Converge – When Forever Comes Crashing

3 out of 5

Label: Equal Vision

Produced by: Steve Austin, Converge

  1. How happy I am that Jacob Bannon dropped / matured out of his high-pitched singing style
  2. How much better suited to the band Ben Koller is as a drummer, and Nate Newton as a bassist
  3. How much awesomeness Kurt Ballou’s gut-wrenching production adds to the group’s records
  4. How the group having its own label – Deathwish – feels like an important point for such a landmark band
  5. How the world changed when Converge emerged as its own thing (somewhere around Jane Doe) as opposed to a composite of cool sounds and influences

I don’t know exactly what that list is, but it’s in support of why When Forever Comes Crashing isn’t a great album.  Throughout, you hear hints of greatness; at group at odds with itself to want to bleed its blend of punk and metal onto the masses but stuck with some Cave In influences, and with emo influences.  When tracks take these inspirations as leads, the song suffers, never quite peaking in an original way.  But when Ballou takes center stage and riffs the fuck out, with Bannon riddled into shouting frenzy as a result – see opener My Unsaid Everything, The Towering Jehovah, or Year of the Swine – it’s goddamn chillingly effective, and that’s where you can start to trace the modern Converge sound.

Production stands in these songs’ way, all the same.  No shade cast upon Steve Austin in general, but his work here is too mushy to catch all the insanity, and drummer Damon Bellorado frankly isn’t up to snuff to pound out the speed and intensity at the same time.  You’ve got Brodsky on bass, and it’s hard to criticize that, except for the aforementioned Cave In-ish wandering moments on the disc that you gotta wonder if he… tainted.

When Forever Comes Crashing is an average thrash punk disc, with enough flourish that if you came to the album chronologically, with no knowledge of Converge, it’d definitely stick out, but not so much so as to become your favorite band.  However, distilled down to a few searing cuts, you get it, and you’d be ready to swear allegiance.