Converge – The Dusk in Us

Massachusetts-based metalcore band Converge formed back in 1990, almost 30 years ago, so that stat alone gives them “legendary” status. During their tenure they’ve garnered a cult-like following of fans, gained praise from critics, and have inspired hundreds of copycat bands, some very decent, others extremely shitty. Through it all Converge have remained one of the most consistent bands of the genre they helped create, in that they’ve never put out a bad record. Certainly some the albums they’ve released weren’t as great compared to their other records, but still they weren’t horrible either. Being that consistent in the music industry is extremely difficult and Converge pulled it off in three different decades – that’s quite the accomplishment. Converge continues this same tradition with their latest full length effort, The Dusk In Us, which according to some is their best release since Jane Doe (2001).

Modern music, even if it’s “underground” music, is hard to frame/produce these days. How raw or how slick does one produce a band like Converge? The listeners’ expectations nowadays are so much higher than they used to be even, say, five years ago, and five years ago was the last time Converge made a record. Everything just keeps getting more and more overproduced. So, that’s the biggest problem with The Dusk In Us – it’s raw on one hand, but it’s overproduced on the other. Kurt Ballou, Converge’s guitar player/producer, took the mix on the album and  just compressed the absolute shit out of it. The drums sound great, I think, but I can’t hear them at all now ’cause they’re buried in the mix, because everything is so compressed and distorted to hell. Ballou’s the guitar player, so he basically did a reverse Lars Ulrich – instead of turning the drums way up in the mix and the guitars way down, well, he did the opposite. Speaking of Lars Ulrich, you also can’t really hear any bass guitar either.

Most the songs on the album are well written and have a nice, tasteful structure to them. There is one exception though. The title track runs over seven minutes long and it doesn’t go anywhere, it’s just a dead end. As usual, Ballou and vocalist Jacob Bannon shine on this record as they do on all the Converge releases. They are the talent and the glue that hold and keep Converge together. Great vocals, wonderful guitar work. Still, it would be nice though to see Converge produced by someone other than Ballou for a change – someone off-the-wall, just to see what happens, because quite frankly, this is okay and all, but isn’t this getting just a little bit boring and predictable?

The new Converge record: Raw enough for old school fans to like. Overproduced enough for new fans to find. Boring/generic enough for me to never listen to again.

The Dusk In Us