Converge is a 4-piece American band, formed in February of 1990 in Salem, Massachusetts, United States. Playing a blend of extreme metal and hardcore punk, this pioneer outfit helped define a lot of the rudiments of the fast-burgeoning metalcore and mathcore genres.
They first started by playing covers of hardcore, punk and heavy metal songs, being self-confessed ”hardcore kids with leftover Slayer riffs”. The band soon graduated to playing live performances in 1991 after recording some demos on a 4-track recorder.
In their latter years, Converge have enjoyed relatively high levels of popularity despite the esoteric feel of their music and the substantial lack of media attention they receive. The extreme nature of their music, particularly the atonal vocals and often complicated finger-work of the guitar riffs make it difficult for some to appreciate this brand of metal. Later records have gradually become more extensively produced largely due to the maturation of their sound.
Converge’s influences range from hardcore punk bands, such as Black Flag, Negative Approach, The Accüsed, and Born Against; metal bands like Black Sabbath, Godflesh, Slayer, and Entombed; and proto-mathcore bands Starkweather and Rorschach. Jacob Bannon has also discussed an appreciation for and inspiration from grindcore on Earache Records, post-hardcore on Dischord Records; thrash metal, such as Suicidal Tendencies, Vio-Lence, and Death Angel, and post-punk groups, such as Depeche Mode and The Cure.
Outside of Converge, singer Jacob Bannon and guitarist Kurt Ballou compose stark, ambient music under the moniker Supermachiner, with Daltonic bass player Ryan Parker, co-founder of the record label Deathwish Inc.. Ballou has participated in an array of other lesser-known bands, such as Blue/Green Heart with drummer Ben Koller. Bannon also records under his own name, releasing solo records. In late 2005, Ben Koller briefly drummed for Cave In. Bassist Nate Newton also plays guitar in Old Man Gloom and Doomriders. Aaron Dalbec, former guitarist, and Damon Bellorado, former drummer, created a side project in 1995 called “Gateway”, later renamed Bane.
Band photo credit: David Robinson