By Lane Oliver
Converge’s Axe to Fall took the heavy music world by storm in 2009 when it was released on the world. It received high praise upon its release and was compared by some to the band’s venerated Jane Doe. Axe to Fall marked a change in Converge’s overall sound that showcased the band’s desire for experimentation while still staying true to their core sound that they have developed over the years. The follow up to the highly successful Axe to Fall is All We Love We Leave Behind; an overall continuation and expansion on the ideas forged on Axe to Fall.
Much like its predecessor, All We Love We Leave Behind features the “normal” Converge brand heavy hitters, slower numbers and mild experimentation. Converge fans who were displeased with Axe to Fall and did not find it heavy enough will be pleased to find that All We Love We Leave Behind is ten times heavier in comparison. The record begins with “Aimless Arrow”, a slap in the face to prepare you for the coming barrage of fists. The track features a spiraling collection of melodies accompanied by Jacob Bannon’s melodic yells. “Aimless Arrow” eventually ends with a short set of crushing chords to lead you into the tunnel of hardcore hellfire that waits. “Trespasses” marks the beginning of the coming onslaught with high octane, tremolo picked riffs that eviscerate you and leave you in a bloodied heap. The aid of Kurt Ballou’s production makes the instrumentation just so much thicker and heavier, which is a necessity in Converge records. “Tender Abuse” continues the auditory massacre with a cavalcade of dangerously heavy, jarring riffs that gives way to an abusive breakdown that could level entire cities. “Sadness Comes Home” is the next track that begins with this catchy southern metal swagger that I adore, but soon morphs into a procession of rapidly paced melodic hammer on licks that slither up and down the strings. After these initial four tracks, Converge’s dangerous hardcore dirges are spread out between a few slower numbers. One such slower number is the marching “Coral Blue”. The track features slow building, chugging verses with bright harmonic strums attached and a triumphant sounding chorus with full band shouts of passion. It’s basically Converge’s version of a radio friendly metal song. In between the two main slower jams (“Coral Blue” and “Glacial Place”) are these short pulverizing bastards, as I stated earlier. It’s hard not to find yourself head banging to angular, overpowering beasts like “Sparrow’s Fall” and “Shame in the Way”. When Converge want to be heavy on this record, they become so heavy to the point that it is just ridiculous. Converge even remain heavy to the very end, which is a stark contrast to the ending of Axe to Fall. All We Love We Leave Behind ends (on the regular edition that is) with the one-two punch of the title track and “Predatory Glow”. “All We Love We Leave Behind” really should have ended the album in my opinion. The song is an emotionally charged, melodic track whose spiraling licks and melancholic tremolo picked verses really add extra passion to the song’s overall demeanor. “Predatory Glow” is simply a crushing sludge track that trudges along throughout its duration with its metaphorical fists swinging. When this record finally comes to a close, you will come to the realization that All We Love We Leave Behind blows Axe to Fall out of the water.
On the negative side I found a few tracks to be rather repetitive and under developed. “Coral Blue” relies way too much on its main riff and the band barely ventures outside of the song’s main structure. Plus, the overabundance of quiet, spoken vocals on the track tend to get annoying. I also thought “Predatory Glow” was a pretty forgettable track. It’s heavy as hell but it just pales in comparison to the album’s title track and most tracks on the record at that.
Overall I feel All We Love We Leave Behind is a pretty solid album. It makes its predecessor look like a small, pathetic insect in comparison. It’s heavier and much more focused than Axe to Fall was. It doesn’t quite stack up to Jane Doe or You Fail Me but it is great for what it is. Check it out and tell me what you think.
Release Date: October 9th, 2012
Favorite Tracks “Trespasses”, “Sadness Comes Home”, “Shame in the Way”, “Tender Abuse”, “All We Love We Leave Behind” and “Sparrow’s Fall”.
For fans of: Botch, Rorschach, Gaza, Cursed, Trap Them and Oathbreaker.