Album Review: Counterparts — ‘Nothing Left to Love’

Posted: by The Editor

Counterparts are a band that continues to unravel the definition of hardcore in 2019. The Canadian-based band have become a staple in developing the new wave of hardcore. Their last record You’re Not You Anymore offered impressive songwriting, debuting stylized rhythm and lyrics that became unique to their sound. Now with their latest release, Nothing Left to Love, Counterparts continue to level up on their sound, incorporating influences of metal and doom while also keeping their sound fresh.

Opening track “Love Me” perfectly opens up the record. Opening with very faint guitars that then transition into a heavier guitar pattern and percussion. Brendon Murphy’s howling vocals then roll in screaming “Will you love me? / When there’s nothing left to love” which is pretty much the theme of the entire record. The two guitarists, Adrian Lee and Blake Hardman offer a really nice dynamic in tone. One guitar has a signature metal sound to it, very dense and heavy hitting with power chords, whereas the other guitar has more of a twinkly, almost shoegaze-y kind of sound to it. In this combo lays the key to Counterpart’s sound. That mixture of guitar tone creates the genre-bending sound that— makes Counterparts stand out in the sea of hardcore bands that have been coming out over the last couple of years.

The following track “Wings of Nightmares” flows flawlessly. The chord progressions on the guitar blend in smoothly with Murphy’s raw vocals. The percussion is sharp and breaks through the guitars and vocals without drowning them out. Again, the guitar tones of both guitars are what really carry the track through. The progressions between the tracks are almost twinkly but with a metal twist. As the track winds down, the transition into a heavier sound at the very end is the icing on the cake. A perfect emotional outpour on all parts of the band. 

“Separate Wounds” is a track that is a total package on this record. The beginning seconds are near silent and then the vocals hit along with everything else like a block of pure chaos. This track for sure is their heaviest and most ambitious melodically speaking on the record. Each instrument is doing their own thing but yet it all is cohesive and destructive like good hardcore should be. The sound on this track feels closer to their previous releases. However, it offers an emotional quality to it that makes it feel vulnerable. Since all of the instruments including the vocals are all playing at what seems to be their fullest capacity, it’s relationship to the lyrics grows stronger. The lyrics seem to be regarding a breakup or some type of loss, which is a continuous theme throughout the record. Altogether, this track is outstanding in its composition and form, and it creates a powerful dynamic on all accounts from production to songwriting and performance. 

Nothing Left to Love steps up to the plate. The entire LP is nearly flawless and continues to help define hardcore in 2019. Counterparts have always proven that they’re a force to be reckoned with and Nothing Left to Love is a testament to the band’s pursuit for greatness. The production is insanely well executed, and the songwriting alone in the guitar work continues to push Counterpart’s creativity and also talent as musicians. Counterparts are 100% part of the new wave of hardcore and keep pushing to redefine what that sound is—both a sound that is unique to them but also one that helps to define the genre as a whole.

Disappointing / Average /Good / Great / Phenomenal

Written by Sarah Knoll

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