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- Music Box, Chorley »
- Converge »
Let’s make no bones about it: Converge are brutal. Yeah, there are bands that play faster or heavier, but there aren’t many that can match the sheer orchestrated aural assault that the Boston mob can conjure up, seemingly at will. Theirs is the violence of the heavyweight boxer, all gut-punch combos and disconcerting jabs, designed to throw you off your feet and ensure you think twice about getting up.
The Music Box in Manchester is an underground sweatbox with low-slung rafters on the ceiling – perfect, then, for vocalist Jacob Bannon to grab onto during ‘No Heroes’ and swing from like some viciously demented hell-thing. He is a clenched fist of a man, all sinew and inked skin, but he’s the locus of Converge’s power without a doubt. He windmills around the stage, leaning into the crowd (a treacherous sea of elbows and feet) as they scream back his lyrics while Ben Koller, Kurt Ballou and Nate Newton raise deep hell behind him.
‘Locust Reign’ is a concerted blast of anger, focussed to almost laser intensity. The craft of Converge’s songs is almost breathtaking to behold in the live setting, because as precise as they are on record, watching ‘Heartache’ and ‘Vengeance’ rendered before our eyes is breathtaking. The low end growls like a lion’s stomach while Bannon’s vocals veer between lacerating shrieks and something darker, a full-bodied scream that simply cannot be faked. For all their tattoos and the faintly ridiculous way that a large cross-section of their fans seem to dress (who likes short shorts?), Converge mean it with almost genocidal ferocity.
Leaving the gig is like the aftermath of rough sex. No one’s quite sure what just happened, and analysing it doesn’t quite convey the blind fury of the moment, but at the time it was purely and inherently right. The trouble is that Converge spawned all manner of lame imitators after being launched into the hardcore scene all those years ago, but watching them utterly slay all comers is a timely reminder that for every dozen jock hardcore dickheads there’s a band like Converge, who could save us all.
_Photograph by Andy Parker
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