Converge - The Dusk in Us album review
Boston’s kings of catharsis storm into a new emotional universe
The last five years have been rough for humanity. After being repeatedly confronted with attacks on our freedom, the political climate of the world has started to take its toll on our personal spaces and emotional worlds, causing a lot of anger and frustration – feelings that few bands are able to channel as well and intensely as Converge. So when the band dropped I Can Tell You About Pain, their first new music since 2012’s All We Love We Leave Behind, in July, all you wanted to say was “Same, guys.”
After half a decade without fresh music – the longest break the band have ever taken between studio albums – Converge’s current direction was rather uncertain. But The Dusk In Us turns out to be everything you ever wanted from a Converge record, and everything you couldn’t even imagine. As it was to be expected, the four-piece didn’t just create a merciless burst of aggression and energy but a complex piece of art.
Produced by the band and mixed by guitarist and GodCity studio owner Kurt Ballou – because there’s nobody in the world who could do a better job here – there’s a completely new emotive universe that is both darker and more sensitive than ever before. And when Jacob Bannon screams and shouts about monsters among us, futile wars and shadow kings, it’s hard to believe that the current state of politics and society has not played at least a tiny role in this. Meanwhile, the band have internalised a form of heaviness and gloom that exists regardless of relentless noise, be it the almost hymn-like chorus of the ominously creeping Under Duress, the mellow yet sinister balladic title track that might as well be a product of Jacob’s recent post-rock and ambient solo debut with Wear Your Wounds, or the absolutely killer groove of the bassydowntempo song Trigger.
Converge hit you hard with all possible shades of darkness. With Jacob moving past his signature barking to clean vocals and articulate screams – once more reliably backed up by bassist Nate Newton – The Dusk In Us is not only a vicious attack on your senses but on your consciousness, putting more emphasis than ever on the lyrical messages of pain, hopelessness and a world falling apart. And of course, the Bostonians will tear you into pieces in a matter of seconds if they feel like it. You will need quite a while to pull yourself together again after the math madness of Arkhipov Calm, feedback-laden Murk & Marrow or the sheer explosion of Cannibals with Ben Koller going berserk on the drums.