To say Hellions had set some pretty high expectations for themselves with Opera Oblivia would …
American metalcore champions Converge haven’t been silent since they released their beautiful last album All We Love We Leave Behind. Along with exploring new sounds in various side-projects and guitarist Kurt Ballou’s production work, Converge have been looking back through revisiting past albums Jane Doe and You Fail Me. Five years of experimentation and nostalgia has taught the band a lot, putting all their new knowledge into the explosive The Dusk In Us.
All the classic elements of Converge are here; Ballou’s frenzied riffing, the tight rhythms of drummer Ben Koller and bassist Nate Newton, and Jacob Bannon’s screamed suffering. But even while revisiting familiar terrain, Converge combust with metal energy. The two-and-a-half-minute attack I Can Tell You About Pain squeals with feedback from the punishment the band inflict on their instruments, and Koller’s beats make Arkhipov Calm sound anything but calm. The energy across the album is possessive, leading to uncontrollable bouts of head-banging and air-drumming that’s impossible to resist.
The energy across the album is possessive, leading to uncontrollable bouts of head-banging and air-drumming that’s impossible to resist.
Ballou’s production with a variety of heavy bands—from the grindcore of Nails to the lush Goth of Chelsea Wolfe—has seen him inject new flavours into this album. Blast beats and fast guitar leads covers Eye Of The Quarrel in the darkness of black metal, Trigger has a grooving bass and a stomping beat, and Thousands Of Miles Between Us sees the band adopting the post-punk dirge of Joy Division at their most funeral.
The biggest departure is the title-track. The song moves at a glacial pace, with only Ballou’s spare guitar picking and Bannon’s whimpered singing echoing from the void. The music builds to an apocalyptic storm when the entire band unleash a flood as Bannon sings, “Dear shattered little girl/ this is not the end of the world”. It’s a haunting anthem, with Bannon’s voice is full of hope; a surprise after his pained howls on I Can Tell You About Pain.
The Dusk In Us is more than just a great reminder of Converge’s brilliance. It shows a band taking stock of their past to build something forward-looking and greater. The Dusk In Us is an eclectic, towering achievement of heaviness and catharsis, and an astonishing addition to their incredible albums.
STANDOUT TRACKS: I Can Tell You About Pain, Trigger, The Dusk In Us
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