September 19, 2017 Counterparts – You’re Not You Anymore (Album Review)
If fellow Canadians Comeback Kid did not provide music lovers with a big enough Hardcore hockey puck with the release of Outsider on September 8th, then prepare for Counterparts to throw a body-check with their latest, You’re Not You Anymore, which arrives this Friday, September 22nd thanks to 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 two most recent offerings – 2013’s The Difference Between Hell and Home and 2015’s Tragedy Will Find Us – charted impressively on the U.S. Billboard charts. Coupled with endless touring with the likes of Architects, Stick To Your Guns, Senses Fail, Every Time I Die, The Acacia Strain, blessthefall, We Came As Romans, Knocked Loose, Parkway Drive, Sworn In, and so very many more, this is a band who are bringing Hardcore to every nook and cranny across North America.
If their stint on the Vans Warped Tour 2017 is any indication whatsoever, Counterparts – Vocalist Brendan Murphy, Guitarists Adrian Lee and Blake Hardman, Bassist Tyler Williams, along with Drummer Kyle Brownlee – are highly beloved by their dedicated fanbase. Now fresh from Punk Rock summer camp, they return with their fifth studio album, an eleven-track collection entitled You’re Not You Anymore. Murphy himself says, “You’re Not You Anymore is the perfect blend of every record we’ve released prior. I feel like we did a great job at capturing the best parts of Counterparts. Not to sound like a broken record, but these are definitely the coolest songs we’ve ever written. I really do hope you enjoy it. If not, I’m sorry and I guess we’ll try harder next time.”
There is no need, Mr. Murphy! The stellar You’re Not You Anymore opens with the thirty-eight-second musical introduction of “Walk Away Slowly.” With tension mounting, we blast into first single/video “Bouquet,” a melancholy kiss-off that was previewed on this summer’s Vans Warped Tour. It then segues flawlessly into “Arms Like Teeth,” where Lee and Hardman’s melodic, soaring guitar-work builds the foundation for Murphy’s tormented howls.
The exquisite “No Servant Of Mine” is Counterparts at their very finest: meandering guitars and pummeling drums form the backbone for the in-your-face vocal assault. “Dedication makes a martyr out of me / While you’re afraid to offer flakes of skin / Your fire dies, dependent on the embers I provide / Shield your blaze from beads of sweat,” Murphy emotes in this phenomenal ode to passionless, soul-suckers. This is a must hear track!
With gang vocals creeping into its passionate choruses, “Haunt Me” presents a fully massive sound that is, in fact, truly haunting in its layered attack. Meanwhile, the very first line of “Swim Beneath My Skin” is foretelling of the pain and frustration to come: “How comforting it feels to breathe with hands around my neck.” It is another stellar offering from these Canadians.
The second track that the boys premiered on this past summer’s Vans Warped Tour, “Thieves” is a solid, pummeling Hardcore rager. “Rope” marries the angst of its predecessor with guitar-work that oozes gentle melody into its vicious mix, all while Murphy spits the macabre lines: “Hope is a blade that bears my name / I know your rope was meant for me.” Similarly, full-throttled “A Memory Misread” presents melodic, sing-along choruses that soar to anthemic heights. This is going to be a brilliant addition to the band’s set list!
“Fragile Limbs” spits blood and delicious melody, though they close with album namesake, the deliciously massive sound of “You’re Not You Anymore.” There is a sense of reflective bitterness and insightful melancholy that permeates the core of these eleven tracks: this is a band poised at the top of their game, pondering life in their own personal bubble. There is passion and poetry present throughout You’re Not You Anymore, as well as haunting melancholia. Angst and bitterness are natural in this day and age, and yet there is a resounding rage that will drive this band forward into delicious new heights.
Anyone who is not sure what Counterparts are all about, download the killer “No Servant Of Mine” for a taste and then do get right on-board! For poetic rage and superb representation of all things melodic Hardcore, CrypticRock give Counterparts’ You’re Not You Anymore 5 of 5 stars.