Album review: Converge – Bloodmoon: I

Hardcore legends Converge jam with Chelsea Wolfe and Cave In to expand their horizons on collaborative album Bloodmoon: I…

Album review: Converge – Bloodmoon: I
Olly Thomas

Converge have long been rightfully revered as hardcore trailblazers, expanding the scene’s vocabulary through a questing spirit and willingness to experiment. Even within this ever-evolving context, however, Bloodmoon: I is so different to the rest of the Salem slammers’ oeuvre that it feels like a glimpse of an alternative timeline.

No strangers to collaboration, this is nevertheless the first time Converge have invited outsiders to assume equal roles in the creation of an entire album, engaging Stephen Brodsky of Cave In alongside Chelsea Wolfe and her musical partner Ben Chisholm to assemble a seven-piece line-up. The result is an album which is remarkable on every level.

A key attribute of Bloodmoon: I is a sense of grandeur, something which unites a collection which can veer from stripped-down, folk and country-tinged pieces to thunderous doomscapes and cosmic rock grooves. There is no loss of power resulting from the dialling back of their typically frenzied noise attack, the ominous atmospheres generated by this mighty team proving the equal of their bludgeoning back catalogue.

You’ve never previously been able to describe a Converge record as mystical, but such is the arcane allure that defines this unique album, especially on Coil and the title track. Chelsea’s distinctively haunting contributions are inevitably a major factor here, but Stephen also makes his melodic presence felt throughout, with Jacob Bannon’s harsher throat completing a vocal triptych that never fails to thrill, their very different but complementary styles weaving together as if they were always supposed to co-exist.

Does Bloodmoon: I sound much like Converge? Only occasionally. Could it be their best album to date nevertheless? Quite possibly.

Verdict: 5/5

For fans of: Chelsea Wolfe, Amenra, Alice In Chains

Bloodmoon: I is released on November 19 via Epitaph

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