Converge is an American hardcore band from Salem, Massachusetts. The current lineup comprises vocalist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Nate Newton, and drummer Ben Koller and all members are vegetarians. Playing a blend of hardcore punk and metal since 1990, Converge has helped to define many of the elements of the metalcore genre.
The group's musical style consists of complex guitar work and polyrhythmic drumming, as well as frequent use of unorthodox time signatures, leading some to describe the band as mathcore. This is best exemplified on their album Jane Doe. While using hardcore punk as the framework for most of their songs, they also play slower tempo songs, like "Jane Doe", "Hell to Pay", "You Fail Me", "In Her Shadow", "Grim Heart/Black Rose", "Cruel Bloom", "Ten Cents", and "Wretched World".
Guitarist Kurt Ballou described Converge's first album as "a bunch of hardcore kids playing leftover Slayer riffs". Since then Converge have branched out to explore more complex musical experimentation.
Converge was formed in the winter of 1990 by Jacob Bannon and Kurt Ballou. They started by playing covers of hardcore punk, punk rock and heavy metal songs, being self-confessed "hardcore kids with left-over Slayer riffs". The band soon graduated to playing live performances in 1991, after recording some demos on a 4-track recorder and eventually releasing full lengths including When Forever Comes Crashing and splits with bands like Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
In recent years, Converge have enjoyed relatively high levels of popularity. Their popularity began to rise with the release of their breakthrough album, Jane Doe, the album that was named the number 1 album on Sputnikmusic's "Top 100 Albums of the Decade". During the recording of Jane Doe, long time member Aaron Dalbec who was also handling his then-side project Bane, was asked to leave the group. This resulted in a four man line-up that is still intact today. Aaron Burgess of Revolver locates Jane Doe as marking a break in the group's style:
Converge fans generally fall into two camps: those who worship everything leading up to 2001's Jane Doe, and those who swear by that album and the two that followed. Indeed, Jane Doe marks the point at which Converge graduated from noisy, thrash-influenced hardcore kids to hardcore-influenced noise-thrash titans ...
Their records have gradually become more expensively and extensively produced, having moved from the independent label Equal Vision Records to the much larger independent punk label Epitaph Records while handling special releases on Bannon's record label, Deathwish Inc. with their latest albums You Fail Me and No Heroes.
Converge released Axe to Fall on October 20, 2009. It was leaked on the internet prior to its planned release; Shaun Hand of Metal Sucks has been identified as the source of the leak, which occurred on October 4, 2009.
The album received several positive reviews prior to its release, including 10/10 from Decibel Magazine, and was hailed as the band's best work since Jane Doe. Pitchfork Media writer Cosmo Lee gave the album a rating of 8.5/10 and hailed Converge as "this generation's Black Flag."
Recently, Jane Doe was inducted into the Rock Sound's Hall of Fame. It has been confirmed via studio pictures and posts on Converge's official Twitter page that they have begun recording demos for their new release. The recording culminated in a split record with Dropdead.
On January 1, 2012, Converge announced that they had completed writing for their upcoming eighth studio album, tentatively titled All We Love We Leave Behind. The following day, Kurt Ballou announced plans via his Facebook page to begin recording with the band in January 2012.
Converge's influences range from hardcore punk bands, such as Black Flag, The Accused, 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 Converge, singer Jacob Bannon and guitarist Kurt Ballou have composed stark, ambient music under the moniker Supermachiner, with Daltonic bass player Ryan Parker. 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. He also drums in Acid Tiger, United Nations and All Pigs Must Die. Ben Koller got his start in the punk and metal scene by playing drums for bands such as FORCEFEDGLASS.
Bassist Nate Newton also plays guitar in Old Man Gloom and Doomriders. Nate formerly played in Jesuit with future Dillinger Escape Plan guitarist Brian Benoit.
Aaron Dalbec, former guitarist, and Damon Bellorado, former drummer, created a side project in 1995 called "Gateway", later renamed Bane.
Jacob Bannon - vocals, lyrics, visuals,
Kurt Ballou - guitar, vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, theremin,
Nate Newton - bass guitar, vocals,
Ben Koller - drums,
Aaron Dalbec - guitar (1994-2001), now in Bane,
John DiGiorgio - drums (1999) was in The End Of The Universe and Sarah Carter and the Pretty Ponies,
Damon Bellorado - drums (1991-1999) formerly of 500 Knives,
Stephen Brodsky - bass guitar (1997-1998), now in Cave In,
Jeff Feinburg - guitar, bass guitar (1991-1997),
Erik Ralston - bass guitar (1993)