What keeps Converge in the race these days? I don’t mean that as a slight or implying that they’ve lost a step, quite the opposite. More than 20 years into the game and each studio album have been tasked with following up the obelisk that came before it. We’re finally getting The Dusk in Us (Epitaph) five years after their last release. Am I disappointed? Hell no. Not everyone is in the business of following up All We Love We Leave Behind, or Axe to Fall before that.
And The Dusk In Us lives up to its intended purpose in spades. Don’t be dismayed by ‘A Single Tear’ which while packing plenty of heat, is not the concussive blow you expect from past Converge album-openers such as ‘My Unsaid Everything’ or ‘Concubine.’ Here, the brutality is paired with melodic guitar and Jacob Bannon’s musings on parenthood. Converge also finds themselves playing with later Neurosis moodiness on a title-track which mostly sticks to clean vocals and sparse riffs only to crescendo into shoegaze. For some, it may take a while to get going, but there’s quite a bit of catchy songwriting buried in the dreariness.
That said, there is plenty of metallic hardcore firepower to be uncorked here. Once Converge taps into the inhuman abilities of drummer Ben Koller it’s best to hide on tracks like ‘Eye of the Quarrel’ and ‘Arkhipov Calm.’ There is plenty of shrapnel and napalm to dodge on ‘Wildlife’ which has the band playing like their lives depended on it and Kurt Ballou’s searing guitar tone cutting in on all the right places. ‘Under Duress’ may not be on the same killing pace of its peers, but it makes up for it by swinging a meaty Entombed style riff around the room.
We don’t know for how long we’ll have the musical talents of Converge. What should be known is that we should appreciate their recorded output especially considering they could’ve walked away legends after 2001’s Jane Doe.