Sound — 10
In a world where -core music seems to be falling by the wayside, Counterparts comes through with their latest release, and for me surprised the living sh-t out of me. Sure, I love a ton of -core related music, but let's not lie here, most of the stuff in that category nowadays has become stale, and overdriven with open note chugs, boring breakdowns, and cookie cutter vocals. The thing that sets the Hamilton, Ontario group from the rest is the way the vocals are executed, and the way the drumming, and heavy guitar riffs are played. Take "Resonate" for example. The song starts off with a few heavy riffs then lead to the hardcore side of drumming I don't think many other bands in melodic hardcore are capable of. One of the biggest cuts on the album has to be from "Choke." The guitar riffs are just so captivating to keep the listener interested. They play almost that same vibe that was heard on "Compass," from their last album. But in a way, I think this is their heaviest song to date, and the breakdown around 1:14 was intense. Keep in mind that this song is only two minutes long, so it's short, but sweet. The one thing a non guitarist, or people who don't normally listen to the genre won't realize is the fact that most of the guitar riffs this band plays is actually not simple at all really. They take what it seems to be their biggest inspirations - Shai Hulud and Misery Signals, and combine those elements in what is now known as Counterparts. Basically, they're at the forefront of the obscure subgenre now.
Lyrics — 9
"Bury Me Breathing, so I can watch myself decay"; Brandon Murphy screams as an intense breakdown is about to set off, while the second time he screams those lyrics, he uses "so I can watch myself decay" as spoken words. This song, "Stillborn," is the first song on the album, which clearly sets a great starting a point on the album, from the way the drumming is played during the intro to the way Brandon executes his vocals. This album is deep in lyrical content. Take "Resonate" for example:
"(Trim your wings)
Trim your wings and deceive me
Cinch your halo around my neck
And just leave me alone with my thoughts
Eaten alive until there’s nothing left to mourn
I will resonate through the minds of others
As a corpse and nothing more (nothing more)
The song that really got me thinking was from "Tragedy" (last line in particular):
"In the midst of the ruin that surrounds us
We communicate but only in tongues
Our lips will welcome the caress of the crucifixion
And we stain the wood with defeat
I am not a mortal, I am a metaphor for moving forward."
The song that really got me to join "the feels" boat was the final song, "Solace." The song serves as a very powerful message, and honestly, I think this is where Brandon shines the most. It's the amount of emotion he puts forth through lyrics such as:
"Carry me back to your bed
My conscience is my coffin and I swear sometimes I'd rather be dead
Make sure that I still feel, I don't care how much it hurts
I’ll always be numb on my side of the earth."
Overall Impression — 10
The thing that truly surprised me about this album was that I was never truly hooked on these guys before. Sure, I did enjoy moments on their last two albums, but I think this album, as a whole, is truly worth more than basically anything else released this year, at least when it comes to the -core side of music. Pure Noise Records is killing it this year with some of these releases. We had the truly remarkable new Senses Fail album that was released a few weeks ago and the new Hit The Lights album. Who knows, we may even get more on that label soon, but Counterparts certainly made the right decision by getting off of Victory, who has been known for f--king bands over. My favorite songs are: "Stillborn," "Stranger," "Tragedy," "Choke," "Collapse," "Drown," and "Solace." Basically, I can't just choose one song, which is a sign that this album has meant a lot to me. So far, this album is my second favorite of the year. How about you guys?