Converge live review – London, Electric

Hardcore heroes take a delirium-inducing diversion

Converge, live at London, Electric

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Outside the sun may be shining, but in the depths of Brixton’s tiered Electric venue, it’s a vision of darkness. A sea of black t-shirted bodies continues to spread across the sticky floor, underneath the disco balls, and the leather jacket brigade is slowly filling up the balconies.

Onstage are riff lords GRIME [6], who are just as sludgy as the name suggests. With Sabbath-esque drones echoing out, the neck muscles get a good work-out, but with minimal stage presence there’s an air of repetition and sameness that fails to connect. Similarly, the post-rock of CRIPPLED BLACK PHOENIX [7] is met with indifference – which doesn’t go unnoticed by the band. While a large portion of the venue seem intent on yabbering to their mates or checking Instagram for hearts, CBP are creating a progressive atmosphere of spirituality through their cosmic lightshow and psychedelia-laced metal with big-hitters Rise Up And Fight and Long Live Independence.

While these usual biggies fail to hit the target tonight, it must be said that no band could have outshone CONVERGE [10]. The Blood Moon concept was talked about at length in all corners of the alternative music press as either the best or worst-conceived idea ever for a hardcore band, but tonight it delivers like Thor’s hammer to the neck. Converge are joined by Steven Brodsky from Cave In on guitar plus keyboardist Ben Chisholm and the magnetic Chelsea Wolfe. Those expecting a ballistic moshfest of fire and fury are met by something much deeper and more poetic. The setlist is dedicated to the slower, more brooding end of Converge’s impeccable back catalogue with every facet and nuance completely reimagined with keys, acoustic guitars and Chelsea’s haunted, heartwrenching vocals. From the menacingly slow Coral Blue, drenching the venue in red light, to the stunning cover of Disintegration by The Cure, the Blood Moon collective are creating beauty onstage. With four guitars intertwined and frontman Jacob Bannon taking a back seat to play bass at points throughout, this is more than a band – this is art. The haunting Last Light stirs the soul in an aural exorcism leaving south London spellbound and numb to the core, in full knowledge that they’ll never see anything like this again. Bless you, Converge. You talented bastards.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.