All We Love We Leave Behind
01. Aimless Arrow
03. Tender Abuse
04. Sadness Comes Home
05. Empty on the Inside
06. Sparrow’s Fall
07. Glacial Pace
08. Vicious Muse
09. Veins and Vails
10. Coral Blue
11. Shame in the Way
13. All We Love We Leave Behind
14. Predatory Glow
Every now and then there’s a particular album on the horizon that is long-awaited and has fans frothing at the mouth (or more importantly the ears) for the chance to hear it. Now while this year has produced quite a few of those albums, the one that has been on my radar comes from the legendary hardcore band Converge. Now for those familiar with the band’s blend of hardcore and punk, a sound that is both chaotic and straight from the heart, it’s hard to be disappointed by any of their releases, both past and present. And after 2009’s Axe To Fall, which sounded like the band cranked their amps to eleven, all that came to mind was, “How are they going to top this?”. Well, three years have passed since then, and with only a handful of singles that merely held the fans at bay, Converge are finally set to release their eighth full-length album, the highly anticipated, All We Love We Leave Behind. And after such a long wait, all that’s left to wonder is… Will this be an album fans love or will they simply leave it behind?
Well to be perfectly blunt, if anyone chooses to leave this album behind they are sorely missing out. Like most of their albums, one listen is never enough to fully take in what Converge has to offer. They are a band many other bands do their best to emulate, but they never quite capture that sound and fury. Each album of theirs provided a growth in both sound and artistry, as the band not only hits hard with their music, but with the visuals as well (courtesy of frontman Jacob Bannon). With a solid track record for delivering successful and acclaimed albums; such as You Fail Me, Jane Doe, and the more recent Axe To Fall, it’s easy to place All We Love We Leave Behind among them, as we see the band keeping true to their standards and delivering another destructive album.
Whereas previous albums opened up with a certified rager, listeners are now treated to “Aimless Arrow”, a song which strays a bit from that path. It’s more melody induced with a hypnotic rhythm that easily grows on you the more you listen to it. However, the main focal point of the song comes from Jacob Bannon’s use of “clean” singing throughout the majority of the song. Although you could interpret his cleans as more of a wailing, which has always been my way of hearing it, even since their early material. For certain diehard fans, it could be a turn-off, but worry not as the relentless vocals that Jacob Bannon is known for are ever-present throughout the remainder of the album. It should also be noted that this is the first time that the vocals on this record, for the most part, are much more decipherable, which hasn’t been the case on past albums. This could be a turn on for newcomers to the band seeing as how his vocals, for the most part, are tough to grasp, and might have pushed people away in the past.
Now for those seeking the chaotic assault the band is best known for, the rest of the album delivers it in droves. The mere moment “Trespasses” begins, it’s like hitting a brick wall at 100 miles per hour. The sheer speed and intensity of this song just rips, as the combined nature of the percussion, screaming, and riffs come together to unleash one of the fastest and nastiest songs Converge has ever written. And just when you think you’ll catch you breath, “Tender Abuse” and “Sadness Comes Home” keep the punishment coming with a full on barrage of sludgy/grimy riffs and double bass that can easily destroy speakers as well as any other inanimate objects that are near by.
But even amongst the continuous onslaught of aggressiveness heard in “Sparrow’s Fall”, “A Glacial Pace”, and “Shame In The Way”, which can all be characterized as baring resemblance to something you would hear off of Axe To Fall, to the sheer overkill felt by “Vicious Muse” and “Veins and Veils”, the album does offer up its fair change of pace to help mediate the chaos. From the well-paced and tempo controlled “Empty On The Inside”, that features a catchy military-style drumming that takes up the majority of the songs midsection, to the slightly experimental and sure to be a standout track, “Coral Blue”, which at the forefront has a beautifully sung chorus that just echoes with soul and melody, it’s these small doses of artistic touch that showcases the bands ability to veer away from being a one-trick pony.
The three remaining tracks shows the album itching for one last bout of rage, but before the final kill, Converge would rather place the bait with a tranquil yet unsettling instrumental piece, “Precipice”, which serves as the perfect build up to the title track, “All We Love We Leave Behind”. For the most part the pace is more mid-tempo and less in your face when compared to previous tracks, but the combination of the vocals and the main riff during the verses make for one of the catchiest moments on the album. And the sheer emotion felt in the chorus during the shouts of “All! We Love! We Leave! Behind!” really drives the song home and just might have you hitting the repeat button the moment the song comes to an end. This is a song that will no doubt be a stand out on the album as well a highlight at shows. “Predatory Glow” brings the album to a close but not without giving one last thrust of fury to the gut.
It’s best to acknowledge the amount of hard work and passion these guys put into their music. With twenty years under their belt and showing no signs of slowing down, Converge have once again shown us why we should enjoy music and all that it encompasses. It was stated by the members of the band that the new album contains no fake distortion, no triggered drums, and no outside collaborations, so in short… All We Love We Leave Behind is pure Converge. Not to mention with Ballou at the helm and his arsenal of talents as a recording/producing engineer, this makes for one hell of a dark and dirty sounding album.
Between the technical and blaring riffs of guitarist Kurt Ballou, Nate Newton’s equally technical and deeply audible bass, to Ben Koller’s ballistic, punk rock drumming, and Jacob Bannon’s screams and snarls, Converge have managed to sound even heavier, while also providing their most accessible album to date, which just goes to show the bands ability at mastering an already well-crafted style. Suffice to say, All We Love We Leave Behind is an album worth your time, and one that will be referred to as a ‘must listen’ for years to come.
Converge – All We Love We Leave Behind gets: