“All We Love We Leave Behind” is Converge at their finest. Converge, as a rule, represents nothing but the finest metalcore. This time we are treated to so much more. “AWLWLB” channels “You Fail Me” with a passion that at times exceeds the latter, even at points challenging the monumental sorrow of “Jane Doe.” What is most refreshing about “AWLWLB” is that it is just Converge. I enjoyed “Axe to Fall”, but I found that the guest musicians muddled up much of what could’ve been an even better record. There is a cohesion to their long standing lineup that should never be disturbed. This latest entry is testament to that.
Opener “Aimless Arrow” is Converge at their most melodious, matching it with a style akin to the classic “Last Light.” “Arrow” leads into the aggressive, sweeping “Trespasses”, a symphony of duelling vocals and smattering drum work. “Tender Abuse” is short, sweet and a slaughter, hitting you with a fleeting abrasiveness not heard since “Concubine.” True to its name, “Sadness Comes Home” slows itself to a thundering trudge, revealing the track as one of the record’s most impressive. Reminiscent of “Dark Horse” in riff and voice, “Sadness” is when this record begins to command your attention. A personal favorite, “Empty on the Inside” is traditional Converge that melts into bass-heavy military march 40 seconds in, a successful tinkering with aspects present on “Cruel Bloom.” “Sparrow’s Fall” is all fury and beauty, an acrobatic song that heralds the “Glacial Pace” to come.
At this point, “AWLWLB” sheds some of its rage in favor of contemplation, giving way to “Glacial Pace”, a furious but quiet interlude. Converge has always had a near-godly ability at expression through sound and this is most notable here, as “Glacial Pace’s” scope ascends into the punk-infused, aptly titled “Vicious Muse.” Surf rock compliments the earliest moments of “Veins and Veils” before the band blesses the song with its signature freneticism. Based on early reviews, “Coral Blue” was personally one of the most anticipated songs off of “AWLWLB.” The album’s elegant, longest track, “Coral Blue” deliberately feels like a superior sequel to “Cruel Bloom” in more than one way. A whispering dirge that constantly lingers on the fringes of somber excitement, “Coral Blue” is the album’s best track.
A distant storm of fills heralds the uber-pissed “Shame in the Way”, which, along with “Trespasses” and “Tender Abuse”, stands as one of the piece’s successful sucker punches. Just so, since the album takes a turn for the downright melancholic with the instrumental, tender “Precipice.” Converge has a history of pushing the boundaries of each record’s self-contained sound with their title tracks. “All We Love We Leave Behind” is hands down one of the best, succeeded only by the insurmountable “Jane Doe.” The record’s best aspects find their way onto “All We Love We Leave Behind”, making for the record’s strongest “holy shit” moment. Closer “Predatory Glow” in comparison is a bummer given its positioning on the tracklist, but is still a face-splitter of an ending.
October 9 is, as of this writing, a long arduous week away. Thankfully, Converge has made “All We Love We Leave Behind” available for streaming below via a video replete with Bannon’s art. Sit down and enjoy, this is heavy music’s record of the year and is nothing short of beautiful, terrifying and entrancing.