Ironically, as ever-greater numbers of music fans distance themselves from hi-fidelity, jet engine-sized stereo systems and physical product, the accessible options are more plentiful than ever before.
Take Converge’s last studio album, All We Love We Leave Behind, which was released in a handful of different mastered versions – and we can only assume that, as the capability of technology expands alongside computing storage space and processing speed, more options will become available.
There exists a parallel to Converge’s career trajectory here. If metallic hardcore had its ‘Big Four,’ there’s no doubt the Boston quartet would be included (alongside The Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch and Coalesce? Discuss among yourselves). Every album of their eight-deep discography is considered a classic and they’ve penned some of the genre’s most recognisable anthems (Concubine, My Unsaid Everything, Dark Horse) while never shying away from progression or textural subtlety (In Harm’s Way, Coral Blue). As options and tools for growth and development have presented themselves throughout their 25-year history – guitarist Kurt Ballou’s production mastery, Ben Koller’s whirlwind drumming, vocalist Jake Bannon’s heartfelt lyrics and art, bassist Nate Newton’s arranging acumen – they’ve been incorporated into the Converge wheelhouse to memorable impact. And just like their music, this DVD provides a myriad of options and artistic layers.
Thousands Of Miles Between Us is the band’s second DVD release, the sequel to 2004’s The Long Road Home, and is available in three separate packaging configurations which variously include HD download, stereo sound, 5:1 surround on the Blu-rays and a “vinyl specific stereo mix” on double 12-inch. The deluxe box set includes all that plus a 160-page photo book, a patch, a turntable slipmat and even more art housed in a sturdy gold-embossed black box. It’s a collection that does everything but come on CD or cassette and Hoover your living room, though should you opt for the HD download, make sure your internet connection screams as lagging is a potential hazard.
For longtime fans the most compelling portion likely won’t be the main feature – a 20-song set recorded at Philadelphia’s Union Transfer – but the second and third Blu-ray discs which compile rare live, studio, promotional and interview footage from the past decade. That’s not to say the main programme isn’t worth your time. Shot with multiple cameras and seemingly edited with the intent of mimicking vertigo-inducing Japanese cartoons without the use of strobes, there’s an intimacy developed here that’s the product of the video ping-ponging between tight and wide shots, crowd participation captures and that hardcore tradition where half the band’s friends make themselves at home along the sides of the stage. A warm, fuzzy sensation of being enveloped by the proceedings is attained should you view this on a 50-plus-inch widescreen and there’s enough quality audio to make you regret not owning a proper pair of stereo speakers.
HOW LONG WAS THIS DVD RELEASE IN THE WORKS?
“We’ve been working on this project since the release of our 2004 DVD The Long Road Home in some way or another. Over time the amount of footage on hand and the size of the project grew considerably.”
DID THE CHUNK OF TIME MAKING THOUSANDS OF MILES BETWEEN US DISRUPT THE WRITING PROCESS OF THE NEW ALBUM?
“They’re completely separate creative undertakings, so no. If that was the case, this project would’ve also gotten in the way of our last few albums, as it’s been in the works for that long. We’ve been working on new material since the release of All We Love We Leave Behind. We are taking our time, though. It’ll happen when it’s meant to happen.”