01. A Single Tear
02. Eye of the Quarrel
03. Under Duress
04. Arkhipov Calm
05. I Can Tell You About Pain
06. The Dusk in Us
08. Murk & Marrow
10. Broken by Light
12. Thousands of Miles Between Us
2017 Epitaph Records
The Dusk In Us is Converge's ninth proper studio album and probably the band's most diverse record to date. No track represents that more than its lead, "A Single Tear." From its urgent interplay between guitar, rhythm and vocals, the song shifts to a calming segue that gradually crescendos to a closing breakdown. From there, "Eye of the Quarrel" wastes no time being an absolute barnburner. This song, along with others, such as "I Can Tell You About Pain," "Wildlife" and "Broken by the Light" (the closing breakdown here almost feels like a throwback to Petitioning the Empty Sky that makes 19-year-old me quite happy), all exhibit the aggro speed, urgency and ferocity that dominated albums Axe to Fall and All We Love We Leave Behind.
Several entries exhibit an angular feel that harkens back to No Heroes: "Under Duress" has a choppy groove that settles in nicely while laced with feedback; "Arkhipov Calm" and "Murk and Marrow" show off the speed and precision of the band as it manages clean stop-and-go rhythms at breakneck pacing.
On the flipside, Converge shows its growing ability and deft touch in creating the moody and restrained, specifically "The Dusk In Us," as well as "Thousands of Miles Between Us." The former begins with a relatively simple riff accompanied by Bannon's measured vocals and ambient noise, gradually building up to the closing payoff where the band enters full assault mode. The latter has a harder edge but shares a similar trajectory, juxtaposed with clean singing and harmonies.
Converge always seems to know how to end an album properly. Closing track, "Reptilian," with its killer opening riff, throwback feel and closing breakdown, is reminiscent of "Color Me Blood Red" from Petitioning....
In terms of production and musicianship, there are no surprises here. The recording retains the raw punk feel found on past albums and still retains enough clarity, even with all the feedback and noise, that the listener can pick up on the subtle nuances coloring each track. Guitar leads, basslines and drum fills are as complex, tight and heavy as ever, while Jake Bannon's vocals shows growing range from clean singing, to all-out screams and everything in between.
Broadly speaking, Converge's calling card has typically been its frantic, pummeling brand of hardcore/metal/punk/noise (whatever you want to label it). But over time they've continually built upon that foundation by adding new elements and wrinkles to expand their sound, reaching the point where it simply cannot be defined by the stylistic/sub-genre boxes we love to label bands with. And they've managed to add these elements, whether it's clean vocals, noise, loops, melody, textures or dynamics, without ever compromising their musical and philosophical core as a band. Honestly, for a group that's been around as long as they have (a feat in itself considering hardcore bands from their era typically had an average shelf life of 3-5 years, tops), it boggles the mind that they continue to produce quality records time after time. Many bands plateau or mail it in after finding success, but not this one. If you've ever followed any of the members' respective pursuits outside of Converge, I don't think they're capable of doing anything without challenging themselves to improve and, ultimately, create something of the highest standard. And that's probably the secret to their longevity--a shared vision of creativity and uncompromising standards that's led them to become elder statesmen in the aggressive music scene. Together over a quarter of a century, and they're still pushing forward while schooling everyone on how to it should be done.
Bottom Line: The Dusk In Us is arguably Converge's most diverse record to date, exhibiting the band's continuing sonic expansion while remaining true to its core. That diversity may require multiple listens for some, but there's something here for both old and new fans alike.