Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph Records)
DL/CD/LP
Out Now

The new album from hardcore heroes Converge was released a few days ago to a torrent of superb reviews. But what did Louder Than War make of it? Read on to find out.

Holy mother of god! This is one brutal album. I know Converge have been around a while, since 1990 as a matter of fact, and I have always known about them, but they have never been on my radar as a band to closely examine. So I came to this album not completely blind, but not overly schooled in Converge either. Well, let me tell you, this thing rips your face off, smashes it on to the ground, grinds its steel paw into it and then tosses on some lighter fluid and sets it alight! Brutal, brutal, brutal; this should be a human rights violation.

It really is amazing how diverse this band and this album can be. They cover so much of the rock, punk and metal spectrum, even all within one song at times, while still creating a coherent, tight, focused album. I suppose that’s a pleasant result of 22 years of experience. Aside from being brutal, this is also quite complex. I suppose that’s where the “math rock” designation that they have sometimes been given comes in. But really, it’s almost impossible to categorise this album in any conventional way. It’s just Converge being Converge. It’s just heavy. I guess anyone familiar with Converge know this all too well, and don’t need a guy like me to tell them that, thank you very much. So, let’s get to a few of the songs, shall we.

“Aimless Arrow” which kicks off the album is probably the most accessible track and it’s not as face ripping as most of the others, but it’s a decent song. Jacob Bannon on vocals has a very Gallows era Frank Carter sound going on here which sits well with me. It’s a more mellow start to the album, but in this case mellow is all relative. It also appears to be the “single” with a pretty slick video to go along with it.

The pace from then on in is pretty unrelenting until “Coral Blue” when things suddenly change to an almost goth metal darkness that was temporarily visited earlier on in track 5, “Empty on the Inside”. I picture them putting on cloaks and wearing white makeup and contact lenses that make your eyes black or something when they did this. Maybe I watch too many movies or Marilyn Manson videos. Anyway, I love the face ripping off stuff they do, but I have to say I was kind of glad to get to a bit of a break in the action here. Deep frozen yet sultry vocals, a constant slow hammering beat, and even a dash of psychobilly make for a nice, blood drenched mix that is my favourite on the album.

The title track starts off with sludgy bass before ripping into some classic metal guitar finger work before breaking into a more panicked pace. Bannon comes across like he is being ripped apart by horses, with this intense urgency in his voice; quite Carter-ish again. It feels like everything is going to break loose and go out of control any millisecond and the roof and the walls are going to blow out around you. Mind you, it feels like that for most of the album, so it’s nothing new. Quite intense stuff!

Plain and simple, this album is pretty frickin’ deadly. It’s a face ripper for sure! From many other reviews I’ve read, this is one of their best albums in a long time, or ever for that matter. I can see that being the case. I’m sure this thing will find a way onto many “Best Of” lists at the end of the year. It’s also heartening to hear dudes my age being able to absolutely destroy with seemingly no effort as if they were still 17. And now, after all of that, I have a face to go and paste back on.

The album can be streamed in full here but needless to say we recommend you buy yourself a copy, preferably on vinyl for those subtle nuances.

Converge is all over the web, with their own webpage here. They have almost 140,000 followers over on their Facebook page and they are on twitter too. They also have a tumblr page and a Bandcamp page where you can get “rare, self-released, and out of print digital music, direct from the band.”

So, the band and the label are doing a damn good job of using social media and the web as a marketing tool. They are everywhere!

All words by Chris Hearn. You can find more LTW features by Chris here.

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