you think you are. Jane Doe is a hardcore album. It is heavy, and it is evil. It is honest.
Jane Doe is a tale of loss, of hate, of grief, of anger, of smiles forgotten, bonds broken and of pure undiluted regret.
on 14 June 2004
I picked up a copy of Jane Doe last year after hearing it recommended from a friend. Upon placing the disk onto my laser I was greeted with possibly the most exciting, awesome, and even frigtening 1 minute 19 seconds of music I had ever heard. This track of course was the blinding 'Concubine'. After picking my jaw up off the floor for a fraction of a second it was yanked back down by the equally demonic 'Fault and Fracture'. Now after these first two tracks most people would be thinking that Converge pride on the sheer intensity of their music. Where this may be partly true it is the emotional content of the songs and in particular Jacob Bannons awesome lyrics that really stand out for me. This album extends the boundaries of what you thought possible for a band. Whilst the music is so tightly focussed and parrallel, I dare anyone to listen to 'Concubine' and 'Distance and Meaning' and notice the one being fuelled by metalcore, speed metal and even (dare I say it) death metal and in contrast the latter having Punk influences. The album sweeps past you with tracks like 'Broken Vow', 'Hell to Pay' and the awesome 'Thaw' and you think that nothing else is possible. That is until you are greeted by the epic title track 'Jane Doe'. This song is the Coup D'Etat, the final nail in the coffin. It has everything you have just experienced and for me it closes possibly the best album in the last 20 years.
on 7 April 2004
If I could give this album 6 stars, I would. I've owned Jane for a little over 2 years and I'm addicted. This has been the only album I've EVER owned, that has continually fed my craving for intrepid, heart-felt, brutally exciting music.
Other CDs, all be it good CDs, have come and gone...dillinger, the locust, cephallic, meshuggah...all excellent bands who have influenced my music in many ways; but none as widespread as this pulsing throng of sweat, rhythm, and bloody aneurysm.
I put it back in the rack; it finds its way back into my stereo. My eyes are drawn to it, my hands become sweaty when I see the cover, and my heart yearns to hear those first, unscrupulous beats of 'thaw' as the aural explosion becons you to succumb to it's power.
It would take a damn good band to better this one!
on 21 April 2009
It's an incredible album from start to finish. One that most people will either think unlistenable or brilliant. The constant air of desperation, bitterness and fury can be claustrophobic at times, but ultimately rewarding over repeated listens. The title track in particular is quite something. Almost reminds me of 'daddy' at the end of the korn's first album. Just this outpouring of grief and anger that not many other songs have managed. I know mr bannon has explained that the song was the result of wanting to die every day for 3 years so I think the emotion sums it up. Of just being sick of it. A truly memorable album
on 20 July 2012
Like a lurching freight train driven by a boxer spitting out teeth with a mad grin, this deranged masterpiece is a poison pen letter to dead relationships. Forget 'Someone that I used to know' or whatever you think you know about modern cultural middle class expressions of romantic disappointment. 'Jane Doe' captures the jetblack outrage of brokenness in Technicolor, metalcore straight out of the oven, but with enough courage to shift styles on a dime. Much like Queens Of The Stone Age, Converge decide here to pass all possible genres through their own textural filter, stirring just about everything into the mix, passing you the broth, and then shooting you in the face with extreme prejudice. They don't need Cryptopsy-level chops to capture a death metal level intensity, just simple colours, raw honest emotion, wisely-chosen targets, and an instinct for fat-free composition. They use directness as an admirable weapon instead of a typically lumpen tool with which to weakly impress. As with all great art, everything is subversient to the colossal impact of the emotional statement.
And few death metal bands come close to the impact here. I've rarely heard such violence spew out of the speakers as in the start of 'Concubine' and 'Fault And Fracture', grindcore blasts that puts Jacob Bannons' incomprehensibly angry roar front and center. He is 'Bitter And Then Some'. This is someone pushed to the limit, totally unafraid, and with a great band behind him. The modern complaints of self-important grief or false superlatives that have infected all attempts to reach this level are beyond the need for mention when such stripped back and assured performances are in play.
On the other hand, we also have the uneasy wobble of 'Distance And Meaning' that has an intro riff that feels like the Yeah Yeah Yeahs turned upside down and shaken for their lunch money. 'Hell To Pay' and 'The Broken Vow' feel like a dizzy Rohypynol dream, complete with slurred melodies and deep, rumbling grooves. Experience the anthemic 'Homewrecker' the cathartic rush of 'Heaven In Her Arms' (which includes one of the greatest breakdowns these ears have ever heard), the one/two rise and noisecore bombing of 'Phoenix In Flight/In Flames', the perpetually gearshifting shriek of 'Thaw' and finally, the soaring title track closer that walks us to our inevitable parting. You get the sense of coming full circle, that the themes here (both implicit and explicit) are archetypal cycles many are doomed to repeat.
I say this about very few works: not only is there not a dud track here at all, all elements serve equal purpose. This record came out of the collective mind of the band fully formed.
This isn't just metalcore; this is the sound of a band convicted of self respect and without fear, perfectly illustrating the real sound of a heart betrayed because a once-great love has become an irretrievable smoke screen becoming part of the bland wallpaper of a lost life. As this is an almost universal human experience, and one so completely and powerfully portrayed here, I recommend this to all stout-hearted music fans who want an unsubtle dose of sandpaper to melt down their resolve in order to expel lingering poisons. It's possibly the greatest metalcore record ever released.
on 12 September 2008
The converge auditory experience is one so unique that very few people will actually understand when you play it to them. They will immediately dismiss it as unrefined noise. They are wrong. This noise is refined. This is one of the greatest works of our generation and one that will live on with Converge's legacy. This intensely emotional describe the bitter failure of relationships. The listener feels it turning from blue to grey. The death of a feeling. The searing end of contempt screams through and you can only watch and feel the anguish throughout. By the end of the epic title track, you can only sit, wide eyed and shaking at the journey you just went through.
This is a work of art to be viewed as a whole. Though this is undoubtedly not for the close minded, those wanting to feel the full, ear bleeding intensity of Bannon's poetry merged with guitar work that will get anybody's foot tapping and heart racing, you've come to the right place. There isn't a single song that doesn't have a noteworthy riff and with the vocals becoming morphing more and more into an instrument of its own, the result is mind blowing. You don't `get it' until at least the third straight play in a row. With every listen you're left with the void created by the acceptance of loss. This is only exemplified live.
Some may think i'm overstating everything this album creates; the emotion, the passion, the hostility. To them I can only recommend fully opening your heart and mind to this nerve shattering journey, then tell me that again. This album never gets old.