Album Review: Counterparts — ‘You’re Not You Anymore’

Posted: by The Editor

you're not you anymore

Sometimes it’s tough to grow with a band; becoming familiar with their work and attaching yourself emotionally with each subsequent release can be daunting. You become aware of everything they do, how they do it and ultimately who they are as a whole—and when something changes drastically, it can have an impact. When the news broke that lead guitarist and life-long member Jesse Doreen was leaving the band, along with former drummer Kelly Bilan, I knew a big part of what made Counterparts the band it was was leaving. That said, uneasiness was quickly put to rest the moment I first listened through You’re Not You Anymore. Not only were my initial worries alleviated, YNYA not only reminds me of why I love this band so much, but makes me appreciate how time and time again, Counterparts are truly on an elevated pedestal in comparison to their melodic hardcore peers.

The record wastes no time captivating the listener with “Bouquet”—the first single released. A fast-paced track that packs an iron-fist punch, it sets the tone for the rest of the record. The lyrical content is pure Counterparts: desperate, heart-wrenching and just as intimate as the first time you heard them. Content-wise, Murphy told AP, “Every song on the record is related to change or growth [..] positive and negative.”

What separates Counterparts from their contemporaries in the melodic hardcore genre, much like on their previous releases, is that they have one specific factor that’s unique to them; the indestructibly dominating vocal master Brendan Murphy. I swear, in each and every track, you can literally feel him next to you, pouring his heart and soul into every word. This album is no different, in fact, it might be the best performance of his career. Combining the pain of loss, cynicism and aggression, Murphy delivers each word with pounding, gut-wrenching emotions that truly give Counterparts their greatest allure.  Although Doreen was the main songwriter for albums one through four, the genuine human connection recited and expressed through vocalist Brendan Murphy’s words are as poignant as ever.

As the album moves along, tracks such as “Arms Like Teeth” and “No Servant of Mine” provide the best, perfectly-timed Counterparts-esque breakdowns that will absolutely beat you down. Along with the aforementioned tracks is the short burst of chaos known as “Thieves”, the trademark, minute-long breakdown track that’s now become a staple of every Counterparts record. I’ve always found that said tracks mark the turning point on their albums. In this case, leading into “Rope”, “A Memory Misread” and “Fragile Limbs.” The songs feel like they carry more of an emotional and deeper sincerity, the middle track being arguably my favourite on the entire album.

Yes the band went through lineup changes. Yes there are some aspects that are different. Was I sceptical at first? Sure. Was I worried? I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t. Was it foolish of me to even doubt for one second that Counterparts wouldn’t be able to put out a fucking Counterparts record? Yup. Enough can’t be said about the work that Kyle Brownlee and Blake Hardman have done on the drums and guitar, respectively. Not only did they encapsulate perfectly the Counterparts sound, but they’ve added their own personal and unique element to each and every track that really makes this album stand out. Brownlee is a percussion machine, drumming furiously throughout, while Hardman delivers with the intricate, melodic riffs that make you wonder why you ever worried about this band for in the first place.

Simply put, Counterparts did it again. This album is a fucking banger. If you’re into hardcore, melodic hardcore, metalcore or anything like that, I don’t think you should sleep on this. If you’re an occasional dabbler in such genres, you’re not gonna want to graze over this one. Seriously.

Score: 8.0/10

You’re Not You Anymore is out now on Pure Noise Records and New Damage Records.

Steven Lalonde | @StevenLalonde