Few bands often reach the cult status that CONVERGE now find themselves. The metallic hardcore sounds that the band spew forth were quickly labelled as pioneering, and it’s not hard to see why. The band take musical savagery and infuse it with an emotional honesty that grants their sound an incredibly strong dichotomy. Given the added wisdom of being nearly three decades into their career, their latest release The Dusk In Us sees the band at, dare one say it, their most accessible.
Now that may seem like cardinal sin, but rest assured CONVERGE don’t lose any of their ferocity. Opening with A Single Tear, guitarist Kurt Ballou utilises his trademark lead fretwork, everything sounding crystal clear thanks to his own magic hands during the mastering process. It also gives the perfect opportunity for Jacob Bannon to show his clearest vocal performance on a CONVERGE record. His throat shredding scream is still present, but it is cut up with genuine singing from the frontman, and the evolution of his voice is part of the reason why The Dusk in Us succeeds from the get go.
There are sonic throwbacks to earlier CONVERGE sounds, with the two shortest songs on the record Broken By Light and Cannibals boasting the chaotic and seething aggression that albums like Jane Doe and No More Heroes are rightly heralded for. The aggression is certainly present in the rest of the record, but it is far more watered down and delivered in noticeably more structured way. The Dusk In Us is very strong on great songs, each one with its own highlights. The repeating chorus of Trigger sticks in the brain, similarly the wretched screams before the crushing finale of I Can Tell You About Pain is equally memorable, albeit for far more destructive reasons.
The fact that The Dusk In Us feels more structured does take a bit away from the finished product. Where previous CONVERGE albums are visceral listens that sometimes disappear before you even take notice of the audio carnage they’ve left behind. Whilst The Dusk In Us is ferocious, it has an almost muzzled feel. This is utterly counteracted by the quality of songs on offer, but this does feel like a different, more streamlined CONVERGE than their older offerings.
The Dusk In Us is perhaps the best example of how easily someone new to the band can find their rabbit hole into a band like CONVERGE. The perfect production means Bannon‘s excellent lyrics and vocal performance punch through the moody guitars. Everything eventually crescendos with crushing guitars and savage barks, resulting in the best song on the record and also a shining example of how proficient CONVERGE are at mastering their individual elements to frightful and atmospheric success.
The time CONVERGE have taken since their previous release in 2012 is blatant and obvious on The Dusk In Us. Moving from ripped jeans to tailored suits, the band sound as refined as ever whilst still maintaining their brutal edge. The Dusk In Us is the best sounding album the band have put out, a tremendous feat of mastering from their own Kurt Ballou, there is argument to make that the band have lost some of their frantic chaos that made them such an exciting band. Whilst this may be true, CONVERGE have shown that they simply get better as they go on, and The Dusk In Us is a magnificent addition to their legacy.
The Dusk in Us is set for release on November 3rd via Epitaph Records.
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