Thursday, October 4, 2012

Album Review: Converge - "All We Love We Leave Behind"

I'm not even going to dick around here. Converge have written one of the best, if not, the best metal album this year. To be fair though, I can't call it quite yet because I haven't heard the new Pig Destroyer album. By the end of the month, I'll most likely have my year end champion.

Converge are a Massachusetts based hardcore band who're known for pushing the boundaries of extreme music since the beginning of their career. They're recognized by their furious, twisting, emotional songs, none of which seem to conform to any sort of predetermined standard.

I've never listened to Converge before All We Love We Leave Behind was released, and just by listening to the first track on the album, "Aimless Arrow", I can already tell how intense this album is going to get. Guitars flare around while drummer Ben Koller smashes his kit into the ground, sounding like he'll fall off his drum stool any second just from playing so hard. Vocalist Jacob Bannon lays down some fantastic vocals that are both dripping with hate and versatile. His growls get down to demonic levels while his higher register vocals have a beautifully distressing quality to them.

This album offers no breathing room. It isn't for the faint of heart or the soft of ear. All We Love is a swirling maelstrom of riffs that turn on a dime from mauling your face off to snaking and winding their way up to dizzying lead lines. The album is the perfect length. It clocks in at just under 40 minutes, which at first seems short, but after being subjected to this intense of an aural beating, is just long enough.

Guitarist Kurt Ballou throws a couple very interesting licks towards the listener which will grab your attention immediately, most notably the intro and verses of "Sadness Comes Home" and the beautiful guitar solo in "Coral Blue". The latter brings in thoughts of Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth with it's almost bluesy and jazzy sound and only slightly overdriven tone.

If there's any one drum technique I love, it would be the tasteful use of double bass pedals. Speedy kick passages show up here and there on this release, never making it too thrashy for it's own good. These sections are perfectly placed and spaced to make some of the most moshtastic songs I've heard all year. "Trespasses" = all of my mosh. All of it.

Once again to bring it back to a Pig Destroyer vs. Converge thing: take Converge's "Trespasses" versus Piggy D's "Burning Palm". Which one makes you bang your head more? Let me know in the comments. If you just leave a flurry of letters, I understand. It's tough to mosh and type at the same time.

I can't vouch for the safety of any drop-kickable objects near me when this song starts.

Starting at 1:35 = I'm punching everything within arm's reach.

Production is really well done here too. Everything is audible, even though most of the album takes on a wall of sound approach. Nothing overpowers anything else, and everything compliments all the other instruments. Everything is thick, heavy, and uncompromising.

Bomb-Ass Tracks: Trespasses, Sadness Come Home, Coral Blue

On a Playlist With: Between the Buried and Me, (old) Mastodon, (new) Napalm Death

Overall Score


Converge are the definition of "organized chaos". Anyone interested in punk, thrash or extreme metal should love All We Love We Leave Behind. But you won't ever want to leave it behind. See what I did there?

That's all for now, folks! I'm going to go back to listening to Converge while I wait for new Pig Destroyer.

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