In an era of decreasing album sales, making a living as a long-running band requires extensive touring. And yet, the longer a band has been around, the harder it is for them to drop everything and hit the road. Converge’s eighth album, poignantly titled All We Love We Leave Behind, is a revealing glimpse into the kinds of personal frustrations that the band has typically kept behind closed doors. Songs like “Empty on the Inside,” “Sadness Comes Home” and the title track, in which frontman Jacob Bannon laments, “You deserve so much more than I could provide,” vent pain and self-contempt with every verse.
And yet it’s these very same frustrations that have ironically helped keep the band fresh. Not only do Converge rage as hard as they did in 1994, when they released their first album Halo in a Haystack, they have developed numerous approaches with which to pummel listeners. “Aimless Arrows” contrasts speedy salvos of melodic guitar with hyper-kinetic drumming. The ironically-titled “Tender Abuse” matches death-metal blast beats with feral vocals and guitars that ring like sirens before ending with a half-speed breakdown that would put most metalcore bands to shame. “Trespasses” contrasts double-bass drumming and short, sharp riffs with angular flurries of blues-inflected guitar that sound more like Jesus Lizard. And “Sadness Comes Home” is augmented with Van Halen-style fingertapping that pogos through a kinetic hardcore forest fire. With All We Love We Leave Behind, Converge have expanded their horizons both lyrically and musically without compromising an iota of intensity, proving in the process that speed isn’t the only path to sonic demolition. Twenty-two years into their career, Converge continue to craft sincere, relentless and aggressive metallic hardcore.