Incredibly prolific punk-metal road dogs Converge were formed in the winter of 1990-1991, and after several singles, compilation appearances, and the requisite growing pains, they released their first full-length, Halo in a Haystack, in 1994. The Boston-based quartet initially comprised vocalist/visual artist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Jeff Feinburg, and drummer Damon Bellorado, with second guitarist Aaron Dalbec joining in 1994 (he later left in 2001 without being replaced).
Over the years the band also found time to lend out members to various side projects, including Kingdom of the Sun, Old Man Gloom, and Kid Kilowatt (the short-lived band that also included members of Cave In). Hydra Head issued Caring and Killing in 1996, which gathered tracks released over 1991-1994, followed a year later by Petitioning the Empty Sky through Equal Vision.
Cave In‘s Stephen Brodsky entered on bass in place of Feinburg in 1997 as well, and by the release of 1998’s When Forever Comes Crashing, Converge had proved themselves a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore-metal scene.
Brodsky left the band that same year to be replaced by bassist Nate Newton; Bellorado exited in 1999 and, soon enough, the band had welcomed drummer Ben Koller into the fray. A split with Japan’s Hellchild appeared in 2001 through Death Wish, Inc. (which Bannon co-owns) before Converge’s ever-growing reputation among fans and critics was cemented even further with that fall’s release of their fourth official full-length, the highly acclaimed metal masterpiece Jane Doe.
Converge was by now regarded as one of the most original and innovative bands to emerge from the punk underground. Trudging along, the band during that time played over 600 shows with varying success — their hard work made it possible for them to retain their cult status within the punk underground without the kind of commercial success that has vaulted other punk bands into the middle of alternative rock radio and press.
Rare and out of print tracks were next collected together for 2003’s Unloved and Weeded Out compilation before Converge returned the following year with the studio full-length You Fail Me, their first for Epitaph. Always reliable and consistently brutal, Bannon, Ballou, Koller, and Newton were back after more rounds of touring by October 2006 with the jaw-dropping 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. According to their Facebook page (run by Chris Gramlich of Exclaim! Magazine), Gramlich has received the new demos.