CONVERGE: All We Love We Leave Behind: CD/LP

At this point in their career, Converge’s songs, as well as their albums, are all starting to run together for me. The early albums (Petitioning the Empty Sky, When Forever Comes Crashing) will always be distinct, primarily because of the rough nature of the sound. Something happened, though, when the band got to 2001’s Jane Doe that catapulted them to a whole new level. Since then, thanks in part to guitarist Kurt Ballou’s consistently sharp production work, the band has maintained a professional but aggressive sound. While the albums since Jane Doe have all been masterful, there has been little to register any difference in sound between You Fail Me (2004), No Heroes (2006), and Axe to Fall (2009). They’re all brutal, intense, and have Jacob Bannon’s shrieking, wounded bird vocals. They’re all competently played and continually showcase Converge’s power and dominance as kings of the metalcore scene. While each album since Jane Doe has had its one or two slower songs, I wish there was a little more experimentation on some of the songs on All We Love We Leave Behind—something to really make them stand out. All We Love We Leave Behind has fourteen songs clocking in at thirty-nine minutes. They are still intense and the “slower” song on the album, “Coral Blue,” might be the best “mellower” tune Converge has ever done, with a bluesy riff thrown in on the chorus. The rest of the material is blistering, pissed off, and runs together. Don’t get me wrong—I’ll still be banging my head and freaking out to this when I’m alone in my bedroom, but I’d just love for there to be some more distinction in the sound with this album.

 –kurt (Epitaph / Deathwish)