There’s no denying Converge’s influence on the current state of the independent heavy music scene. There’s a litany of facsimiles of facsimiles of bands who are third-rate rip offs of third-rate ripoffs of what Converge has expertly been doing for over two decades. The band has created a legacy by setting the bar for heavy, metal-influenced music with every record they’ve ever put out. Converge put out a record, blows minds and the rest of the genre struggles (and fails) to reach that bar. That’s just the way it is. Some genres have their lynchpin, and Converge is that lynchpin to the metal/thrash/hardcore genre. They hold it together while their contemporaries wither.
As a fan of the band for over a decade-and-a-half, I find myself consistently amazed by the band’s ability to stay angry and write aggressive music while being in their 30s, with two decades of road-hardened tenure under their collective belt. They’ve been unrelenting, and churned out the most pissed and abrasive music available for years. It seems like (depending on circumstances) 30 is about the age that most musicians sort of take a deep breath and give a hearty “WTF, I’m just a cog in this giant machine, and here’s how I feel about that”, or they soften and let their aggression and tempos become middling, or they move on to do other things, which is why it’s remarkable (and commendable) to see Converge approach their creative outlet with the same intensity and angst as they did when they released Petitioning The Empty Sky 16 years ago.
All We Love We Leave Behind is everything you’d want it to be; spazzy, heavy, raw, pissed as hell, (strangely) melodic, sludgy (at times) and energetic. It’s just another example of Converge pushing the boundaries of heavy music, besting their previous efforts and leaving their imitators in the dust (again).
The thing about this record that has left an indelible mark on me (through several listens) is the implementation of melody throughout. Guitarist Kurt Ballou’s playing on All We Love We Leave Behind is absolutely stellar. The serpentine riff in “A Glacial Place” just melts me. It’s dark and dissonant and hopeful amidst a slew of chaos and brutality. It’s life in riff form.
I also really appreciate how raw and honest the recording is. (Another hat tip to Kurt Ballou.) In an era when chopped and gridded and sampled has become the norm for a majority of heavy music (or most music, honestly), hearing something as real as this is wholly refreshing. This is a band of humans making music that is emotional and raw, and it friggin’ sounds like it. As it should. (Imitators take note.)
All We Love We Leave Behind is (obviously) a must-buy for Converge fans, and a must-buy for anyone who appreciates groundbreaking and bar-setting music of any genre. This is the best that heavy/agressive music has to offer. Again.
Buy the record here.