To the casual observer, it can probably seem like there are as many heavy music subgenres (mathcore, grindcore, death metal, doom metal, post-punk, etc.) as there are bands who trade in fast, loud, aggressive, and/or abrasive tuneage.
Massachusetts quartet Converge aren’t the only ones to blame for inciting this deluge of niches, but they were one of the first bands to bridge the necessary genres for earning the lazy descriptor “metalcore.” More than two decades after forming, Converge remain a square peg in this stylistic pigeonhole, subtly tweaking and sometimes even working against their immense successes (like 2001’s Jane Doe, which topped many best-of lists) for a consistently exciting output.
All We Love We Leave Behind is another high-water mark, blending breakneck riffage, Jacob Bannon’s guttural scream, and drumming that balances head-nodding grooves with mind-melting dexterity. Equally impressive is guitarist/engineer Kurt Ballou’s attentive production: Not only are all the instruments clearly defined during even the most thrashing moments (“Sadness Comes Home,” “Veins and Veils”), but there’s a warmth and a depth to all this growling and shredding that’s unparalleled by any heavy band, regardless of sub-genre.
Playlist picks: “All We Love We Leave Behind,” “Aimless Arrow,” “Veins and Veils”