Once in a while an album comes along comes along and helps define a particular genre. Once in a while a band will create an album that takes a small niche of the music scene by storm, but will take years and years to come to fruition. Throw in an often maligned genre such as “metalcore”, and the album becomes overlooked in the saturated garbage of metalcore of the last ten years. Petitioning the Empty Sky by Converge is an album who’s style, aggression, rawness, and uniqueness has been imitated endlessly in this genre, but has never been replicated.
I wanted to do something different for this article. The last few 20th anniversaries I have written about were all personal impact or how the album impacted a society. For this one I wanted to reach out to a few of my friends and peers that were either closely within the scene during the 90’s, or were heavily impacted by this album during their musical growth, or who just love Converge like I do. Some had lots to say about this record, gushing with accolades, and some understood it as musical growth and a necessary step. The one thing everyone had in common, was that they all new that this record is raw as hell.
“I love this album, I remember The Saddest Day specifically. When I was getting into metal and hardcore, it was the culmination of those two genres and it was put together in such a brilliant way like only Converge does. I wasn’t a metal kid ever, but at the time I wasn’t into straight up hardcore shit, but this is the perfect blend. They are the most organic band in this genre, period. It’s insane, it baffles me, Converge still baffles me.”
-Patrick Tooni (Minneapolis, MN)
“I first heard of Converge in 1998. I had never heard vocals that scalding before, and music that frantic. Coming from a small town in Arkansas I never thought I would see them, but I did in the summer of 2001 in Alabama. I’ve seen them countless times since and they are my favorite live band. So many bands try to duplicate what Converge do and they fail miserably. Converge continues to push boundaries.”
-Jimmie Harvey (Jonesboro, Arkansas)
“When I was 13 or 14, I thought The Saddest Day was a really intense song. I couldn’t tell if it was screamo or hardcore or what. But I liked it.”
-Andrew Poitras (Los Angeles, California)
“This was maybe the last part of Converge’s discography that I tackled. Petitioning didn’t really change my music taste at all but it was interesting. I hated Converge. I just didn’t get it. But for some reason I kept trying and months later, I was hooked. From what I heard about the 90’s metalcore/hardcore scene, it was a genre in transition. I think a lot of bands found their real voice a few years and records later. As far as how I rank it in the Converge catalog? I regard it as such, a band finding their voice.”
-Samuel Lewis (Chicago, Illinois)
“I’m admittedly not the biggest fan of pre-Jane Doe Converge, but we can all agree The Saddest Day is one of their best songs. I appreciate Petitioning The Empty Sky as a benchmark to see how Converge has evolved as a band over the last two decades.”
-Nathan Dimit (Eau Claire, Wisconsin)
Long live the kings.
by Andy Wilcox (@wilco204)