Review Summary: Let their passion lead the way
One of the most seminal hardcore bands of the last twenty years, Converge's chaotic nature has brought them to a different sound each and every time they put out a record, and their latest album is certainly no different.
The murky hardcore of Halo In A Haystack evolved into more chaotic territory with the release of Petitioning The Empty Sky and When Forever Comes Crashing, but the arrival of Jane Doe saw then reach a creative peak with incomprehensible shrieks, mathcore influenced riffs and an unbelievably dense bass sound. Their more recent records such as You Fail Me and No Heroes have been glossier and produced, but will undoubtedly heavy, and led up to Axe To Fall, the band's finest effort to date.
Luckily, most of what made their 2009 album so brilliant remains here. Opener Aimless Arrow is the cleanest, most accessible track the bands have ever come up with, but follower Trespasses would be comfortably at home on Jane Doe. Elsewhere, the southern guitar sound leaks into the grindcore-esque drums on the epic Sadness Comes Home. Then comes Sparrow's fall, where Jacob Bannon's mastery of poetry and vicious howls bleed into one another in a way they never did in Jane Doe or the band's other heavier releases. Sludgier, Baroness-ish songs such as Coral Blue break the tracklist up fantastically, allowing for spoken word, clean vocals and other strokes of vocal and instrumental mastery that so far have failed to work their way into the heavier elements successfully.
Definitely the band's most varied album, All We Love is a better album than Axe To Fall because it relies less on guest vocalists and more on the band's individual talents, erm, converging together. The album's highlight might be the title track, a song that really epitomises nearly twenty years of experience into the most heartfelt, emotionally charged track they've ever created. Bannon's earnest, driven yelp intertwined with the fast, technical guitars as well as ever, but what makes the track a true gem is the approach to losing a loved one, namely a beloved pet, and realising you never had a proper chance to say goodbye.
Overall, this might be the band's most accessible record to date, but it's also by far their best. Catchy, heavy and surprisingly experimental, there's no sign of Converge losing relevancy here With a production job as great as the ones their guitarist gives the bands working so hard to imitate them, this is undoubtedly the pinnacle of the band's unbelievable talent, and the proof is right here in every track off this wonderful, career-defining album.