Thursday, 11 October 2012

Review: Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind

 If there was any real justice in this world, Converge would be up there with Slayer as one of the universally agreed heaviest bands ever. And if metalcore was viewed as a genre that genuinely showed signs of hardcore punk mixed with heavy metal work, everyone would be a fan of the band and view them in as the kings of the genre. Yet, they've always been a fairly underground force despite making albums like Jane Doe and Axe to Fall some of the heaviest, sludgiest and most doom laden albums of this age. Basically albums that express what metal is all about, all done from scratch with little money and lots of devotion behind them.

 And this devotion and despair is captured breathtakingly on eighth album All We Love We Leave Behind with the freshness that first made them a band worth listening to ten years ago and even the energy of the kids they where when they started all this in 1994, only with the despair built up.

 Sure enough the band waste no time in showing us this with the impressively dynamic and textured opening of Aimless Arrow, set alight with a range of mental time signatures from Kurt Ballou, an established guitarist in his own right now, that works amongst impressively written layerings encased in a perfect tone of despair. It's a further sign of Ballou's genius.

 As always, All We Love We Leave Behind is a real outing for the intense riff machine that is Ballou with 1-2 minute blasters like Trespasses and Shame In the Way giving the chance to deliver bruising hardcore riffage with a horrifying amount of intensity and aggression attached. The songs bring on a freshness in the pure filth of the bands performance, in the sense that they will never grow old with each listen. Converge have always had a habit of making music that becomes increasingly brutal and meaningful  the more you listen to it and this album is no exception.

 Of course, this bleakness, brutality and apocalyptic nihilism would be nothing without the pure ferocity packed in the performance of Jacob Bannon, whose delirious raspy vocals across the likes of Sadness Come Home and A Glacial Pace captivates the perfect sense of crushing bleakness that fuels hardcore and doom metal, the precise elements that Converge balance with such grit-laden perfection.

 In a simple glance, Converge have the utter intensity and sense of skill and tone to summon up the hounds of Hell and put on the wings of despair in their full performance. And on All We Love We Leave Behind, they've summoned up enough of a behemoth performance to unleash this brutality all over again with the same intensity and freshness that has made them such a potent force and such a subtly influential band on the world of metalcore which has admittedly watered down in some way. Perhaps now, the world can act some justice and give this band the justice they deserve. As one of the heaviest, most aggressive and greatest bands ever.

Converge's All We Love We Leave Behind is out now via Epitaph. the band will tour the UK in November with Touche Amore, A Storm of Light and Secret.

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