Thursday, November 10; Pop's (1403 Mississippi Avenue, Sauget, Illinois)

Much as Faith No More unwittingly inspired the rap-metal movement with "Epic," Converge produced some unexpected offspring when it merged complex metal and hardcore fifteen years ago. But while most modern "metalcore" groups don't so much write songs as construct crude suspension bridges between breakdowns, this Boston band arranges its polyrhythmic patterns and kaleidoscopic guitar work (thanks to Kurt Ballou, doing the work of three ordinary axe-men) into a smartly sequenced series of heavy grooves. Tech-heads might appreciate the quick-swivel signature changes on a deeper level, but these intense dynamic shifts require no translation for the average headbanger. By contrast, Jake Bannon's vocals require a wounded-monkey-shriek decoder ring, but he uses tonal changes to communicate emotion without enunciation.

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