Reviews Converge All We Love We Leave Behind

Converge

All We Love We Leave Behind

This is not a review but more a lament, and I am not sure exactly who or what this lament is meant because there is a definite sense of utter confusion while listening to the latest album, All We Love We Leave Behind, from the almighty Converge on my part; let us get this out of the way since I do not want anyone to misunderstand my meaning and that is the sheer fact that I have counted Converge as one of “those” bands since I first saw them in the mid to late nineties. Converge were way ahead of their time in that day and age dropping the Petitioning The Empty Sky EP (later LP), the Unloved And Weeded Out EP (later rarities collection), and their second proper full length, When Forever Comes Crashing; this was an amazing time for Converge in terms of both creativity and live prowess as few bands came anywhere near the audio annihilation that these guys pumped out when you heard them in any situation.

I can imagine you thinking at this point that I am just some old man pining for the “golden days” when Converge was playing small intimate venues and were more like my little secret, but you could not be more wrong as Jane Doe and The Poacher Diaries and You Fail Me sounded just as fresh and powerful as those early outbursts of energetically visceral music; every single one of those albums sounded different from one to the next as the band made dramatic shifts and leaps in delivery and dynamics while All We Love We Leave Behind seems to lack that adventure and recklessness that the earlier records had in spades. Listen to songs like “The Lowest Common Denominator” or “Love As Arson” or “Farewell Note To This City” or “My Great Devastator” (yes, I know some of these are highlights of the entire oeuvre of Converge but maybe that is part of the point and still, it is not like I tried comparing them to say a “The Saddest Day” or a “Bitter And Then Some”) and show me where a song off of All We Love We Leave Behind matches any of these in terms of overall dynamicism and power; or how about you try giving me a song as experimental (for Converge) as “Minnesota” where the band actual takes a huge chance with a song that they release in both style and substance regardless of whether the attempt is successful or not.

This is by no means an excoriation of All We Love We Leave Behind because in some sense, this album would blow away 90% of what is released this year by other bands and artists; Converge offer up another uncompromising album that certainly is further evidence of this group of individuals doing what they do on their terms without having the need to answer to anything or anyone, and there are several songs on this record that some bands will have wished that they wrote such as the heavy and crushing “Empty On The Inside” with its dynamic interplay or the standout “Glacial Pace” that might be one of the strongest compositions from the band in quite a while or the oddly melodic and slower paced “Coral Blue”. There is more evidence of variation in Converge’s attack such as the blink and you miss it “No Light Escapes” and its awesome angular guitar lead” (showing the band taking a more measured approach to crushing their listeners), and the first 40 seconds or so of “Sadness Comes Home” is stellar before the band reverts back to all to familiar ground finally coming back around to the motif of the first roughly 40 seconds; and there is a strange flirtation with some more traditional punk sounding percussion that is also a break from the norm from the band.

For some, I am sure that All We Love We Leave Behind is a triumph that is further evidence of Converge being at the pinnacle of their powers standing with a select few groups that consistently demonstrate their name as a b( r )and to be counted on for exemplary albums, but for my part, All We Love We Leave Behind is an album that has several great songs but does not quite live up to the band’s past efforts; and maybe that is an unfair assessment as albums should probably be critiqued in a vacuum, but for some reason, their past albums seem more vital to me. Then again, maybe I am just an old bastard hoping to relieve some semi-mythical glory days.

7.0 / 10Bob
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