CONVERGE has always been a band that contiued to show the depth that chaotic hardcore and intense, noisy metallic hardcore amalgam can hold below the abrasive sounds. Not many bands have been able to establish themselves as contenders in redefining the genre, but every once in awhile extraordinary, astonishing records appear and this one right here is a great example of such unexpected discoveries and masterpieces that manage to come as both misanthropic in its sonic scope and message, yet therapeutic in its sheer catharsis. Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada based FEMUR is a perfect extension of violent, progressive acts like BOTCH, GAZA and COALESCE, and it is my pleasure to give you a proper dismemberment of their crushing debut LP “Red Marks”.
1. “Red Marks”
As you probably know, this is the title track. This song, from a lyrical standpoint, encroaches on themes of self-deprecation – specifically through the perspective of the narrator. The closing lines “…like the bugs of the earth I measure my own self-worth” and “…piece by piece, I’ll remove myself from the world” reinforce this. This was the sixth song we wrote as a band, and it was a marked departure from the more straight-forward bar-chord laden hardcore that we started writing (i.e. “Tourniquet”) to a dissonant and off-kilter approach to writing riffs and grooves.
2. “Locus of Control”
This was the second song we wrote as a band, and plainly was labelled “Song 2” for a while. Lyrically, this song is essentially saying that your own happiness is contingent on someone or something external to you. Locus of Control refers to the centre, or home of control – the bulk of the subject matter in this song focuses on the external forces controlling your happiness – creating a dependency of sorts. Towards the end of the song and epiphany is realized and the dependency on external happiness is abandoned, and there is the realization of internal satisfaction.
3. “Knife Fight in the Basement”
For such a short song, we think this one says a lot. This song is about the fictional story of someone who kidnaps some people, brings them to his basement, and forces them to watch his suicide by knife. The song is dark and violent for the sake of being dark and violent. The story in Knife Fight is inspired by Gord Downie’s ability to create a story through music – this is our twisted way of paying to homage to that.
4. “The Great Unwashed”
We thought it would only make sense to have this song follow “Knife Fight in the Basement”, as it was written with similar intentions (short song length and an unrelenting nature). This was the seventh song we wrote and it follows our plunge into dissonant sounds and generally becoming more comfortable and explorative as a band. Lyrically, we all pitched in and the general subject matter is more scattered and less cohesive than songs like Knife Fight and Red Marks. Basically, this song was just written as a “fun song” – no bullshit.
5. “Sex in Millimetres”
Our guitarist Jake was watching a TedTalk, and at one point, it was talking about one’s sex life while being physically handicapped – specifically, how certain moments were to be precise and calculated, which arguably meant for a more powerful and thoughtful experience. The title is a reference to this concept. Ultimately, what this song conveys is an extension of appreciation and hyper-awareness that is vital to appreciating life. In a life of over-indulgence, often things are taken for granted and the present moment is neglected. This song is basically about cherishing the moment and complete awareness throughout. The line “I could count all of my bones” is a nod to that. This was the last song we wrote for the album.
6. “Welcome Wind”
There is a lot to the say about this song. When we first started improvising and jamming together as a 3-piece (we were rehearsing in a Converge cover band at the time) the intro to this song was the first thing we played with, and the song blossomed into this 8-minute epic. We didn’t end up finishing the song until the day of our first show as we were scrambling to put together a 15 minute set-list. Conceptually, the song covers a lot of ground and reflects a collaborative effort between all of us lyrically and musically. The song revolves around the idea of accepting death (naturally and not forced by any artificial means or intentions to end life)– although bittersweet, death is viewed as an escape and a point in time where nature takes its course. It is a celebration of lives come and gone, and finding strength in the despair felt during death and departure.
This song was one of the earlier songs written (late 2014) and reflects our writing style during this time – an aggressive, distorted bar-chord soaked, bleeding throat screamed, and nihilistic anthem. Admittedly this song is one big “riff salad” with no real regard for structure and continuity, other than “here’s a riff that goes well after this one, and this one…”. We had our buddy, Curtis; from the band Norris lay down some guest vocals on this song to really turn up the intensity towards the end of the song. We have probably played this song the most out of any in a live setting.
8. “Enemy Number One”
Here we have what we consider the album closer, as the last track is more or less a bonus/hidden track. Enemy Number One is another song on this album written with scornful and self-loathing intent. It views at the self as the greatest enemy. However, we like to think this song can be just as optimistic – representing an examination of the darkest times in life and how we can feel alive and aware of the darkest moments to turn them into an experience of growth – enhancement through internal struggle.
9. “FUCK FEMUR (Femers Cover)
We thought it would only be necessary to have this song on the album – a cover by one of our favourites – Femers, from Murillo, ON. They are not really well known or wide received, but they play a great blend of black metal and rock n’ roll (Black and Roll), which we love so dearly. The song, we believe, is about getting black-out drunk, barbequing into the wee hours of the morning, and blasting Black and Roll. The title is obviously a jab at us, and that’s the sense of humour those guys have. They even went so far to change their band name to parody us.