Converge & Chelsea Wolfe: Bloodmoon: I review – an explosive combination | Metal

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Bloodmoon: I commences with the sound of piano notes and a distorted croon from frontman Jacob Bannon. Instantly, it’s in a different hemisphere from anything else Converge have done. After all, this is the rabble whose defining statement is Jane Doe: an attack that, 20 years after its release, remains the nastiest metalcore album ever. Bannon screamed so hard on it that you could hear the microphone struggling; Kurt Ballou’s guitars rang with tortured squeals and the rhythm section thrashed faster than a machine gun.

Converge and Chelsea Wolfe: Bloodmoon: I album cover
Converge and Chelsea Wolfe: Bloodmoon: I album cover

Now, on their long-awaited collaboration with dark rocker Chelsea Wolfe (plus her writing partner Ben Chisolm and Cave In’s Stephen Brodsky), Converge’s rampage deadens to a crawl, sacrificing speed for a slower and more melodic, yet heavier battering. Opener Blood Moon captivates as Bannon and Wolfe exchange verses to hypnotic effect, the gentleness serving to amplify the explosion of post-metal that follows.

As much as bands from Cult of Luna to the Ocean have employed this crescendoing model for decades, this is still characteristically Converge. If anything, Ballou feels unchained; he continues to strain his instrument into anguish on Lord of Liars, only for Scorpion’s Sting to find room for a tasteful blues solo. Wolfe’s penchant for downbeat melancholia also repeatedly shines through. Her influence is strongest on Coil: an acoustic-cum-choral-rock single that’s as grandiose as it is heartbreaking.

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That said, Bloodmoon: I never feels like a compromise. Rather, it does exactly what a crossover should, excelling in ways that would have been impossible had either party gone it alone.

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