REVIEW: CONVERGE – “The Dusk In Us”
The 21st century has been particularly kind to Boston metallic hardcore heroes Converge, with a string of releases beginning with 2001’s ‘Jane Doe’ cementing their undeniable position as one of modern music’s most relentlessly ambitious yet savagely heavy bands. Now onwards 27 years since their initial formation, and with records such as 2009’s ‘Axe to Fall’ and 2012’s All We Love We ‘Leave Behind’ introducing them to a new generation, Converge return with their new full-length studio album ‘The Dusk In Us’.
The album kicks off with its opening track, “A Single Tear”, which wastes no time in flying out of the gates and launching itself right at the viewer. One thing that will appear clear relatively quickly is the change in tone when it comes to the vocals of frontman Jacob Bannon, appearing considerably less full on screaming and definitely more understandable when it comes to deciphering the lyrics. The addition of clean vocals also resembles work done by noise indie bands such as The Paper Chase, for example. Track 2 “Eye of the Quarrel” lasts a little over 2 minutes and retains that traditional Converge heaviness that makes the band’s music so enduring and enjoyable to listen to. So far so good when it comes to ‘The Dusk In Us’.
“Under Duress” and “Arkhipov Calm” carry on the musical proceedings, with the former nurturing Converge’s more experimental tendencies when it comes to how their instrumentation is implemented into their musical compositions, and the latter of the two songs being a demonstration of the group’s ability to write incredibly catchy songs while still being gnarly as all hell – a far more difficult thing to do than it seems. “I Can Tell You About Pain” has been online for listening as the album’s first promotional single since July, and is one of the highlights of ‘The Dusk In Us’ with its stop-start musical mechanics and its brilliant lyricism. You wouldn’t expect anything less from Converge in these circumstances.
The title track “The Dusk In Us” marks the halfway point of the album it gives its name to, and with the opening line “and at night they come, when protectors are gone” the startlingly dark atmosphere is introduced without any warning. Lasting almost 7 minutes and 30 seconds, and embracing a “Stairway to Heaven” style musical structure, this title track once again shows off the unique talents of Converge and should end up being one of your favourite songs on the record. It’s definitely already one of mine.
“Wildlife” is the only point on this album where I feel like things could be better, not because the track is ‘bad’ by any means – it just pales in comparison to what has come before it. I’m not going to dwell too much on the negatives, which is fortunate because the next track on The Dusk In Us, entitled “Murk & Marrow”, is an absolute monster of a song. With loads of Jane Doe influenced drumming thanks to sticksman Ben Koller, and the return to the general sound found on “I Can Tell You About Pain”, “Murk & Marrow” is a definite return to form for Converge on this album.
Only a handful of songs left to go at this point before ‘The Dusk In Us’ reaches its eventual conclusion. “Trigger”, “Broken by Light”, and “Cannibals” all embrace their own individual musical flavors – whether that involves slowing the pace of things down to a mid-tempo grinding vibe as opposed to high-speed thrashing on “Trigger”, the jazzy guitar touches and disgustingly violent ending breakdown of “Broken by Light”, or the straight up roaring ferocity that goes by the name of “Cannibals”. The last two tracks, “Thousands of Miles Between Us” and “Reptilian” both accomplish in bringing ‘The Dusk In Us’to its end with a variety of different musical styles that few bands are capable of conjuring up and mastering like Converge.
With a new wave of metallic hardcore bands in Code Orange, Cursed Earth, Employed to Serve and various others emerging into the limelight, and with the Dillinger Escape Plan calling it quits, ‘The Dusk In Us’ marks Converge as an undisputed key player amongst their newcomer rivals. If you’re a Converge convert, you’ll undoubtedly check this out – but this is a record that people outside of the ‘metallic hardcore’ culture should definitely investigate.