Converge could be forgiven for wanting to hit the ground running on this ninth full-length; the five-year lay-off since 2012’s ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ represents the longest gap between records in their near-three decade career. That might be why the opening salvo of tracks on ‘The Dusk in Us’ - particularly the opening one-two of ‘A Single Tear’ and ‘Eye of the Quarrel’ - burn with a particularly blistering pace, even by the Bostonians’ usual standards. It’s not until the midpoint that they begin to click back into classic Converge gear; they’ve always been one of those bands, not unlike Deftones, that thrive upon a delicate balance of fearsome energy and complex compositions, and the title track, a seven-minute epic that unfolds slowly, nails that signature push-and-pull between the brutal and the beautiful.
Similarly, frontman Jacob Bannon is as caustic as ever in his delivery, but closer inspection of his lyricism reveals that his guard as just about as low as it’s ever been, as he turns his attention to the way in which fatherhood has changed him as well as flipping his gaze outward to decry the darkness of the western world in 2017 on the standout ‘Under Duress’. ‘The Dusk in Us’ was whittled down to thirteen tracks from eighteen and there remains a little bit of extraneous material, particularly towards the album’s close, and that uneven pacing suggests a touch of rust after so long away - ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ felt more tightly controlled. Regardless, there’s a vitality to ‘The Dusk in Us’ that reminds us that Converge are exactly the sort of band we can hardly afford to do without in a world this uncertain.