2009's Axe to Fall saw Boston-based hardcore kings Converge enlisting a small but deadly army of co-conspirators, doubling down on their already ferocious sound with newfound malevolence. All We Love We Leave Behind, the group’s eighth studio album, manages to summon that same level of intensity without the aid of a single mercenary. Fans dropping the needle for the first time may be put off by the opener "Aimless Arrow," which finds vocalist Jacob Bannon trading in his atonal, guttural wail for a semi-melodious, albeit unhinged croon, but the one-two punch that follows ("Trespasses" and "Tender Abuse") should assuage any fears of a seismic stylistic sea change. The slow burn, doom metal structuring and surprisingly melodic, almost choir-like chorus of "Coral Blue" surprise as well, but the remaining 12 tracks are pure, unadulterated Converge, standing toe to toe with the band's best work. "Glacial Pace," with its doom-laden, shoegaze intro and refrain of "If being alive is just to survive/a glacial pace comes to an end" and "Sadness Comes Home," with its fleet guitar work and complex architecture, display a musicality that sets the band apart from its many imitators. What Converge has always done masterfully is to fuse the cyclonic, mosh-pit chaos of punk with the unrelenting precision of thrash, and blistering, cuts like "Vicious Muse," "Shame in the Way," and "Sparrow's Fall" deliver that mission statement in bloody, two minute bursts that further cements the group's reputation as the Webster's definition of American hardcore.
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AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger