A discordant, vicious classic that changed hardcore forever when it was released in 2001, Converge's fourth album "will never be equalled", says Parkway Drive's resident fanboy Winston McCall
Let's not beat around the bush - 'Jane Doe' was a gamechanger in the entire realm of heavy music. Punk, metal and hardcore all shifted slightly in the wake of its release in 2001, as the Massachusetts band birthed something as vicious as it was beautiful, and the world has been playing catch-up ever since. If your favourite band doesn't publicly claim a debt to this black firestorm of an album either they're lying or they shouldn't be your favourite band, simple as that.
In the new issue of Rock Sound we talk to Jacob Bannon and Kurt Ballou about the conception and legacy of the album and what inspired them to push harder than everyone else. "We knew we'd created something new and great, but we had no idea how much some people would treasure it and how much staying power it would have," says Ballou. "I feel very fortunate to have been part of something where the stars were aligned at the right place and time, something that has been a launching point for all the other things we've been able to do since then."
But don't just take our word for it - it changed the life of Winston McCall, the frontman of metalcore superchuggers Parkway Drive.
“‘Jane Doe’ is the only record I have ever purchased and returned," he says. "True story: when I first got this record it was too crazy for me. I got halfway through and my brain just melted, so I took it back. Luckily, my curiosity got the best of me and a couple of weeks later I picked it up again and haven't put it down since. After years of this record running through my head I can say I'm pretty sure that everything I now love about it was everything that scared me off in the first place. The pace, beyond frantic. The guitars, so heavy yet so grating and abrasive. And last but not least, the vocals – Bannon still sounds to this day like nothing and no one I have ever heard.
“There seems to be no technique to what he is doing, sounding more like a human in real, agonising pain than a man trying to sing. The vocals that resonate through this record, be they screeching or the eerily quiet speech of a man not so much trying to sing, convey genuine pain, anger and anguish in the most human way possible, and as scary and abrasive as this comes across I still think it is something truly unique that will never be replicated. When you combine all these factors – the music, the production, the artwork – you find a record that will never be touched or equalled, something that will still stand the test of time for as long as your eardrums can withstand the torment, which in this day and age of music is a milestone.”
It's pretty incredible to think that even 20 years into their career, Converge STILL set the bar for hardcore shows. All the action caught by Giles Smith at Manchester Academy on Monday, August 04, 2014.