Converge in France in 2007. From left to right: Jacob Bannon, Nate Newton, and Kurt Ballou.
|Origin||Salem, Massachusetts, United States|
Converge is an American mathcore band from Salem, Massachusetts. Formed in 1990, the group comprises vocalist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Nate Newton and drummer Ben Koller. Their music blends hardcore punk and heavy metal. According to Allmusic, Converge are "regarded as one of the most original and innovative bands to emerge from the punk underground".
Converge was formed in the winter of 1990 by Jacob Bannon and Kurt Ballou. They started by playing covers of hardcore punk, punk rock and heavy metal songs. The band soon graduated to playing live performances in 1991, after recording some demos on a 4-track recorder and eventually releasing full lengths including When Forever Comes Crashing and splits with bands like Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
In recent years, Converge have enjoyed relatively high levels of popularity. Their popularity began to rise with the release of their breakthrough album, Jane Doe, the album that was named the number 1 album on Sputnikmusic's "Top 100 Albums of the Decade". During the recording of Jane Doe, longtime member Aaron Dalbec, who was also handling his then-side project Bane, was asked to leave the group. This resulted in a four man line-up that is still intact today. Aaron Burgess of Revolver locates Jane Doe as marking a break in the group's style:
|“||Converge fans generally fall into two camps: those who worship everything leading up to 2001's Jane Doe, and those who swear by that album and the two that followed. Indeed, Jane Doe marks the point at which Converge graduated from noisy, thrash-influenced hardcore kids to hardcore-influenced noise-thrash titans ...||”|
Their records have gradually become more expensively and extensively produced, having moved from the independent label Equal Vision Records to the much larger independent punk label Epitaph Records while handling special releases on Bannon's record label, Deathwish Inc.
Converge released Axe to Fall on October 20, 2009. The album was very well-received, with Decibel Magazine hailing it as the band's best work since Jane Doe and scoring it 10/10. Pitchfork gave the album a rating of 8.5/10 and hailed Converge as "this generation's Black Flag." Jane Doe was inducted into the Rock Sound's Hall of Fame.
On January 1, 2012, Converge announced that they had completed writing for their eighth studio album, titled All We Love We Leave Behind. The following day, Kurt Ballou announced plans via his Facebook page to begin recording with the band in January 2012. The album was released on October 19, 2012 to widespread praise, currently holding an aggregate score of 88 on Metacritic, indicating "universal acclaim."
The group's musical style consists of complex guitar work and polyrhythmic drumming, as well as frequent use of unorthodox time signatures, leading some to describe the band as mathcore. This is best exemplified on their album Jane Doe. However the band is against the term, Jacob Bannon of Converge stated: "I really don't know what mathcore is. Converge is an aggressive band. We have elements of hardcore, punk, and metal for sure. But I think trying to define our efforts and other bands with a generic subgenre name is counter productive. We all have something unique to offer and should be celebrated for those qualities rather than having them generalized for easy consumption." While using hardcore punk as the framework for most of their songs, they also play slower tempo songs, like "Jane Doe", "Hell to Pay", "You Fail Me", "In Her Shadow", "Grim Heart/Black Rose", "Cruel Bloom", "Ten Cents", and "Wretched World". Guitarist Kurt Ballou described Converge's first album as "a bunch of hardcore kids playing leftover Slayer riffs." Since then Converge have branched out to explore more complex musical experimentation.
Converge's influences range from hardcore punk bands, such as Black Flag, The Accüsed, and Born Against; metal bands like Black Sabbath, Godflesh, Slayer, and Entombed; and bands like Starkweather and Rorschach. Jacob Bannon has also discussed an appreciation for and inspiration from grindcore on Earache Records; post-hardcore on Dischord Records; thrash metal, such as Suicidal Tendencies, Vio-lence, and Death Angel; and post-punk groups, such as Depeche Mode and The Cure.
Outside Converge, singer Jacob Bannon and guitarist Kurt Ballou have composed stark, ambient music under the moniker Supermachiner, with Daltonic bass player Ryan Parker. Ballou has participated in an array of other lesser-known bands, such as Blue/Green Heart with drummer Ben Koller. Bannon also records under his own name, releasing solo records.
In late 2005, Ben Koller briefly drummed for Cave In. He also drums in Mutoid Man, Acid Tiger, United Nations and All Pigs Must Die. Ben Koller got his start in the punk and metal scene by playing drums for bands such as Forcefedglass.
Aaron Dalbec, former guitarist, and Damon Bellorado, former drummer, created a side project in 1995 called "Gateway", later renamed Bane.
- Halo in a Haystack (1994)
- Petitioning the Empty Sky (1996)
- When Forever Comes Crashing (1998)
- Jane Doe (2001)
- You Fail Me (2004)
- No Heroes (2006)
- Axe to Fall (2009)
- All We Love We Leave Behind (2012)
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- Rod, Smith (February 2012). "The Top 25 Most Anticipated Albums of Two Thousand Twelve". Decibel (Philadelphia: Red Flag Media Inc.) (88): 40. ISSN 1557-2137.
- "Converge All We Love We Leave Behind October 9". Lambgoat. 2012-08-20. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
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- "Sum of the Score". The Daily Orange. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
Mathcore, a genre of music that requires heavy concentration, puts a new spin on hardcore music
- Begrand, Adrien. "Converge: No Heroes < PopMatters". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2012-10-08.
- J. Bennett. "Who's That Girl? The Making of Converge's Jane Doe". Decibel Magazine. Archived from the original on 2010-09-21.
- Huval, Rebecca (October 28, 2009). "Axe to Grind: Four Tense Questions with Converge". New York Press. Press Play (blog). Archived from the original on June 6, 2011.
- Ramirez, Carlos (2008-02-19). "Converge: 'The Best Way To Learn Is Just Start Doing It'". UltimateGuitar.com. Retrieved 2008-05-27.
I learned to play guitar by listening to Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Metallica
- The groups listed in this sentence are taken from an interview with Jacob Bannon from Smother Magazine. . Access date: June 14, 2008.
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