Ten years ago I was 14 at the start of my teenage years trying to figure out the person I wanted to be. I had already been raised on steady diet of independent punk and hardcore bands to widen my music palette, but nothing could prepare me for this album. This album has been beaten to death for the last ten years for changing independent music and rightfully so. So I would like to share with you my Retro Review with you on Converge‘s “Jane Doe“. Enjoy.
It’s hard to think back that far how much hype there was surrounding this album prior to it’s release but I had already been a fan of Converge from seeing them on prior tours with bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Coalesce, so I already assumed the album would be awesome. I remember seeing the artwork for “Jane Doe” and thinking to myself, “Holy shit, that’s incredible.” Little did I know that this album was going to change my life forever.
The day the album came out (10 years ago yesterday to be exact) I had my sister drive me to our local record store (Record Breakers when it used to be in the northwest suburbs of Chicago) at midnight so I could get my hands on it as soon as possible. Thinking about listening to the opening riff of Concubine for the first time still gives me chills to this day. It pretty much let me know that I was going to get pummeled.
Everything from that moment and on is just non stop. The record confused me because this isn’t what hardcore normally sounded like. But it was and still is the most aggressive record I have ever heard. Songs such as Homewrecker, Heaven In Her Arms and Phoenix In Flight have always stood out to most to me as the album’s best songs. To be honest though it really is hard singling out songs though, every song on the album was just as good as the one before it. The final song on the album Jane Doe clocks in a little over 11 minutes and to me is one of the most haunting tracks I have ever heard. In between screams it sounds like Jacob Bannon is saying “, which giving the tone of the song it just really makes the song that much creepier.
To be honest it’s really hard for me to write a review on this album, much less a retrospective. Everything great about this album has been said. But this is coming from the heart of a true fan who’s life was genuinely changed by this record. This album made me look at hardcore, art, relationships, and life very differently. It’s very rare that a band can achieve that in their career and Converge really just outdid themselves with this album. And because of that so many people and bands have been greatly influenced by this record.
Since “Jane Doe” Converge have released “You Fail Me“, “No Heroes“, and “Axe To Fall“. Every album the band has just gotten better and better with their sound, and though some might disagree, the albums have never been a disappointment. But it’s nice to look back on “Jane Doe” and think back to things that were going on at the time and the impact this record had on independent music. I will forever be indebted to Converge for this album.