Converge are never ones to superfluously release an album. Each release has a purpose and each one stands on its own. Their newest masterpiece, All We Love We Leave Behind, is absolutely no exception. Following in the footsteps of their massively successful 2009 album, Axe To Fall, Converge pick up right where they left off, delivering some of the most heartfelt and crushing hardcore on the planet.
Right out of the gate AWLWLB snatches you up and hurls you into the air; the album’s lead off track, “Aimless Arrow”, kicks things off with an oddly timed stop-start frenzy that, while an odd choice for an opener, sets the tone for things to come. Jacob Bannon‘s high pitched “singing voice” traipses over the acute guitar work of Kurt Ballou and Ben Koller‘s frenetic drumming. Without stopping for air, we steamroll right on through to the next track, “Trespasses”, bringing us right where we want to be: in the middle of a sonic tornado wrought with double bass beatings and Kurt’s signature relentless fret work. “Tender Abuse” , “Sparrow’s Fall” and “No Light Escapes” play on this incessant theme as well, hanging you over the edge of a cliff without the respite of death.
Where this album really soars is in the more tender moments. “Sadness Comes Home” kicks off with a bluesy sludge caper that will leave your head bobbing before immediately switching gears into a flurry of tapping melodies and the frenzy that preceded them. The follow-up, “Empty On The Inside” beats you repeatedly over the head with its feedback-laden sludge fading into a rhythmic breakdown/buildup so enrapturing it almost hurts as it makes its way out of your speakers. “A Glacial Place”, “Coral Blue” and the title track harken back to the eponymous closers of Axe To Fall, creeping slowly by with its frenzy of high end and chugging guitar riffs that make for some of the catchiest moments on the album.
As is expected with each successive release, the proprieters of this cacophony of chaos are on top of their game, continuing to dazzle and astound with their perfectly honed abilities. Kurt tries new things and executes them perfectly, putting other guitarists in the genre to shame; Ben continues to challenge himself and write some of the most fitting and challenging drum parts the hardcore world has ever seen (the man has a serious knack for affinity); Nate Newton‘s bass continues to be the driving force of the band, keeping them grounded and on track whilst never skipping a beat; and of course the raw intensity of Jacob’s raspy croak evokes so much anger and solace all at once that you find yourself traversing a gamut of emotions before realizing you’ve only listened to one song.
All in all Converge are still the ones to beat. It’s been nearly 20 years and this four-piece is still showing the new kids how it’s done. AWLWLB is definitely the next cohesive step in their musical journey and one that will not soon be forgotten.
All We Love We Leave Behind is out now courtesy of Epitaph Records. If you’re on Spotify (which you really should be) you can listen to it RIGHT NOW here.
All We Love We Leave Behind – 9.3/10
1. Aimless Arrow
3. Tender Abuse
4. Sadness Comes Home
5. Empty On The Inside
6. Sparrow’s Fall
7. A Glacial Place
8. No Light Escapes
9. Vicious Muse
10. Veins And Veils
11. Coral Blue
12. Shame In The Way
13. On My Shield
15. All We Love We Leave Behind
17. Predatory Glow
Favorite Song: All We Love We Leave Behind