After forming in 1990 and now on the brink of releasing their 9th full length record The Dusk In Us, it can be particularly easy to overlook the evident legacy Converge have inflicted on the extreme metal scene. Following the release of their critical landmark 2001 record; Jane Doe, the group have often been regarded as the pioneers of modern metalcore. A true hybrid of metal and hardcore punk, combing the dangers and ideologies of both genres, back when the genre conveyed a stark sense of extremity, and long before the genre conjured images of cookie-cutter groups covering Taylor Swift tracks. In turn, it’s staggering to think that the group have managed to maintain such a strong sense of integrity and extremity since their inception. Whilst The Dusk In Us may be a release following the longest span of time since between full length records, a fact that many fans found concern in, it’s a delight that this album fully holds up to the high standards the group have created from their previous efforts.
Immediately, it becomes evident that The Dusk In Us purveys to maintain and bolster the dreary atmospherics explored in their 2012 release, All We Love We Leave Behind. Album opener, ‘A Single Tear’ is an explosively cathartic introduction to the release, exploring the unconventional realities of parenthood in a fashion that explores a level of uneasy and towering melodic structures amongst the chaos and pure adrenaline typically found with a Converge track. With this in consideration, whilst the group are renowned for exploring such disjointed, apprehensive and precarious avenues within their releases, this release sees such emotive insecure dynamics thrust into the spot lights.
Overall, there’s a looming, distinctive atmosphere of anxious and fragile foreboding within this release, one that has not been so prominent within their previous releases. Tracks such as ‘Trigger’, ‘Murk & Marrow’ and ‘Thousands Of Miles Between Us’ see such typical extreme conventions substituted for more melodic and conventional symphonies, with vocalist Jacob Bannon’s signature barks replaced with the distorted cleans utilized heavily in their record most previous. Yet, these still tracks still fully resonate the hostile, volatile, and quivering persona Converge are renowned for. It feels like an evolution, the band adapting and moulding to the socially uneasy present, expanding their sonic lexicon with age.
This only becomes fully prominent with the title track; a 7 minute, slow burning monolithic structure. Opening with a forlorn, sombre acoustic guitar line accompanied with leering, disjointed cleans, it almost feels like a late 90’s Deftones track, within reason. Yet, when it lurches into gear, with Bannon’s signature screeching coming into effect, it fully exaggerates the group’s chaotic, emotive persona. Sure, tracks present within previous releases such as Axe To Fall’s ‘Wretched World’ have experimented wish such sonic aura’s, but the atmospherics built within this track feel like a statement; one of slight ambiguity, but one anxious frustration aimed at the current uncertain, unjust state of modern life.
And yet, when the album hits, it rivets wildly.
‘Eye Of The Quarrel’, ‘Cannibals’ and ‘Reptilian’ are certain to be staples within their live sets, with these tracks presenting pure audio abuse, with Bannon’s rapid, exhausted barking and screeching better than ever. They’re pure, therapeutic forms of sonic battery that’s certain to ignite hysteria from the speakers they’re screamed from. There can be only so much stated about these tracks, they’re explosive and chaotic and fully resonate the act’s uneasy, volatile projected personality. As per, guitarist and personal producer Kurt Ballou has done the record the justice and sonic punch it requires; it’s almost impossible to imagine a Converge record crafted by anyone but his hands.
In all, The Dusk In Us may not be as sonically extreme as fans of this band are accustomed to, but it’s still as seething, bitter and as lovingly crafted its predecessors. With a direct focus on dismal, anxious atmospherics rather than sheer brutality, it’s another fantastic and current addition to their towering discography.