61. Converge, 'Jane Doe' (2001)
New England hardcore-scene veterans Converge reached a precarious new perch on the 2001 tour de force Jane Doe. Heavy metal had always had the power, now it found the pain, via this highly charged quintet's excursion through the emotional wringer. Unpredictable and elegant, and even – in a dirty DIY way – progressive, the album channeled the precision of Slayer to capture the caustic mood of Black Flag, creating a potent real-world counterpoint to the prevalent black-metal escapism of the times. Vocalist Jacob Bannon, who sounded like a small animal caught in a terrible machine, increasingly became an idol due to his heart-tearing vulnerability and searing anguish, while guitarist Kurt Ballou's beefy, unadorned production perfectly complemented the breathless catharsis of songs like "Concubine" and "Heaven in Her Arms," impressing his future recording clients such as Isis, High on Fire, Nails and Darkest Hour. "Writing Jane Doe was about the hope and desperation that I was trying to search for. I thought it would help," said Bannon, "but it didn't." I.C.