One of the most original and innovative bands to emerge from the punk underground, Converge were formed in the winter of 1990-1991, and after several singles, compilation appearances, and the requisite growing pains, they released their first full-length effort, Halo in a Haystack, in 1994. The Boston-based metalcore and mathcore pioneers were initially comprised of vocalist/visual artist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Jeff Feinburg, and drummer Damon Bellorado, with second guitarist Aaron Dalbec joining in 1994 (he later left in 2001 without being replaced). Over the years, the band also found time to lend out members to various side projects, including Kingdom of the Sun, Old Man Gloom, and Kid Kilowatt (the short-lived band that also included members of Cave In).
Hydra Head issued Caring and Killing in 1996, which gathered tracks released during the band's infancy, followed a year later by Petitioning the Empty Sky, which was released by the independent label Equal Vision. Cave In's Stephen Brodsky replaced bassist Feinburg in 1997 as well, and by the release of 1998's When Forever Comes Crashing, Converge had proved themselves a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore-metal scene. Brodsky left the band that same year and was replaced by bassist Nate Newton; Bellorado likewise exited in 1999 and, soon enough, the band had welcomed drummer Ben Koller into the fray. A split with Japan's Hellchild appeared in 2001 through Death Wish, Inc. (which Bannon co-owned) before Converge's ever-growing reputation among fans and critics was cemented even further with the release of the band's fourth official full-length, the highly acclaimed metal masterpiece Jane Doe.
Converge were by now regarded as one of the most original and innovative bands to emerge from the punk underground. Trudging along, the musicians during that time played over 600 shows with varying success -- their hard work made it possible for them to retain their cult status within the punk underground without the kind of commercial success that has vaulted other punk bands into the middle of alternative rock radio and press. Rare and out of print tracks were next collected for 2003's Unloved and Weeded Out compilation before Converge returned the following year with another studio album, You Fail Me, which marked the band's first for Epitaph. Always reliable and consistently brutal, Bannon, Ballou, Koller, and Newton were back after more rounds of touring by October 2006 with No Heroes, followed three years later by Axe to Fall. The latter album found Converge working collaboratively with members of Cave In, Neurosis, and the Red Chord. In 2012, the band released its eighth studio album, All We Love We Leave Behind. In 2016 the band issued You Fail Me Redux, a reissue of their fifth studio album remixed by Ballou, remastered by Alan Douches, and repackaged by Bannon. A live performance of the entire Jane Doe album was captured at the Dutch Roadburn Festival and released in 2017 as Jane Live. Later that year, Converge released "Under Duress," the first single from their sixth full-length outing, The Dusk Is Us, which arrived in November. ~ Stacia Proefrock
- Boston, MA