The Dusk in Us

Written by: MIN on 18/12/2017 15:58:02

The wait has been long. Almost unbearable. But it’s finally here: “The Dusk in Us”, the ninth LP from Salem, MA-based hardcore/metal four-piece Converge. Although initially just teasing us with a two song-EP in July, the band shortly after announced that they’d be releasing a full-length record in November, just over five years since the release of the band’s eighth record, ”All We Love We Leave Behind”. Since then, each member has been off on their own, doing different projects only to occasionally tour with the rest of the band. Thankfully, “The Dusk in Us” is still very much Converge, although the band’s evidently added a few ingredients to its repertoire of chaos.

Whereas “All We Love We Leave Behind” was a very cohesive, almost intuitive outing from the band, which, according to the members themselves, had been recorded with the intended purpose of reflecting the band’s live performances, “The Dusk in Us” feels much more fragmented. Not necessarily in a bad way, seeing as it gives the record a much more nuanced expression, but many songs here quickly establish that Converge have steadily changed while managing to stay the same. By virtue of a thick emphasize on the rhythm-section, the band’s previous LP had a sludgy production that helped mold the entire beast together. This new outing, however, sees producer and guitarist Kurt Ballou let in a little more air into the mix, resulting in a much more decipherable sound – but fret not, the music still feels strangling when needed to.

As for the actual songs found throughout, Converge have rarely ever been as inclined to switch gears between tracks as they are now. The juxtaposition of lengthier pieces and two minute-outbursts keeps the record alive, and especially the addition of higher ceiling on tracks like “A Single Tear” and “Under Duress” provide ideal framework for great songwriting. In return, the shorter knockouts of the Slayer-esque ending in “Broken By Light” and the mathy intricacies throughout “Arkhipov Calm” hits even harder.

Like on so many previous Converge records, everything needs to slow down for a little while. The album’s title-track and centerpiece is a slow 7-minute lullaby that’ll make sure you won’t fall asleep, what with lyrics depicting the monster that is human existence. Very reminiscent of vocalist Jacob Bannon’s side-project Wear Your Wounds, the song might drag on for too long for some listeners, but the intense layers of guitar noise during the song’s chorus and ending is well worth the wait. As for Converge’s quieter moments, however, I’m convinced that “Thousands of Miles Between Us” is the record’s real gem. Admittedly, it took me a little while to really get it under my skin, but once the entire band joins in and calls out the title of the song in unison, it’s hard not to swoon. Additionally, it beautifully and subtly leads into the album’s definite highlight and grand finale, “Reptilian”.

Off the bat, “Reptilian” feels very much like a song by Mutoid Man due to the long, slow guitar notes that create atmosphere before the sporadic and ever-changing drum-patterns of Ben Koller suddenly kick in. After about two minutes, however, Bannon joins and rips through the soundscape like a lizard on the prowl, displaying one of the most intense vocal deliveries of the year while reminding us that he’s not Steve Brodsky. The urgency of his performance perfectly encapsulates the very political statement of his words: ”Melodies of flightless birds remind reptilian me // That time is not through sharpening our tested claws and teeth”. I can hardly think of a more fitting message for the year 2017, nor a better one to enter 2018 with.

Granted, not everything is perfect on “The Dusk in Us”. Although I’d like to tell you that the record is flawless from A to Z, it’s hard not raise an eyebrow when listening to the chorus of “Wildlife”, in which Bannon yells ”Born into such a cruel, cruel world // Survival can be such a cruel, cruel curse”, and “Trigger”, too, feels oddly thrown into the mix despite a gorgeous groove by Nate Newton on bass. Other than that, “The Dusk in Us” is as good as they come: the band is still one of the strongest, both instrumentally and in regards to songwriting, and the fact that I have to nit-pick only goes to show how excellent the rest of the material is. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another five years for a follow-up, but with a bar this high, you can hardly blame them – just take a look at the rating below and remember that the band has several other records deserving of the same (or a higher) grade.

Download: A Single Tear, Arkhipov Calm, Broken By Light, Thousands of Miles Between Us, Reptilian
For The Fans Of: Botch, Every Time I Die, Mutoid Man, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Trap Them

Release date 03.11.2017
Epitaph, Deathwish Inc.

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