Kurt Ballou

Album Review: Converge- The Dusk In Us

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Five years have come and gone since Converge‘s last epic album All We Love We Leave Behind. In those five years, there seems to be no signs of any member of Converge losing their “edge” or desire to push themselves creatively. On their new album The Dusk In Us, Converge takes a bunch of stylistic chances and they all pay off. For a band that has constantly set the bar for this style of music, it definitely doesn’t come as a shock that they are willing to experiment musically, vocally and lyrically to make the best album they can.

The moment the album begins with “A Single Tear” it shows that there are no signs of Converge slowing down. The riff alone will cause you to stir and move. There are songs on the album that are reminiscent of classic style Converge like “Eye Of The Quarrel,” “Under Duress,” “Broken By Light,” and “Cannibals.” Then there are some truly epic songs like “I Can Tell You About Pain,” the title track “The Dusk In Us.” The more experimental songs like “Murk and Marrow,” and especially “Thousands Of Miles Between Us,”  and closing song “Reptilian,” show that Converge still has grown over the years but also they have a maturity about them that is often overlooked.

Converge has always done things their way and it’s because of that, that they are highly regarded as highly influential and originators of this style of heavy music. Vocalist/lyricist Jacob Bannon has really spread his wings on this album. Lyrically this is some of his best work and vocally he shows he’s got more that just a guttural scream. Guitarist Kurt Ballou continues to impress with his unique style and impactful riffage. Drummer Ben Koller is an absolute beast and he is fully unleashed on this album. Finally bassist Nate Newton has really come into his own and is showcased more on this album. By Nate adding vocals to the songs, it makes them stand out and his own playing has never sounded better.

The Dusk In Us is one of the best pieces of work Converge has put out. It’s pretty crazy to think that as these guys get older they only get better. Something else about this album that is quite interesting is that Converge still has songs left over that didn’t make the album. One of those songs “Eve” is probably one of the best songs the band has ever written. Do yourself a favor and delve into The Dusk In Us and explore a side of you that you didn’t think existed. You will be quite surprised with how much you enjoy this.

Overall Rating: A

 

Converge- The Dusk In Us:

 

Converge- Eve:

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Album Rank: Converge

Converge_Logo.jpg Over the years, Converge has established themselves as an influential and underrated band. Musically, they are powerful and enigmatic. Vocally and lyrically they are passionate and ferocious. The entire package of the band is approached with a “take no prisoners” type of attitude and it shows in every album they’ve released. Converge are also one of the few bands that seem to get better and better as time goes on just like a fine wine. Recently, Converge released two new songs to wet the appetite of their fans and those two songs are full of what you’d want from Converge. So, with all that in mind here is a ranking of their albums from not their best to the best.

 

Halo In A Haystack:

 

Petitioning The Empty Sky:

 

When Forever Comes Crashing:

 

No Heroes:

 

You Fail Me:

 

All We Love We Leave Behind:

 

Axe To Fall:

 

Jane Doe:

New Release: Converge- I Can Tell You About Pain 7″

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Today, Converge premiered two new tracks online from their upcoming 7″ single,“I Can Tell You About Pain” The two songs released “I Can Tell You About Pain” and “Eve” are pretty classic sounding Converge. “Eve” is one of the most epic songs the band has put out. It almost could have been on Axe To Fall, with the vibe that it puts out.  You can also pre-order the 7″ edition of the aforementioned EP via deathwishinc.com.  There are still plans for Converge to release a new album later this year. In the meantime, check out the two new songs below!

 

Converge- I Can Tell You About Pain:

 

Converge- Eve:

Album Review: Darkest Hour- Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora

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I will be the first to admit that after the past two albums Darkest Hour released, (The Human Romance and their Self Titled album) I had lost interest. The line up changes and musical shift that was happening really just wasn’t cutting it for me. But now on their ninth studio album, Darkest Hour has found their way back to what made them great. I’ve always regarded the band as a very underrated treasure. Musically they combine all the elements I enjoy from punk, thrash and Swedish melodic death metal. On this new album Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora, Darkest Hour have cemented themselves as a force to be reckoned within the heavy music circles.

The moment the first song “Knife In The Safe Room” begins, you know that you are in for a treat. Every single song on this album is something special. In particular ” Timeless Numbers,” “None Of This Is The Truth,” “The Flesh and the Flowers of Death,” “Those Who Survived,” “Enter Oblivion,” “In The Name of Us All,” and closer “Beneath It Sleeps.” Guitarists Mike Schleibaum and Michael “Lonestar” Carrigan have never sounded better together. Along with the input and contributions of former member Kris Norris, the guitar work on this album is what fans have been wanting for years. Drummer Travis Orbin and bassist Aaron Deal have finally hit their stride as a rhythm section. As much as I miss Ryan and Paul in the band, if this is the direction Travis and Aaron are going to go, I’m more than satisfied. Vocalist John Henry has really stepped up his game lyrically and vocally. Personally I think this is the best he has sounded since Undoing Ruin.

