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Review: Converge – The Dusk in Us

So Converge recently released The Dusk in Us.
What you hear on The Dusk in Us are songs written by Converge. It is safe to expect that the album sounds like Converge.

“Eve” would have been a good fit on this record (as the closer), but the tracklist is still quite solid. “The Dusk in Us”, one of two slower tracks sits roughly in the middle and kind of works as a way to separate the album a bit. “Thousands of Miles Between us”, the other slower track provides a needed respite before the closer. Both use melody to great effect. Sitting around them are more uptempo songs that generally hit pretty hard and intersperse melody with more discordant moments quite well, with the end result sounding fairly chaotic and vicious.

There is a bit more experimentation with what makes for a Converge song, such as the more liberal use of melody. More specific examples include the pick scratching used on “Murk & Marrow” adding an unnerving, ominous feel to the song and using a groovier, more driving bass playing for “Trigger” to build everything around. Hearing the push into more experimentation whilst sounding undeniably like themselves is nice, but what really makes it work is that Converge know how to keep the songs from collapsing into hot messes. Despite a fairly chaotic sound, the songs have very strong structure and the songwriting remains consistent throughout.

Outside of the sounds, Jacob Bannon still has a powerful voice and knows how to use it to great effect. He matches each passage appropriately and doesn’t sound as though he’d prefer to be all over everything. His voice becomes another sound that melds into the sound of the songs pretty well, but at this point this is something to be expected from his performances. Anything lesser would not suit this kind of music.

With all of that being said, It’s hard to tell as to whether this album is more or less technical than past releases. It’s also hard to tell if it’s heavier or softer. Unfortunately a lot of that comes down to how loud and crappy the mix sounds. The Dusk in Us is certainly frenetic and relentless and there is a bit of punchiness to the mix that does help accentuate some details; that much cannot be denied. The problem is that too much of the intensity of the album comes from how much it’s trying to kill your hearing as you strain to make out the details from the muddy mix. Whilst there is certainly excellent craftsmanship, aside from two slower tracks the album doesn’t let up and due to this and the mix the album is fatiguing.

I wouldn’t say that this album pushes the boundaries of what makes a Converge album a Converge album as it’s never sounded like they’ve reached their boundaries. The Dusk in Us is a very strong album undermined by the continued decision to make their albums as loud as possible. Their music would hit much more effectively had they decided to tone it down a bit. Heavy music doesn’t need to sound like crap in order to hit hard and be intense. It needs to be good. Converge have nailed one aspect but once again failed on another. When the mix gets louder and muddier, the quality of the songs need to become much greater in order to surpass the faults that have no reason to be included in order for the album to be worth the time. The strength of The Dusk in Us does manage to outweigh the issues, but only just.

 

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