‘Beautiful Ruin’ sees Converge doing what they normally do, but it’s clear why these four new songs were B-sides.
When the day finally comes that Converge call it quits, it will be a sad day not just for hardcore and metalcore, but for heavy music in general. As they are bonafide legends, a truly influential band for so many acts that came afterwards. But I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if the band was fully done within a year or two – for Converge to go out before on a high, more or less. However, until that time, like most other people, I have so much love for this band’s work. And yet, on their newest EP, ‘Beautiful Ruin‘, I think vI’ve finally started to out-grow and become tired with what Converge do as a unit.
The seven or so minutes of ‘Beautiful Ruin‘ simply sound like the Converge you’d expect from this decade and the last of their career. All up, it’s all just so… safe. Yet the four-piece’s refined brand of sharp staccato and extremely chaotic hardcore, while not bad here, is just now executed better by younger or newer bands that are guiding this music scene forward at lighting speed. (See: Frontierer, The Armed, Vein, Sectioned, just to name a few great groups).
Tracked during the writing sessions for their last album, it’s quite clear why these four “new” songs here didn’t make the cut for 2017’s solid ‘The Dusk In Us‘. Overall, ‘Permanent Blue‘, the tile track and ‘Churches and Jails‘ just don’t have that “it” factor that the likes of ‘I Can Tell You About Pain‘, ‘Under Duress‘, and ‘A Single Tear‘ so prominently display. Hell, these four songs are not even close to a track like ‘Eve‘ either. By far the only real song present that’s worth a damn here is the skin-blistering and gnarly ‘Melancholia‘.
While it’s very cool to see a band pushing out all of their material from an album’s writing sessions, B-sides or otherwise, this EP will be more than forgotten within six months time. Just like this article.
I feel that many will instantly jump to support ‘Beautiful Ruin‘, not because of it’s actual music, but because of the huge good will the band’s built up over their stellar 28-year career with brilliant records like ‘Jane Doe‘, ‘You Fail Me‘, and ‘Axe To Fall‘. (Depending on the day or mood, you can include ‘All We Love We leave Behind‘ in that list too). Converge are band that rarely receives negative reviews or harsh criticism either, and I think that that aforementioned good will is all apart of that too.
I also find myself enjoying what the band members do in other projects lately rather than actual Converge related work. I’m more interested in seeing drummer Ben Koller work with All Pigs Must Die and Mutoid Man (as well as him appearing on Two Minutes To Late Night) or even his wicked guest drumming in The Armed recently as well. I’m also more keen on hearing guitarist Kurt Ballou’s engineering and production work on albums of late too, like The Armed’s insane ‘Only Love‘ or Zeal & Ardor’s masterful second album, ‘Stranger Fruit‘ – both from 2018 alone.
Even so, there is one silver-lining for this EP. Easily the best thing to come out of this release was the music video for it’s third song, ‘Melancholia‘. It sees the band continuing the thriller-movie-esque vibes, striking imagery and bleak narrative that the ‘I Can Tell You About Pain‘ film clip started last year. Directed superbly well by Tony Wolski, and starring Jade Lauren along with The Armed’s Daniel Greene and Dan Stolarski (fucking hell, these dudes are everywhere), it acts as a grim prequel to it’s sister-video.
Give it a watch below, it’s good shit!