The choice to work with producer Kurt Ballou was a great choice. Kurt was really able to dial in on the tones needed to make this a special album. In fact this album is one of the best I’ve heard Kurt produce and record outside of Converge, since High On Fire’s De Vermis Mysteriis. Armed with this album and a renewed sense of purpose, Darkest Hour are roaring back with a no holds barred approach. Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora is an album that will be looked back up in the bands catalog as a standout. The band should be really proud of what they have created. I as a fan, am really stoked on this album. This is everything that Darkest Hour should be.

Overall Rating: A

 

The Making of the Album:

 

Anticipated Albums: Darkest Hour- Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora

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Often time as bands go through lineup changes, it takes a while for the band to get back in the swing of things. The new members have a different way of playing and bring a different energy that takes the music on a detour. Then over time as they grow more comfortable, the band comes back to where they should be. Darkest Hour is one of these bands. On their upcoming 9th album, the gents in Darkest Hour have returned to their roots and are about to deliver their most ferocious album in years. You can tell by listening to the first few songs released that these guys mean business. By working with producer Kurt Ballou of Converge and bringing in former guitarist Kris Norris, Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora takes you back to the days of The Mark Of The Judas, Hidden Hands Of The Sadist Nation era. Darkest Hour are unleashing the heavy!

 

Darkest Hour- Knife In The Saferoom:

 

Darkest Hour- Timeless Numbers:

 

 

 

 

Against The Grain: Cult Leader

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A few months ago when The Dillinger Escape Plan came through town on their recent tour, they brought with them Cult Leader as an opener. I had really been looking forward to seeing them. After listening to their latest album Lightless Walk, I knew I was going to be in for a treat. Needless to say, their performance left me in awe, and inspired. Cult Leader is the type of band that will steal the show, and leave the audience in a state of astonishment.

Formed in 2013, following the break up of their former band Gaza, Anthony Lucero, Casey Hansen, and Mike Mason decided to continue to make music together. They then recruited Sam Richards to join them. After spending time working on new music and releasing two EP’s, Nothing For Us Here and Useless Animal, it was time for the band to begin work on their first full length. Lightless Walk was produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou. The album is a righteous slab of metal, hardcore and punk with bits of ambiance properly placed to give the songs the proper dynamics they need to be powerful. With songs like “Great I Am,” The Sorrower,” “A Good Life,” “How Deep It Runs,” and “Lifeless Walk,” it’s no wonder that Cult Leader has become one of the best bands in the genre of heavy music. Their live performances are intense, aggressive and hypnotic. I highly recommend seeing Cult Leader when they come though your town.

Take a moment and expand upon your musical palate… Listen to Cult Leader!!!

Cult Leader- Lightless Walk:

Cult Leader- Live (10/30/16 @ The Regent Theater with The Dillinger Escape Plan):

 

Band Of The Week: Sweet Cobra

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It’s truly great to have bands coming out that really get what it means to write pure honest songs, and make music that has real meaning and depth. Enter Chicago’s Sweet Cobra. The band was founded in 2003, and came charging out the gates with the fury and passionate qualities of their hardcore/noise-rock/metal roots mixed with a more straightforward rock delivery. Over the course of their career, Sweet Cobra has played with bands such as Pelican, Russian Circles, Coliseum, Black Cobra, Doomriders, The Life And Times, Young Widows and many more. Sweet Cobra toured relentlessly throughout the beginning of their career and released a myriad  of recorded material, including three LPs, 2004’s Praise through Seventh Rule Recordings, 2007’s Forever through Hawthorne Street Records, and 2010’s Mercy on Blackmarket Activities, not to mention splits with Doomriders, Young Widows among others. Sadly, tragedy struck in 2009 when second guitarist Mat Arluck lost his ongoing fight with cancer. Sweet Cobra went on as a three piece and pushed forward, playing shows, constructing new material, and exploring new sounds. Now in 2014 the band is gearing up to release Earth through Magic Bullet RecordsThe band’s triumphant new LP was recorded and produced by Matt Talbot of Hum and Kurt Ballou of Converge, and also features guest musical contributions from each artist. This album is sure to be a sonic blast of genuine awesomeness.

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/sweetcobra

 

By: Brian Lacy