Converge – Beautiful Ruin
I gotta say that I went into 2018 not expecting to get another release from the band who topped my year-end list last year, but it turns out, miracles do happen. Yes, the great, the legendary Converge have unleashed a vicious new EP titled Beautiful Ruin and it is phenomenal. Recorded during the The Dusk In Us (swoon) sessions, the fur-track EP is a punishing, mesmerizing outing that just oozes with ooey-gooey Convergeness. It’s no bullshit when I say that Converge are one of my all-time favorite bands and I always look forward to new material by them. I was also super stoked to be surprised by the album without much notice whatsoever.
The first track on the 7″, “Permanent Blue” boasts some nice, aggressive melody that was quite apparent on TDIU. The driving guitars and unchained vocal patterns make this a fantastic opener. Following up is “Churches And Jails” which throws a bit more aggression and vicious tendencies into the works, making this one pissed off, hateful track that could have felt at home on All We Love We Leave Behind. “Melancholia” has some elements in line with “Permanent Blue” but with the vocal styling more indicitive of “Churches And Jails.” Melody and crunchy guitars play off of one another in this minute-and-a-half banger. The title track “Beautiful Ruin” erupts immediately out of the back-end of “Melancholia” and ups the ante tenfold. This is old Converge if I’ve ever heard it. A definite throwback to faster, more spiteful, Jane Doe-era Converge, this is the stand out track for me personally. The guitars are fast and primitive, the drumming is executed with perfection and Jacob’s voice is as raw as I’ve ever heard.
In closing, I love that I got some new Converge this year, but what I love even more is that these tracks fall on the shorter side and some of them take me back to when I fell in love with Converge way back when.
Release Date: June 29, 2018
Label: Epitaph Records
Favorite Track: “Beautiful Ruin”
For Fans Of: It’s fucking Converge
Bloodhound – Black Masses
Bloodhound are a crusty, crunchy hardcore band who call San Antonio, Texas home. This band falls under the same umbrella that you may find All Pigs Must Die, Trap Them and Moral Void, which is phenomenal company if you ask me. The band has been around for a few years and have a few releases under their belt, their latest being the digital EP Black Masses which was just released. If there is something that I love, it’s grind and hardcore bands who throw some crusty death metal vibes into the mix. It’s a visceral, misery-inducing vibe and it rules.
“Unanswered” kicks off the album with a sample demanding “these evil people have got to be stopped!” before erupting into HM-2-laced ripping guitars. The riffing is top-notch and punishing right from the get-go. The drumming is pummeling and on point while the vocals invoke a 90’s LG Petrov vibe, which I can 100% get behind. “Invocation” drudges into existence with a slow, steady pace before finally bursting into a riff-explosion that maintains stability among the chaos. “A.O.B.” again channels 90’s death metal into a modern hardcore-meets-crossover style that I can’t help but love. The riffing this time around is remarkable in it’s execution and style (bonus points to making me headbang into my computer screen). “Inceptum Finis” is a new dog (pun?) all together. Ominous and atmospheric, this track shows a different elements no yet seen on this release and when it comes to fruition with less than a minute left, we get some Reign In Blood-era Slayer chugging. This is a gorgeous, haunting instrumental beast that I could (and did) listen to on repeat.
In closing, Bloodhound are definitely a band to watch if you aren’t. They’re crusty and beastly and they lay it all out there for the listener to grab ahold of. Smash.
Release Date: July 21, 2018
Favorite Track: “A.O.B.”
For Fans Of: All Pigs Must Die, Entombed, Trap Them