Kurt Ballou is a smart producer. You can hear it in the way he's consistently helped other bands bring out the big guns on their albums. And that goes double for Converge, who've pulled out all the stops on All We Love We Leave Behind. One of the most potent weapons in their arsenal, at least as far as their recordings are concerned, has always been mercilessly overdriven mastering. Their latest album is no exception to that: this is one hot, loud mix. That, plus a healthy love of jarring feedback and aggressive tempos, are usually enough to make other metal bands cower.
But while Converge has merely adopted the dark, Pig Destroyer was born in it. On Book Burner, they take noise and dissonance to an entirely new level. Pig Destroyer also manages to have a more interesting and elevating followup to their previous album than does Converge, who this year arguably gave us Axe To Fall, Part II. Not that there's anything inherently wrong with that, but you've gotta bring something other than more of the same if you have any hopes of taking down grindcore at its best. And that did not happen today. Pig Destroyer humiliates Converge, and goes up against Between The Buried And Me next week!
And just like that, our first two rounds are over. We're on to the Quarterfinals tomorrow, starting with... is this a joke? As I Lay Dying and Every Time I Die!