Review: Counterparts, ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’

Written by Mike Moger Edited by Sam Jones

In similar fashion to the album I am reviewing, ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ literally bolts out of the gate with opener “Stillborn” and never looses its grip over the album’s 34 minute runtime. Never the band to just sit and wallow, Counterparts’ music is always overflowing with emotion, even during their quote-unquote slower songs. Perhaps this is why they’re so relatable and popular amongst the young-adult demographic, but whatever they’re doing, it’s working. So much so that Pure Noise took notice and signed them in preparation for this release, creating a trio of amazingness on the label composed of Counterparts, The Story So Far, and Four Year Strong. That list pretty much describes my personal phases of music in reverse chronological order! And in an even more coincidental note, all have released albums within the last 2 months, so yeah check those out.

The best addition to Counterpart’s sound this time around has to be spoken word; I’m just honestly surprised they haven’t made it a staple sooner. It allows Brendan’s throat-clearing screams to really hit home, whereas on past records they were almost drowned out by the constant energy and volume. It says a lot that some of ‘Difference’ and ‘Currents’’s most memorable songs came equipped with Brendan’s speaking voice (see: “Decay” and “Reflection” for the best examples). Taking note of this, the band seemed to combine their two greatest traits: hitting hard at a roadrunner pace and allowing a brief chance to reflect as the instruments wind-up-and-down in a constant spiral. As a result, tracks like “Choke” and “Thread” benefit, with the former serving as a rival of 2013′s “Slave” and the latter reinforcing all that we’ve known about the band since “The Disconnect” blew up and made them a household name in the genre.

If there’s one thing Brendan is famous for, besides being hilarious on twitter and always, it’s his lyrics with Counterparts. Spoken mostly in metaphors such as the uplifting “I am a noose waiting to be tied” and the literal “my bones grow calloused from the cold” (because they’re from Canada, get it eh?). Forever poignant and introspective, he continues the trend of being self-loathing and fucking angry at the world,  but this time along with a new element of longing. This almost emotional side of the band is something relatively new, and is showcased perfectly on the closing track “Solace.” In the past, it was pretty normal of the lyrics to hold an emotional weight, but not the musical counterpart. Maybe it’s just me, but this closer rivals “Reflection” and the closing moments of “Soil”, as the chorus is simply amazing: “Carry me back to your bed/My conscience is my coffin and I swear sometimes I’d rather be dead/Make sure that I still feel, I don’t care how much it hurts/I’ll always be numb on my side of the earth.”

With more and more listens it became increasing obvious how similar ‘Tragedy’ is to ‘Difference’ in both structure and songwriting. Both share the one word titles, include a 2 minute mosh-pit inducing track on the b-side, and utilize some of the most intricate guitar, bass, and drum work this side of the US border. Despite these similarities (along with about 32 references to either song titles or lyrics from ‘Difference’), ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’ somehow manages to feel like a full-fledged body of work on its own; requiring only the attention of its audience and a love of hardcore influenced music, as there’s something to be said of a band who primarily tours in a foreign country AND has successfully gotten out of a contract with Victory ~mostly~ unscathed (sorry A Day to Remember). With that list, there’s very little which Counterparts hasn’t done, I just wish more people shared in my appreciation and love of their sound and message.

The best way possible to describe the year Counterparts has had is such: a true continuing to destroying absolutely everything in their path to melodic-hardcore stardom. After losing one of their founding members over the past year, they’ve turned around and created ‘Tragedy Will Find Us’, the perfect follow up to 2013′s stellar ‘The Difference Between Hell and Home,’ an album I considered to be in my top ten from that year. The re-encapsulation of their previous body of work makes this release ten-times better, as it allows you to follow the very clear threads between the two. Brendan and co have created a trio of albums which they can be wholeheartedly proud of, and they deserve every bit of praise possible. And for the first time since 2011, they’ve crafted a tagline worthy of “The Disconnect”s ending line. “Be the burn. burn me alive.” 4.5/5

Attention: Counterparts are signed to Pure Noise Records. We are fully aware of recent controversy, and you can read about why we’ve chosen to not boycott the label here.