Album Review: Counterparts – Tragedy Will Find Us

imageCounterparts’ 2013 sophomore record ‘The Difference Between Hell and Home’ was applauded by critics and introduced the Hamilton, Ontario outfit to many new fans. Two years on, the quintet have a different line-up and a new label with the much talked about Pure Noise Records overseeing the global release of LP #3 – ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’. With more eyes and ears paying attention this time round, the levels of anger are as high as ever. There’s no doubt that Counterparts are the epitome of what a modern melodic hardcore band should be.

Their recognizable lyrical trait of being self-deprecating and thoroughly raw is still firmly intact. “I’m the catalyst of our collapse,” Murphy states on ‘Resonate’ before evolving into a slower final chorus where the tempo sways yet the vocalist’s screams are as desperate. As self-evident as it is from song titles like ‘Choke’ and ‘Collapse’, ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ is a bleak record that wallows in the trials and tribulations of Murphy. His consistent self-examination and accounts of failure is just one layer to Counterparts.

They find solace in their sheer fierce musical assault. From the opening rip-roaring bars of ‘Stillborn’, their frenzied nature is in full swing that sticks to the familiar hardcore structure; Brendan Murphy’s screams are domineering and the breakdowns are as dense as they come. Lead “single” ‘Burn’ showcases their near-perfect balance of heavy and “soft”; stabbing guitars lead into a well-layered conclusion with light guitars and airy drums seeing the track out. ‘Choke’ storms through in a colossal mosh-ready fashion, whilst ‘Collapse’ aims to be the album stand-out; rapid-fire drums and well-structured guitar work compliment Murphy’s piercing narrative, with the striking line of “I bite my tongue / Fill my mouth with blood / And swallow enough to kill me” taking over in the bridge.

Unfortunately, moments like the thrashing ‘Withdrawal’ and the abrupt ‘Drown’ come off as routine. Nevertheless, Counterparts still show they have purpose. The album climaxes with ‘Solace’ which sees Murphy pour his heart out (“I’d rather die than live without you”) before pulling it back with sweet, plucky guitars.

Without a doubt, ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ takes you on a cathartic lyrical journey through Murphy’s introspective outpouring, but it’s countered by a sturdy collection of solid, persistent hardcore. At times it overwhelms you, both lyrically and musically, but in conclusion it captures a band who continue to improve. Counterparts have built on the foundations formed on past releases, and in part sustained their role as one of the emerging leaders in melodic hardcore. Through tragedy, Counterparts have found stable progression.


‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ by Counterparts is released on 24th July on Pure Noise Records.

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Words by Sean Reid (@SeanReid86)


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