October 30, 2019 Counterparts – Nothing Left to Love (Album Review)
Fall 2019 is going to keep the Hardcore albums coming! Issuing the full-length follow-up to 2017’s highly-acclaimed You’re Not You Anymore, the Canadians in Counterparts present Nothing Left to Love on Friday, November 1st, 2019, via Pure Noise Records.
Formed in Ontario, Canada in 2007, Counterparts has steadily been making a name for themselves in the Melodic Hardcore scene ever since. Their 2010 debut, Prophets, kicked off a career that has led to their two most recent offerings—2015’s Tragedy Will Find Us and the aforementioned 2017 You’re Not You Anymore—charting impressively on Billboard. Dogged determination to the road hasn’t hurt their cause, and neither have tours alongside the likes of Parkway Drive, Senses Fail, Architects, Stick To Your Guns, Every Time I Die, and many, many more.
A band who continued to bring their elevated Melodic Hardcore to every nook and cranny of North America, Counterparts—Vocalist Brendan Murphy, Guitarists Blake Hardman and Adrian Lee, Bassist Tyler Williams, and Drummer Kyle Brownlee—are primed and ready to issue album number six. Produced by Fit For An Autopsy’s Will Putney (Norma Jean, Every Time I Die), the 10-track album is full of poetic raging on life’s darkness, Murphy’s self-destructive tendencies, and more.
Nothing Left to Love opens to the frustrated beauty of “Love Me.” At just under two minutes, the track builds an angst and tension with melodic guitars and Murphy’s gritty howls. This segues right into “Wings Of Nightmares,” which wastes no time in getting brutal. Pop-Punk worthy guitars provide melody as the band build into soaring choruses to back the blistering vocal attack. The end result is a track with echoes of A Day To Remember, but with a rougher edge that is all Counterparts.
Continuing to blow up your speakers, “Paradise And Plague” is another banger cut from the same cloth as its predecessor, with bigger, bolder sing-along choruses. Delivering more stellar guitar work from Hardman and Lee, “The Hands That Used To Hold Me” blends melody and suffocating heaviness into a perfect reason to jump into the circle pit.
Taking a breather, they allow electronic atmospherics to cleanse the palette before the anthem for the broken “Separate Wounds” detonates. Much like “Paradise And Plague,” massive choruses anchor the track and make it a truly infectious representation of Counterparts’ art. Lest you fear that the band are somehow going soft (pun intended), they amp it back up for the brutal catharsis of “Your Own Knife.”
Yet again, Hardman and Lee’s killer guitars blanket the sonic odyssey that is “Cherished.” Countering this, “Imprints” presents another banger that flows perfectly into the full-throttle heartbreak of “Ocean Of Another.” This emotionality leads to the album’s epic conclusion, the titular “Nothing Left To Love.” A true curveball, the track presents whispery soft atmospherics backing the band in their gentlest facet to date. In this, a lofty veil undulates for the epic, frustrated conclusion of a collection that sees Counterparts in their finest hour.
Murphy has gone on the record to say that this is his favorite Counterparts’ album to date, and it is hard to deny him that claim. Nothing Left to Love is viciously beautiful, hauntingly heavy with all the lyrical catharsis and poetic frustration that we have come to love from these Canadians. A more streamlined, bolder and more infectious version of the band’s sound, the album takes Melodic Hardcore to the next level—delivering more incendiary breakdowns alongside loftier melodies. Cruelly catchy, harshly beautiful, poetically pissed off, Cryptic Rock give Nothing Left to Love 5 of 5 stars.