CONVERGE — Halo in a Haystack (review)

CONVERGE — Halo in a Haystack album cover Album · 1994 · Hardcore Punk Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
"Halo in a Haystack" is the debut full-length studio album by US post-hardcore/metalcore act Converge. The album was released in 1994 in a limited number of vinyl copies by Earthmaker Records and is now out of print. However 8 out of the 10 tracks on the 34:00 minutes long album also appear on the "Caring and Killing (1995)" compilation. The compilation is easier to find as it was released on slightly more prolific labels in Lost And Found Records in Europe and Hydra Head Records in the US.

Converge is widely considered a pioneering act in post-hardcore/metalcore and right off the bat it´s audible why when listening to "Halo in a Haystack". The band play a very unconventional hardcore style where they combine fast-paced and aggressive hardcore punk sections, with heavier groovy sections, and atmospheric clean guitar sections. The band obviously aim at twisting conventions and that goes for song structures too. I´d actually go as far as to call some of the tracks on "Halo in a Haystack" progressively structured. Very intriguing indeed. The vocals are even more unconventional though and they are pretty sure to be an aquired taste. High pitched, distorted, aggressive, and melancholic are some of the words I´d use to describe the vocals by Jacob Bannon. His vocal style can be a bit much at times but it´s certainly original.

Besides a few production flaws, "Halo in a Haystack" is a very impressive debut album by Converge. High level musicianship and a songwriting approach that´s adventurous to say the least. They would go on to release more mature albums later on in their career but still a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.
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