Upon opening the Axe to Fall record it says, “We may get better/ We won’t get well.”
Are you sure?
It’s been over three years since Axe to Fall. For many Converge fans there’s Jane Doe and there’s Axe to Fall– each held on pedestals for completely separate reasons. One is the intensity addiction and the other is the expansion on extreme music itself.
If we go from where Axe to Fall left off, gone are the slower songs and guest vocalists. Here is what guitarist Kurt Ballou suggested in the band’s cover story for Decibel Magazine– a record that’s essentially singles.
This is All We Love We Leave Behind.
Now is that true?
Well that’s why I brought up that quote in Axe to Fall’s artwork in the first place. Musically, All We Love We Leave Behind is unmatched. Many forget Converge is a 22-year-old band. It’s seems like just yesterday I heard Jane Doe …but then I realize I got older and so did they. With age, Converge got better.
However, semantically these words don’t provide the same stature. This album is the “well” status. What makes it so “well?” The fact of knowing all you love you do leave behind.
On one hand, musically this is certain. This isn’t just 2.0, it’s like 12.0. Somehow Ben Koller’s drumming on “Trespasses” is impressively not played by a robot- to become one of the fastest pieces we’ve heard all year. The same is true for the technical aspects of what sounds like an evil video game on Ballou’s guitar featured on “Sadness Comes Home.” Nate Newton’s bass authoritatively pushes you where the song is headed (see the title track)- it’s not just simply there to provide a low end. And from vocalist Jacob Bannon’s nearly (well in Converge’s fashion) spoken word of the single “Aimless Arrow” to the violent delivery of “Tender Abuse” (which has nothing tender about it at all), this is a new era of Converge.
But the other hand is the emotional one. Often in life you make a decision where you have to leave something behind you once loved. It’s that old adage: if you love it then let it go. One of the final masterpieces on this record is the title track where Bannon sings, “Thank you for loving me and bringing light to my eyes/ All we love we leave behind/ You deserved so much more than I could provide.”
So let it go. It would be easy to say that Converge “have defined the genre they work in.” Of course- but that’s not the real story. The artwork shows the phase changes of the moon and that forever motion is a lot like life too; it will happen regardless, and that fact alone is what makes All We Love We Leave Behind — beautiful.