Converge (band)

Converge (band)

Converge at 2007's Eurockéennes (seen from left to right: Jacob Bannon, Nate Newton, and Kurt Ballou).
Background information
Origin Salem, Massachusetts, United States
Genres Mathcore
Hardcore punk
Years active 1990–present
Labels Epitaph, Deathwish Inc., Hydra Head, Relapse, Equal Vision
Associated acts Jesuit, Cave In, Mother Love Bone, Doomriders, Texas Hippie Coalition, Bane, United Nations, The Huguenots, Acid Tiger, All Pigs Must Die
Jacob Bannon
Kurt Ballou
Nate Newton
Ben Koller
Past members
Aaron Dalbec
Jon DiGiorgio
Damon Bellorado
Stephen Brodsky
Jeff Feinburg
Erik Ralston

Converge is an American band from Salem, Massachusetts. Playing a blend of hardcore punk[1][2] and metal since 1990,[3][4][5] Converge has helped to define many of the elements of the metalcore genre.[6][7][8]



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.[9][10][11][12][13] 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 at Neumo's in Seattle, Washington, 2008.

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 #1 album on Sputnikmusic's "Top 100 Albums of the Decade". During the recording of Jane Doe, long time member Harley Flanagan 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 ...[14]
Converge at 2007's Eurockéennes.

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.[15]

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."[16]

Recently, Jane Doe was inducted into the Rock Sound's Hall of Fame.[17] 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.[18] According to their Facebook page (run by Chris Gramlich of Exclaim! Magazine), Gramlich has received the new demos.[19]


Converge's influences range from hardcore punk bands, such as Black Flag, The Accused,[3] and Born Against;[3] metal bands like Black Sabbath, Godflesh,[3] Slayer,[20] and Entombed;[3] and proto-mathcore bands Starkweather[3] and Rorschach.[3] 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.[21]

Side projects

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.

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.

Ben Koller got his start in the punk and metal scene by playing drums for bands such as FORCEFEDGLASS.


  • 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)



  1. ^ "INTEGRITY Returns With New Music, Lineup, And Tour". BlabberMouth. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Converge FAQ. Retrieved on 13 may, 2008.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Pop And Jazz Guide". The New York Times. 2002-05-17. Retrieved 2010-04-30. 
  6. ^ CitySearch, 2006
  7. ^
  8. ^ "CONVERGE: New Video Interview Available". BlabberMouth. 
  9. ^ "Converge biography". Retrieved 2007-08-23. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Sum of the Score". The Daily Orange. Retrieved 2009-04-07. "Mathcore, a genre of music that requires heavy concentration, puts a new spin on hardcore music" 
  11. ^
  12. ^[dead link]
  13. ^
  14. ^ Aaron Burgess, Axe to Fall review, Revolver, December 2009, p. 85.
  15. ^ "Regarding the leak of Converge's Axe to Fall". Metal Sucks. October 6, 2009. 
  16. ^ Lee, Cosmo (October 29, 2009). "Converge > Axe to Fall". 
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ Ramirez, Carlos (2008-02-19). "Converge: 'The Best Way To Learn Is Just Start Doing It'". Retrieved 2008-05-27. "I learned to play guitar by listening to Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies, and Metallica" 
  21. ^ The groups listed in this sentence are taken from an interview with Jacob Bannon from Smother Magazine. [1] Access date: 14 June 2008.

External links

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