Thanks to the spoiler-obsessed tendencies of the internet, you probably already saw that Converge released a “surprise” EP today. The legendary metalcore quartet’s latest release drops less than a year after their acclaimed ninth album The Dusk In Us, which landed sixth among our Top 25 Albums of 2017. And honestly, there’s not much more to say than that; the declaration of “new Converge” will prompt fans and detractors to act accordingly, just like they always do when the band drops new material. But if you count yourself a member of the “fan” group, then Beautiful Ruin is a four-track treat of the band doing what they do best: scorching, multifaceted metalcore that’s as engaging as it is punishing.
While most of these tracks feel like b-sides pulled from sessions for The Dusk In Us and All We Love We Leave Behind, this certainly isn’t a criticism. “Permanent Blue” centers around a twangy riff akin to “Sadness Comes Home” on AWLWLB, albeit with a much more urgent pace and tone in the vein of Axe to Fall. The EP’s average runtime drops significantly from there, including two one-and-a-half minute scorchers with “Churches and Jails” and the title-track. The former is packed with ripping thrashy tremolos and plenty of crossover thrash angst, and the latter is a vicious, blast-laden romp capped off by a dynamic breakdown. The true gem of the tracklist is “Melancholia,” which sees the band pay incredible homage to Black Flag‘s proto-sludge phase. Complete with a fuzzy, vintage guitar tone, the track sees Jacob Bannon channel Henry Rollins’ delivery through his signature bark, while Kurt Ballou nails Greg Ginn’s unique brand of jazz-punk noodling. It’s truly the centerpiece of this EP and one of the most unique and downright fun tracks the band’s produced in years.
Most Converge fans have likely heard Beautiful Ruin by now, and if you haven’t, you should really spare seven minutes of your day to enjoy one of the best bands in metalcore proving why they deserve that title. There may not be any new ground broken on the EP beyond “Melancholia,” but band’s like Converge are experts at tweaking their sound in just the right amounts to remain enticing but familiar. Beautiful Ruin is an excellent addition to both the band’s discography and your release day listening. Personally, I’ve had this on repeat all morning, and I highly recommend you do the same.