The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019, #11: Converge, All We Love We Leave Behind
MetalSucks recently polled nearly 180 prominent metal musicians and industry insiders to determine The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019! (You can read all about the voters and the methodology behind the poll here.) Over the next few weeks, we’ll be counting down the entire list, one entry per day.
The countdown continues today with All We Love We Leave Behind (Epitaph Records), the 2012 release from Converge!
How the hell have Converge managed to stay so relevant so far into their career? Isn’t hardcore supposed to be a young person’s game? How are we to make sense of the fact that Converge still sound snottier and more casually rebellious than bands half their age? How can it be that All We Love We Leave Behind is just as important to the genre as Jane Doe was eleven years prior?
A lot of the band’s ongoing success can surely be attributed to the ways in which they continue to challenge themselves. For one thing, All We Love We Leave Behind eschews many popular modern production techniques — it has no auto-tune, no triggers, and no artificial distortion — in favor of forcing the band to, y’know, be on top of their shit. And on top of their shit they are, sounding as terrifying here as they did on Jane.
But they’ve inarguably progressed as songwriters since 2001, and on All We Love We Leave Behind, perhaps more than any of their other albums, they have weaponized the interplay between rising and falling action in any given track. Sudden respites from the flattening tidal wave of aural chaos punctuate cuts like “Tender Abuse,” “Empty on the Inside,” “No Light Escapes,” and “Runaway” (holy shit, Nate Newton’s bowel-rumbling bass!). Meanwhile, songs such as “Sadness Comes Home,” “Vicious Muse” and the title track lull the listener into a false sense of security, appearing to be fairly straightforward rock songs that eventually explode into the Converge chaos you know and love. On album closer “Predatory Glow,” the chugging, churning riff which has thus far powered the song drops out for a two count of Ben Koller’s bass drum — and that brief moment of relative silence alone keeps you on your toes.
These moments serve as both highlighters and rug-yankers. We often describe metal albums in terms of a rollercoaster, but All We Love We Leave Behind isn’t just a roller coaster — it’s a roller coaster as designed by M.C. Escher. You won’t see the drop until your brain is already in your ass.
Put another way: All We Love We Leave Behind proves that Converge never do things “the easy way.” The DIY, work-your-ass off ethic of hardcore pervades every fiber of their collective being. Don’t be surprised when they have an entry on the list of The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2020 – 2029.
The 25 Best Metal Albums of 2010 – 2019:
#25: Cult of Luna & Julie Christmas, Mariner (2016)
#24: Triptykon, Eparistera Daimones (2010)
#23: Pig Destroyer, Book Burner (2012)
#22: Yob, Clearing the Path to Ascend (2014)
#21: The Black Dahlia Murder, Ritual (2011)
#20: Mastodon, Once More ‘Round the Sun (2014)
#19: At the Gates, At War with Reality (2012)
#18: Meshuggah, Koloss (2012)
#17: Gorguts, Colored Sands (2012)
#16: Between the Buried and Me, The Parallax II: Future Sequence (2012)
#15: The Ocean, Pelagial (2013)
#14: Kvelertak, Kvelertak (2010)
#13: Judas Priest, Firepower (2018)
#12: Metallica, Hardwired… to Self-Destruct (2016)