Converge All We Love We Leave BehindEpitaph 2012
Love it or leave it.
Brief is the list of artists who remain as relevant and vital 20 years into their career as they were when they started. Thanks to a string of critically acclaimed, genre-incinerating albums, Converge have permanently etched their name upon it. Already a decade removed from radically altering the world of noisy metallic hardcore with 2001’s “Jane Doe“; the groups impact—whether it be through the influence of their music or that particular album covers grim visage—remains indelible
With age, much like an overgrown fingernail, Converge have only become more gnarled and repulsive. This latest slab of searing rage finds them looking inwards; abandoning the cameo laden experiences of their past few albums and embracing the churning, corrosive aggression that they’ve slowly perfected. Sans the dirgey Neurosis-styled “Coral Blue” and the moody atmospheric interlude “Precipice“; “All We Love We Leave Behind” is largely the audio equivalent of Xenomorph blood.
Sustaining such a high rate of devastation is no longer enough to get by however and the band are fully aware of this. To that end they cultivate a subtle blend of diversity. One that blooms through an array of wrenched sonic convulsions, sputtering thunderous drumming, vitriolic retching and wiry bass lines. While the majority of the songs on this effort sound like an amalgamation of immolation and home dentistry; it’s through the jagged texturing and smeared palette that the material really shines.
A song like “Trespasses” keeps the detached backing vocals feeling just as crucial as the leads. “Sadness Comes Home” features a divebombing riff that sounds as if it were ripped from an Iron Maiden solo and jolted with a downed power line. “Vicious Muse” is led by militantly cavernous drumming that shoves the listener along on a veritable forced march. The looming bass on the title track rings out with ominous intent, only to have the rest of the outfit form like a frenzied funnel cloud overtop of it. Everywhere Converge go they create some bleak new horror to experience.
The fact that the album eventually begins to dissipate and slow down following the carnage of its initial detonation only adds to its charm. It’s a riveting and enthralling experience—but it is also ultimately as divisive and unapologetic as the rest of their catalogue. Converge aren’t known for taking half measures and “All We Love We Leave Behind” continues this practice.