On their surfaces, hardcore and metalcore would seem to be genres for young men. After all, it takes a lot of stamina and aggression to shriek and bash your instruments for extended periods of time. The older you get, the more you tend to lose of both.
But on The Dusk in Us — hardcore champion Converge’s first album in five years — 41 year-old frontman Jacob Bannon turns the music of his adolescence (he started the band at age 13) to some mature reflections. On the opening track, “A Single Tear,” he howls out how becoming a father has changed him for the better: [LISTEN]
Such tender thoughts might feel a bit out of place amidst all the screaming, heavy riffing and blast beats. Still, there’s something touching in the incongruity. It suggests that Bannon couldn’t have reached this point in his life without music like this.
The album’s mournful title track builds on these themes of survival and defiance. His voice barely above a whisper, Bannon exhorts a “frightened little boy” and “shattered little girl” not to surrender to the “monsters among us:” [LISTEN]
It’s telling that Bannon holds off on deploying his throat-shredding bellow until the end of the song. He wants his listeners to hear him say these things. That’s because he knows they might be going through the same hardships that he endured in his youth.
For all of the sound and fury elsewhere, it’s this quiet moment that comes through loudest. It reveals the compassion that lies at the heart of The Dusk in Us. To borrow a line from Ralph Ellison, who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, Bannon screams for you?