That was one of my main thoughts all weekend while listening to Converge's 8th studio album All We Love We Leave Behind. 2+ decades in the game and yet the Massachusetts quartet has shown zero signs of ever slowing down. And with All We Love We Leave Behind, they've raised the bar again. This may be the best heavy album you listen to in 2012 (and that's saying a lot - considering the stellar releases from bands like Every Time I Die, Birds in Row, The Chariot, and more this year). Songs like "Trespasses" and "Sadness Comes Home" (which features some fantastic riffing from Kurt Ballou) are some of the heaviest tracks in Converge's discography, while "A Glacial Pace" may be the album's highlight - its sludging pace slowing collapsing into a chaotic breakdown. Jake Bannon is as insane as ever with his voice, mixing in high shouts with guttural screams throughout. Just wait for "Coral Blue," which sounds like a Converge/Baroness/Mastodon hybrid baby, as Bannon's vocals span from spoken word to unrestrained yells. And the title track! Oh man, the title track is truly classic Converge craziness. Ballou's unleashes some ungodly riffs behind Ben Koller's fantastic drumming as Bannon just lays it all on the line (as he's prone to do). I won't give too much away (wait for my official review for that), but I will tell you that Converge has released an album that's truly great, continuing their dominance as the best band in the genre.
I saw Converge play at FYF Fest this weekend in LA, and for a group of guys that have been doing this for 22 years, they still go on the stage like they're a new band with something to prove. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen in my life, as Converge peppered in some new songs ("Aimless Arrow" and "Empty On The Inside") with absolute classics like "Jane Doe" and "Last Light." Bannon is a mad man on the stage, as at times I was just focusing on him spill his guts on stage instead of the music. What I'm saying is - you don't want to miss Converge on their upcoming fall tour (overseas and here in the States). You'll leave the pit sore, deaf, and happier than ever.
Over the last day and a half, I've been listening to a Wonder Years album sampler, which features 3 songs off their upcoming new album, Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing, and I must say they give off the sense that this album will be sonically different than The Upsides. A lot more punk than pop, it's very aggressive. 2 of the 3 songs are new ones (one of the songs is the song we premiered at AP.net, the great "Local Man Ruins Everything"), and they are definitely in your face. Soupy's vocals sound better too, and his lyrics are still instantly relatable as they carry over some of the themes from the previous record and the fallout from that. "Coffee Eyes" is my favorite of the bunch. The guitar work is crunchy and the hook is immediately catchy. "Don't Let Me Cave In" is a song that bleeds passion, and Soupy's vocals are full of emotion. Overall, from these 3 songs, I am liking what I hear and it leads me to believe that Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing will be one of the best albums of the summer and perhaps The Wonder Years' best record yet.
When I wrote my review for Sing It Loud's debut in late 2008, I wrote that they had a lot of potential. And with their second Epitaph release, they realize that potential. Everything Collide features better songwriting than their first album by a longshot, this is a great pop record, more solid and consistent than most of its contemporaries. It's just a good, fun pop record. In fact, it may be exactly the record you are looking for this summer.