Converge

Incredibly prolific punk-metal road dogs Converge were formed in the winter of 1990-1991, and after several singles, compilation appearances, and the requisite growing pains, they released their first full-length, Halo in a Haystack, in 1994. The Boston-based quartet initially comprised vocalist/visual artist Jacob Bannon, guitarist Kurt Ballou, bassist Jeff Feinburg, and drummer Damon Bellorado, with second guitarist Aaron Dalbec joining in 1994 (he later left in 2001 without being replaced). Over the years the band also found time to lend out members to various side projects, including Kingdom of the Sun, Old Man Gloom, and Kid Kilowatt (the short-lived band that also included members of Cave In). Hydra Head issued Caring and Killing in 1996, which gathered tracks released over 1991-1994, followed a year later by Petitioning the Empty Sky through Equal Vision. Cave In's Stephen Brodsky entered on bass in place of Feinburg in 1997 as well, and by the release of 1998's When Forever Comes Crashing, Converge had proved themselves a force to be reckoned with in the hardcore-metal scene. Brodsky left the band that same year to be replaced by bassist Nate Newton; Bellorado exited in 1999 and, soon enough, the band had welcomed drummer Ben Koller into the fray. A split with Japan's Hellchild appeared in 2001 through Death Wish, Inc. (which Bannon co-owns) before Converge's ever-growing reputation among fans and critics was cemented even further with that fall's release of their fourth official full-length, the highly acclaimed metal masterpiece Jane Doe. Converge was by now regarded as one of the most original and innovative bands to emerge from the punk underground. Trudging along, the band during that time played over 600 shows with varying success -- their hard work made it possible for them to retain their cult status within the punk underground without the kind of commercial success that has vaulted other punk bands into the middle of alternative rock radio and press. Rare and out of print tracks were next collected together for 2003's Unloved and Weeded Out compilation before Converge returned the following year with the studio full-length You Fail Me, their first for Epitaph.

Converge also played at...