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Converge - The Dusk In Us (Album Review)

Thursday, 09 November 2017 Written by Alec Chillingworth

Grass is green. Jack Daniel’s is tasty. Converge are brilliant. Since their line-up solidified for 2001’s metalcore masterwork ‘Jane Doe’, the Massachusetts four piece have created critically-hailed album after critically-hailed album.

Their ninth record – and first in five years – could’ve been the beginning of the end. These blokes are all mortgage-owner, dropping-the-kids-off-at-footy age now. Vocalist Jacob Bannon, meanwhile, recently enjoyed a creative and critical success with his Wear Your Wounds project, creating a sombre, more progressive sound. Maybe Converge have gone soft?

Nah. ‘The Dusk In Us’ is savage. It’s arresting. It goes further than the skin-peeling severity of ‘Jane Doe’, higher than the melancholy of 2012’s ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’. This is everything Converge do well condensed into 45 minutes, and it is glorious.

A Single Tear kicks off proceedings and is a mutant brother of Dark Horse from ‘Axe To Fall’. Kurt Ballou’s dexterous riffing eschews conventional time signatures but still, somehow, remains irresistibly catchy and lends a hand to a gut-punch of a gang vocal in the chorus.

Converge can be what they want to be, and that’s the greatest strength of ‘The Dusk In Us’. It doesn’t convey one mood, or set just one scene, as so many of their other albums have. Wildlife has Bannon screaming like At The Gates’ Tomas Lindberg fronting a loose punk band, while the title track finds him using the croon perfected with Wear Your Wounds to lay down a seven minute blanket of bleakness.

He laces his lyrics with observations we’ve all had but just can’t articulate in the way Bannon can. The world’s gone to hell in a handbasket and we’re all narcissistic pricks. He’s letting us know about it.

Everything here is so catchy yet so inescapably brutal. It’s so simple but so complex. There’s no compromise, yet it feels that Converge are, now more than ever, a band that could (and should) appeal to a mass audience. When the riff in Cannibals gets going, it’s enough to pull down Mastodon’s pants and boot them into oblivion.

‘The Dusk In Us’ is punk as fuck, as metal as Manowar’s washing basket and as poetic as Byron’s naughty notebooks. Feedback screams, riffs smash into your cranium, and your notion of what a heavy, artistic band should be in 2017 is challenged all over again.

Bands like Code Orange and Employed To Serve are altering the landscape from underneath, clawing their way out of basements into WWE spots. They are taking the essence of hardcore and metal, deconstructing it and bending it to their will...but Converge could still go heavy rounds with any of them.

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