Canadian melodic hardcore quintet Counterparts has delivered another record filled to the brim with despair, fear and anger. “Nothing Left To Love” is another display of why Counterparts has always been an influencer in the hardcore scene since their start in 2007. While they have grown as a band heavily, their sound has not changed here. This album sounds like “You’re Not You Anymore,” which sounds like “Tragedy Will Find Us.” Counterparts has created a perfect mix of all of their prior work by taking all that they have learned and sharpening their sound to a fine point.
Instrumentally, Counterparts has done what they always have. Without fail they deliver highly technical lead guitar, chugging rhythm guitar, bass that works in tune with the drums and vocals that are at the perfect pitch.
Brendan Murphy, lead vocalist for Counterparts, delivers essential hardcore vocals. His yells fall perfectly in the middle of high and low, and are filled to the brim with passion and emotion. Kelly Bilan, the drummer and backbone of the band, has done amazing work here. When in the genre of hardcore, drums tend to become a choatic and messy sound. Bilan’s skills are quite the opposite — he plays so delicately, and almost every sound he makes can be identified easily. “Nothing Left To Love” is the pinacle of technical hardcore sound and Counterparts is definitley flexing.
As for what separates this album and the artists from the rest of the pack is their lyrics. Counterparts has never been “tough guy” hardcore. Their words are not mean or stand off-ish, rather they are truly melancholic. They display hardship, struggle and frustration. Counterparts has not conquered their troubles or fears, and their music shows it.
These lyrics are beautifully poetic and intricate. “I’m clinging to the wings of nightmares/Detaching every finger one by one/Shaken awake/To find our absence hasn’t manifested yet/Longing for a sense of loss/Picking me apart like birds of prey/Where illusions will depart from unhinged jaws/Silent in the presence of your name/Rip the memory from my mind/Perfectly still, but somehow running out of time/” These lyrics from track two “Wings of Nightmares” show how deep their lyrics often are. They are surely negative but the experience behind them is unclear.
Counterparts ends this album in a strange and bittersweet way. Track ten which is the name of the record gives a serious message about death and religion. What makes this track unique is how peaceful it is. There is a guitar that brings peace and emptiness, as well as vocals that are soothing and distant. This track is so far from the rest of the record. All of Murphy’s yells have been distilled, and instead we are receiving an unheard side of Counterparts. “Did the mother of God cry for her son/Even though she knew this day would come?/Before I’m gone, the stations of the cross/Serve as reminders of the closest things we’ve lost/(Nothing left to love)/Will you love me when there’s nothing left to love?/” These lyrics are less complicated but impactful, as Murphy often writes about his own struggles with depression. “Nothing Left To Love” is a track that is vulnerable and exposed.
Counterparts wears their emotions on their sleeve and gives listeners a place to share their anger and own struggle. Their words are straight from the heart and their sound is beautifully intriguing. This album is the raw side of hardcore unoften seen.“Nothing Left To Love” is a work like no other — it is delicate, unique and unshielded.
Favorite Track: “Imprints”
Recommended Track: “Paradise and Plague”
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