On All We Love We Leave Behind, Converge crafts another 14 songs that fit comfortably within its catalog: well-produced, uncompromising, and exceedingly technical. However, the record feels like a small step back from 2009’s Axe To Fall, where emphasis on lead guitar allowed songs room to breathe amongst the incessant crushing thrash.
Lead single and album opener “Aimless Arrow” sets the tone with a syncopated opening riff dovetailing into a rapid-fire throbbing rhythm and Jacob Bannon’s throat-shredding vocals. The album tends to succeed most when the band avoids the two-minute blitzkrieg format and spaces out, as on “A Glacial Pace,” where haunted vocals and cyclical guitar figures interweave before the familiar unified crunch begins. “Coral Blue” mixes the album’s doomiest ambience with its cleanest vocals, including surprisingly pleasant harmonies. The title track is perhaps the highlight of the album, featuring Kurt Ballou’s most hypnotic guitar lead and an increasing sense of dread powered by rolling drums and agonized screams.
Over the years, each aspect of the Converge attack has been mastered and cut of all fat to the point where the best songs are the ones that least approximate the band’s standard sound. Converge is essentially the Kobe beef jerky of rock music—high quality, tasty, but with something missing. Sure, not everyone needs to depart from their sound (Baroness, I’m looking at you), but one can only experience the headrush of the band’s tropes so many times. All We Love features something for everyone in this regard, with plenty of barn-burners and more experimental material. But each type of fan has a favorite Converge record that better caters to these specific needs, and they will likely more readily return to that than All We Love.
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