To ensure clarity, I usually define hardcore music by the style of headbanging that would best accompany it. To some, a headbang is a headbang, but I guess I categorize different methods of “rocking the fuck out” to the tune of how European social elites in the 18th and 19th centuries categorized ballroom dances. Just as a prim matriarch from that era might have been aghast at Chopin releasing a tango concerto (or something ridiculous like that), I’m utterly shocked by the type of neck spasms that this Converge tracks elicits from me.
The go-to headbang for Converge has always been the “punk bob,” characterized by its fast, aimless movement that almost resembles trying to flick a fly from your forehead without using your hands (go ahead, try it). But upon hearing the titanic, lumbering riff that opens “Sadness Comes Home,” that type of movement becomes almost inconceivable. Instead, I highly recommend the full-body Viking thrash, a slower (but no less demanding) move that involves rocking your head (and preferably your venerable mane) from its highest possible point down to below your waist, as if you were hammering a knee-high nail into the ground with your forehead.
After a mere 35 seconds of this Norseman-esque fun, it’s back to the punk bob when Converge guitarist Kurt Ballou gets bored with making mountains out of riffs and reverts back to his “playing Slayer riffs faster and better than Slayer played them” strategy, which I have to admit is quite fun in its own right.
Sludge metal and thrashy mathcore may not seem like the most compatible pair, but Converge has been blurring the line between metal and hardcore punk for the past two decades. By this point it’s child’s play. On their new album All We Love We Leave Behind, The Massachusetts four-piece burn through tempo and style changes like NYU students burn through cigarettes.
Come see these masters of metalcore play the Highline Ballroom with sludge-pop titans Torche on Nov. 11. No matter how your head bangs it, the show’s sure to be a raucously good time.