on 27 August 2013
I agree with the previous reviewer's comments ... this may well be Converge's best album yet.
The production (by guitarist Kurt Ballou) is excellent: heavy, dense and open enough to let every instrument be heard with equal clarity.
But it's the songwriting that really excels. Jacob Bannon's lyrics are as poetic and thought-provoking as ever; the riffs are frequently massive (check out the tap-guitar melodies of "Sadness Comes Home"'s riff - awesome); the beats are catchy - yes catchy! - and each song is generally better structured than the majority of their older stuff.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE Converge fan and I love all of their albums. I was delighted by 2009's "Axe to Fall" as it showed a band who, 18 years into their career, had lost none of their ferocity while starting to write more accessible tunes such as "Dark Horse".
They take that skill a few steps further on "All We Love We Leave Behind". The ferocity is still there (though Bannon has started to punk-sing as much as he does growl, more so here than on previous releases) but there is more variation.
"Aimless Arrow" kicks things off in catchy, uptempo fashion. It's a surprisingly accessible tune. "Trespasses" follows which is more metalcore, but after a couple of listens is equally memorable.
"Sadness Comes Home" is like GBH doing a speeded-up cover version of Iron Maiden. "Empty on the Inside" showcases the band's love for grindcore with gutteral screams and sludge-thick riffage, before a brilliant breakdown which sounds like Joy Division-gone-metal.
"Coral Blue" is about as radio friendly as Converge are ever going to get, yet it manages to be so without ever compromising their hardcore edge.
The title track is all tribal drumming and melodic riffing over Bannon's mournful wailing. The playing throughout this album really does excell, even during 'noisier' moments such as "Sparrow's Fall". Special mention must go to bassist Nate Newton and drummer Ben Koller who don't get pointed out enough. They are a formidable rhythm section and really kick out the jams on this album.
Converge have been labelled many things - noisecore, mathcore, metalcore etc. But there's an old quote from, I think from Ballou, that continues to sum them up best: "we're a hardcore punk band who play leftover Slayer riffs". It doesn't do their unique, thrilling sound justice, but it's better than having them mislabelled "mathcore" (there's nothing remotely touching mathcore on this album!).
The CD is beautifully packaged in a fold-out digipack with a fold-out lyric sheet which has a gorgeous Bannon-designed poster on its reverse.
Fast, heavy, angry, passionate, intelligent ... "All We Love We leave Behind" is unmistakably a Converge album, but one that will perhaps age better than, say, "No Heroes" (which I love too, only this album's better!)
on 19 August 2013
if your reading these reviews then you already know who converge are and what they sound like so i wont go into that. all i will say is is that in my opinion this is one of.....if not the strongest record the band have put out. its not as wild as some previous releases (axe to fall mainly), i suppose its an easier listen, its more well produced with a deeper, heavier drum sound which i love, and jacobs vocals dont sound like theyve been recorded under water. All these things im not stating as a negative, as converge are one of my favourite bands and have never put out any bad or even poor music. I like the direction this record took and i stand by that its probably their best work, and is definately one of the best records of 2012. you wont be dissapointed.