Converge // All We Love We Leave Behind // October 9 // Epitaph
One of the stereotypes of hardcore punk is that it’s music by young anarchists made for young anarchists. While I’m not going to argue knowing how many young metal wannabes are trying to make a racket in my neighbourhood, I’ll confirm what is correct for all of music never mind the genre. Older people make better music. Converge are not yet too old to rock but they’re not kids by anyone’s standards. All We Love We Leave Behind is their 8th album. You’d be excused to think that by now they ran out of ideas but their new record rocks harder than all of the collective youth.
Converge have made it with their 4th LP Jane Doe, a masterclass in shredding that ended up being one of the most kick ass rock records of the last decade. What followed that were three great albums that offered different songs but familiar album structures. You Fail Me, No Heroes and Axe To Fall all started out with quickfire tracks, then offered some slower ballads before picking themselves up again for the climax which consisted of longer tracks that allowed for some complex songwriting. For those who loved Jane Doe there really was no reason to complain but it’s no secret that the formula was getting old. It’s a relief then to find out that All We Love We Leave Behind leaves this formula behind and instead focuses on the record that kicks fucking ass from start to finish. Straight from the manic opener Aimless Arrow one can tell that the band are not newcomers with songwriting skills like these. While regarded as pioneers of mathcore, on All We Love We Leave Behind Converge are making the different time signatures flow near flawlessly instead of feeling like a cut and paste of ideas, something that mathcore suffers from. All We Love We Leave Behind is the most comfortable journey through the uncomfortable than you can get.
All We Love We Leave Behind instantly sounds like Converge’s most refined record, one that focuses on what the band does best in the live setting. As such the lack of slower moments is replaced by hooks, big riffs and even some sing along moments. By no means is this record a flat journey through the most abrasive reaches of metal. Coral Blue is one track that instantly sticks to mind after first few listens. The single thing on here that remotely reminds of a “ballad”, it features a chorus that is sung, not shouted out. It’s a single moment on here when the band are catching their breath and will be an object of polarisation between fans. Some will like the slower moment while personally this might as well be a Mastodon track, not a compliment. Although admittedly All We Love We Leave Behind as a whole benefits from a slower moment. It feels like a record by a band that still have a lot to prove, a lot left unsaid. Production on here is near flawless, something that is to be expected from a band that has Kurt Ballou among its ranks. True, it’s an exhausting record, a barrage of riffs and feedback that doesn’t stop until you’re lying in a puddle of your own sweat but All We Love We Leave Behind isn’t just dumb fun. It’s a masterclass in hardcore punk and extreme metal and for a band that’s into the third decade, it’s a sign that they can still improve upon the already near flawless.
All We Love We Leave Behind doesn’t follow its own title then. The band is united by their love of hardcore roots and they’re seen all over this record. They’re leaving something behind but they’re not abandoning it. What they are leaving is forever in their hearts and their minds. Their 8th LP is as much paying tribute to the elders as it is a statement of intent for a band that were becoming a little bit stagnant within their own confines of fury. All We Love We Leave Behind is just about Converge’s best record since Jane Doe not only because the songwriting is stronger, not because the riffs are heavier but because for the first time in years the band have settled down with the past and are ready to break down boundaries again. This is the stuff that legends are made of.