Counterparts – ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ Review

Posted: by Sean Gonzalez

Counterparts is the little engine that could. Time and time again, the Hamilton band has bared their teeth by showing their staying power within the industry. Much of that weight has been placed upon the voice of the melodic hardcore act, Brendan Murphy. The lyrical content (and by proxy, the vocals) have scoped in on self-degradation and failure, really taking stride on The Current Will Carry Us. Being honest and self-aware has allowed fans to directly connect with the rumination and continued search for hope. The Difference Between Hell And Home had glimpses of hope and the community waited for what was next. Tragedy Will Find Us expands upon what went right with Hell and Home and not only put the album to rest, but solidified and tightened the best aspects to make this release as accessible as ever.

Necessary to the sound that makes people remember this band are the big melodic chords are timed in an adrenaline rushing pattern with burst driven drums that clash at just the right times. This is when Murphy’s vocals take over and make the clash more exciting with memorable one-liners. For Tragedy Will Find Us, these moments are larger than life thanks to the mix of the album, which has the vocals amped up to be the main focal point. It’s seen halfway through the first track, ‘Stillborn,’ where we find a winding guitar progression shaping Murphy’s cry, “bury me breathing so I can watch myself decay.” The lyrics feature a more self aware narrator, with Murphy discussing the details of his disease on ‘Resonate,’ offering an apology for his collapse. Another addition to the delivery of Murphy is his slight spoken word sections. Never really expanding more than a few lines, they feel natural minus how low they are in the mix.

Sonically the band showcases a strength by trimming the fat of [most] unnecessary parts that may have been a bore on previous LPs. ‘Burn’ is a virulent track but the waning moments of clean guitar feel out of place. Just when the song about comes to a close it is continued on without a real meaningful manner. ‘Stranger’ is one of the darkest tracks, rolling through the headphones with a chaotic pace and one of the heaviest ending sections of recent memory. ‘Choke’ has one of the biggest parts on the album, as a pissed off Murphy screams, “The Compass has been cracked, I hope you fucking choke to death.” This is familiar because it is a direct easter egg to the previous album. The song itself is surrounded by more melodic tunes. Closing track ‘Solace’ is a sludgy ballad in it’s own right, offering a glimmering amount of hope with a more put together clean section at the end.

In their own way, Counterparts have created an album that is almost a direct continuation of TDBHAH while providing a refreshed sound. Regardless of similarities to previous work, listeners still have a constant barrage of eleven aggressive tracks to remind them of how great this band is. Tragedy Will Find Us is an expulsion that never lets up because the ones playing the music are trying to move past the misery that sits around us all. We just have this to help us do the same.

Score: 9/10