Release Date: Nov 3, 2017
Record label: Epitaph
If you asked me to introduce Converge to the uninitiated, particularly to someone unaccustomed to the more "extreme" end of the musical spectrum, I wouldn't play them one of the band's longer, softer tracks like 'Farewell Note to this City' or 'Wretched World'. Whilst this would serve as a means of easing them into the band's sonic maelstrom, these, and a dozen or so other tracks like them, are, of course, the exceptions to the dominant rule of Converge's sound. No, I would get them to watch a YouTube video of a talk given at the Berklee College of Music, hosted by Professor Susan Rogers, legendary recording engineer for Prince, David Byrne, and, uhm, The Barenaked Ladies.
Read more: Hear Converge's emotionally intense new song, "A Single Tear" If the album title seems like a premonition, the stuff coming out of the speakers conveys the emotional context and sonic evacuation Converge have built their legend upon. As they have grown as musicians, writers and humans (with all the baggage that contains), the band still maintain their status as leaders. Frontman Jacob Bannon is physically incapable of phoning in his performances, and always ready to bring the fear.
The Dusk in Us has the Boston four-piece pushing everything they know, and we've experienced previously, to new levels. The five-year wait has finally brought us everything we could have wanted - and more. Bursting straight in with "A Single Tear", the immediacy of their power is enough to bring out literal tears of joy. It's a non-stop runaway train throughout, with mid-way seven-minute titular epic serving as a brief respite - presenting itself as holding far more than you're first led to believe.
Jacob Bannon does not want to fight anymore--or, at the very least, he doesn't have time for it. Somewhere near the middle of "Arkhipov Calm," the most belligerent speedball from Converge's gripping and oddly comforting ninth album, The Dusk in Us, the preternaturally aggressive singer and screamer waves, of all things, his white flag. "With every barb that you threw, I saw you list to the side," he howls above drums so powerful and guitars so charged that they suggest an approaching army.
Hardcore will never die, but you will. The title of Mogwai's seventh album comes not from a place of stoic reflection, but one of profound defiance, barked from the lips of a teenager to the ears of a shopkeeper who blocked a path to alcohol. The enduring Scottish instrumentalists are funny that way, often doling out sharp witticisms for monikers, the juxtaposition with the sky-scraping ambition of their music a cute reminder that they are human after all.
Nearly six years in the making, the Massachusetts metalcore/punk legends' ninth studio LP serves up a punitive barrage of sonic exclamation points. Nervy, brainy, bold, and uncompromising, The Dusk in Us doesn't deviate much from the Converge playbook, and why should it? For over two decades the band has been administering lethal slabs of fractured and frenzied punk metal without a dip in quality, and with the same seasoned crew no less. Catharsis has always been the band's m.o., and the 13-track set doesn't disappoint, delivering lacerating waves of compartmentalized brutality with the kind of left-field, knotty precision that has come to define the group's post-Jane Doe career.
27 years into their career, there still isn't another band close to matching Converge when it comes to creating art that's so visceral, punishing and compelling. A half-decade on from the excellent 'All We Love We Leave Behind', (yeah, that long) 'The Dusk In Us' makes up for every second the quartet have been absent. Gut-busting, heart-wrenching and captivating from vicious beginning to devastating conclusion, the likes of 'Cannibals', the jolting 'Arkhipov Calm' and beautifully excruciating title track capture the band at their most ambitious and dominant. As usual, you absolutely need to hear this.
J ane Doe, the 2001 album from Boston quartet Converge, is one of the landmark works in the recent history of heavy music, a ferocious, highly technical and wildly inventive blend of punk, hardcore, math and metal that influenced almost every similarly minded band that has followed in its wake. While Converge have never since been able to replicate that shock of the new, they are remarkably consistent, with each new album finding surprising areas of extreme noise to explore. The Dusk in Us, the band's first album in five years, continues that trend, offering some of Converge's most punishing efforts yet - witness the gloriously doomy riff for lead single Under Duress.
Converge could be forgiven for wanting to hit the ground running on this ninth full-length; the five-year lay-off since 2012's ‘All We Love We Leave Behind' represents the longest gap between records in their near-three decade career. That might be why the opening salvo of tracks on 'The Dusk in Us' - particularly the opening one-two of 'A Single Tear' and 'Eye of the Quarrel' - burn with a particularly blistering pace, even by the Bostonians' usual standards. It's not until the midpoint that they begin to click back into classic Converge gear; they've always been one of those bands, not unlike Deftones, that thrive upon a delicate balance of fearsome energy and complex compositions, and the title track, a seven-minute epic that unfolds slowly, nails that signature push-and-pull between the brutal and the beautiful.
The terrifying beauty of "The Dusk in Us," by perhaps the most influential Boston hardcore band in a scene full of them, raises a question that is rarely met with a satisfactory answer: What is it about dark music that we find difficult to excavate for light? Converge has for 27 years and nine albums thrummed on raw emotion, riding this dawn/twilight nexus atop the most blistering music many listeners will ever hear. They mine the deepest recesses of inner life with melancholy and outrage, and they've never done so with more dynamic reach than on "The Dusk in Us," out Friday. Yet despite how nuanced Converge become, threading elegance through frenzy, the heart of their cacophony often goes unheard.
Converge's consistency at the leading edge of metalcore -- a blend of punk, metal and furrowed-brow introspection -- has made it a revered presence in underground music for the last quarter-century. The band, formed when vocalist Jacob Bannon and guitarist Kurt Ballou were teens in Massachusetts, turned a corner with the ferocious "Jane Doe" album in 2001, and each album since then has maintained that standard of excellence. "The Dusk In Us" (Deathwish/Epitaph) is no exception.