The essential primer to one of heavy music’s most heralded modern acts
Nearly three decades into their career, Converge’s staying power is nothing short of a marvel. Arriving at the turn of the 90s with a quarryful of teenage angst and a predilection for harnessing sheer aural chaos, over the proceeding 28 years, frontman Jacob Bannon, guitarist and production extraordinaire Kurt Ballou, and an 18-year-strong rhythm section of bassist Nate Newton and powerhouse drummer Ben Koller have crafted some of heavy music’s most visceral cuts, each one delving into the heart of human psyche and the hidden darkness in each of us.
Converge are more than just sonic madmen, though – there’s many sides to their metal coin. From the doomy, groovy likes of 2012 LP ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’, to their more sprawling and epic output, perfectly encapsulated in their impressive ensemble project Blood Moon, the Massachusetts group are one of the world’s most effortlessly mutating collectives, and flagbearers for hardcore’s creative energy.
Below, we’ve scoured the Converge discography to put together the perfect primer for their aural artistry. Limber up and dig in.
The essential primer to one of heavy music’s most heralded modern acts (Picture: Getty)
10. A Single Tear (from 2017’s ‘The Dusk in Us’)
The explosive opener to Converge’s latest full-length is a reflection on Bannon’s newfound fatherhood, framed by twisting metallic riffs and a roared, anthemic admission of his own emotional complexity.
9. Grim Heart Black Rose (from 2006’s ‘No Heroes’)
Featuring Jonah Jenkins from Only Living Witness on clean vocals, this sprawling, nine minute epic is a tortured and ambitious encapsulation of Converge’s creative flexibility.
8.Coral Blue (from 2012’s ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’)
Converge’s doom-laden groove-metal tendencies came to the fore on ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’, as evidenced by its gloomy, semi-spoken devotion to death at sea.
7. Plagues (from 2006’s ‘No Heroes’)
A guttural stomp through the sludge of an entrancing, unrequited love, ‘Plagues’ is Converge at their most delightfully disgusting. With a guitar tone like molten lava, it’s an uneasy listen in the very best way.
6. Dark Horse (from 2009’s ‘Axe to Fall’)
The cacophonous lead single from their mainstream breakthrough (of sorts) is the perfect trial by fire for anyone looking to enter Converge’s twisted alternate world. Knotted riffs and machine-gun drumming present the band at their most energetic and enthralling, while Bannon’s vocals sound buried beneath a near-lifetime of anguish.
5. Heaven in Her Arms (from 2001’s ‘Jane Doe’)
‘Jane Doe’, widely regarded as not only Converge’s masterpiece, but a shining exemplar of all heavy music, houses many of the Massachusetts band’s most firebrand moments. ‘Heaven In Her Arms’ is no exception – buoyed by the urgency of an underground band on the cusp of creating something timeless, its fury is still palpable today.
4. The Saddest Day (from 1996’s ‘Petitioning the Empty Sky’)
Taken from Converge’s spasmodic early days, ‘The Saddest Day’ remains one of their most frenetic numbers – the gang vocal breakdown remains as brutal as they come, over two decades after it was put to tape.
3. Worms Will Feed Rats Will Feast (from 2009’s ‘Axe to Fall’)
Squalling and sludgy, ‘Worms Will Feed Rats Will Feast’ is a brooding takedown of traitors and snakes: “Making moves and smearing friends / Your karma has been racking debts.”
2. First Light / Last Light (from 2004’s ‘You Fail Me’)
Technically two tracks in one here, but don’t be a cop. ‘First Light’ acts as a plaintive opener to the polar opposite ‘Last Light’ – itself a defiant, devastating cut of foot-to-the-floor metalcore. The line “this is for the hearts still beating” acts as a mantra for many of Converge’s most die-hard devotees.
1. Jane Doe (from 2001’s ‘Jane Doe’)
Over 11-and-a-half minutes long, there’s more ambition crammed into any segment of ‘Jane Doe’’s title track than in the entire discographies of Converge’s countless coattail riders. The perfect heavy song – a tirade of emotion and catharsis that could skewer even the iciest heart.