4 out of 5
Label: Deathwish / Epitaph
Produced by: Kurt Ballou
While I’ve since listened to it like nineteen bamillion septillion razillion times, I still agree with my overall assessment of Converge’s last release, All We Love We Leave Behind: that it’s a freaking all-or-nothing, ear-quaking, loud experience, and though it’s actually shorter than their newest, Dusk In Us, it’s sheer volume can make it a bit more of a stretch to get through. DIU is, in part, a Kurt Ballou masterpiece, shearing off some of his hardest edges without losing a step of Converge’s general intensity; Jacob Bannon’s howl can flip between singing and shouting seamlessly; Nate Newton’s intricate basslines can be heard against the blazing-speed guitar riffery – itself crystal clear – with Ben Koller’s breathless drumming mixed more at a level where all the highs and lows can be heard. On top of this is the depth Ballou adds to this stuff, heard on epic title track – a seven minute slow burn – and some of the rockier stuff like Trigger. The group meanwhile leverages a smart sequencing that volleys between memorable 3-minute grooves, their minute-long Slayer thrash bursts, and some slowed down jams; the disc never stutters, and provides timely breaks from the metal to make it repeatable quite ad nauseum.
As with All We Love, though, there’s still quite a bit of momentum that keeps things afloat, so the rip from the opener through the initial calm of The Dusk In Us has to get back up to speed right afterwards with Wildlife and then reintroduce mathy breaks with Murk & Marrow, and these two tracks subsequently feel a bit hollow, like playing to a Converge template. But once the opening riff of Trigger starts making you tap your toe right away, we’re back in action, topped off by a duo of fine closers – warmup Thousand Of Miles Between Us, and the impressive bombast of Reptilian.