Nine studio albums in nearly 30 years?
That’s one less than Metallica (and they’ve been together nearly 40 years).
But when your back catalogue is all killer and very, very little in the way of filler, it’s easy to forgive.
We all know that 2001’s ‘Jane Doe’ was a game changer for hardcore.
I was a real latecomer to the band (not picking up on them until 2009’s ‘Axe to Fall’), but even then, it was easy to see the amount of bands who cited the intensity (both musical and emotional) of ‘Jane Doe’ as an inspiration for their own work.
And that is a tradition upheld nobly on ‘The Dusk in Us.’
‘A Single Tear’ opens with a nice, melodic guitar line alongside some rabid drumming, before we get a hammering three note riff and lyrics about how the narrator “…was so naive and fearful of the substantive/Of the greying days…And what it really meant to truly mean something/To really be someone who could be loved.”
That’s quite a hard hitting line, and Jacob Bannon’s vocal delivery is mixed with a myriad of emotions: rage, despair and self realisation.
The chorus ups the ante (both musically and lyrically) in terms of heaviness.
I love the chugging riff and the (almost) displaced backing vocals, while the dissonant, post punk influenced melody lines soundtracking Bannon’s emotional splurges as the song progresses are gorgeous.
This is only the first song, but it’s reasonable to conclude that this LP is going to be a blinder.
‘Eye of the Quarrel’ has a much more abrasive chorus and more poetic and self loathing / self aware lyrics: “I’m my own man built by my own hands / Despite all the flaws which remind me of you.”
The middle eight feels like it’s about to collapse any second, due to the airy, post rock riff and Bannon’s increasingly frenzied vocal performances. Does the job, and then some.
Listen to the bass tone in ‘Under Duress.’ Properly crusty, metallic sounding and the combination of feedback and the stop / start riff feel like a Jesus Lizard tribute (which is no bad thing).
I love the discordant (almost out of tune) chorus. Really emphasises the noise rock element running through this song, which perfectly soundtrack the lyrics: the narrator reels off a list of paradoxes which end in the statement that power and control are merely illusions designed to keep us in line in everyday life.
This is easily outdoing ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ (which I thought was immense).
‘Arkhipov Calm’ (named after the prominent Navy Officer in the Soviet Union whose vote stopped the Cuban Missile Crisis from turning into full scale nuclear war) is a good old fashioned angular hardcore number, with more stop/start riffing and the one track on here where drummer Ben Koller’s power is on proper display.
Some of the more angular moments could do with a bit of beefing up (maybe extra guitar overdubs), but it doesn’t detract. At all.
Closer ‘Reptilian’ begins as a gentle, atmospheric post rock song (the ambient noise low in the mix adding a sinister air to proceedings) and then turns into a Melvins type sludge/doom rock song for a bit until it turns into an “end of days” style album closer with sky scraping guitar lines and ponderous groove. An absolute monster of a closer.
So yes, it’s safe to conclude that ‘The Dusk in Us’ wipes the floor with not only ‘All We Love…’, but also ‘Axe to Fall’ and ‘No Heroes.’
Is it on a par with ‘Jane Doe’? Too soon to judge, but it certainly feels like an important record. Just as important as the new Godflesh, certainly.
Converge get better and better with each release, long may it continue.
4 / 5 – Christopher Owens ::: 19/11/17