Writers hate reviewing a new Converge album. The kings of underground hardcore metal deliver so consistently that it becomes an exercise in finding new ways to say, “They still shred.” Enter Axe to Fall, the most straightforward Converge album yet. It’s apparent from the opening blast of “Dark Horse,” a galloping shot of guitars and throat-searing screams, that Converge are coming in lean and mean. “Cutter” stops and starts around a flurry of leads, while the guitar opening of “Worms Will Feed” gets flattened by hammering drums. They halt the assault for “Cruel Bloom,” a creepy piano ballad, and in the doom-metal crawl of “Wretched World.” They still shred. There, we said it!

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