Counterparts

You're Not You Anymore

Written by: PP on 26/04/2018 21:56:58

Albeit never having achieved quite the same infamy as their peers in The Ghost Inside and Stick To Your Guns, Counterparts have nonetheless been a formidable unit within melodic hardcore for more than a decade straight. "You're Not You Anymore" is their fifth album, and if there's one thing their fans are going to like about this one, it's that they've changed very little since 2015's "Tragedy Will Find Us" or its 2013 predecessor "The Difference Between Hell And Home".

While most of the time that's a definite plus sign in my books, in this case, it does, unfortunately, come with a side effect of saturation: with so many melodic hardcore releases over the years, it's becoming more and more difficult to stand out in the crowded genre. Keeping that in mind, "You're Not You Anymore" is very much melodic hardcore by the books. Slick, lingering guitars intertwine anthemic, gang-shouted choruses and coarsely screamed verses, whilst technical leads keep things interesting throughout. Where it starts to drag down is in the vocal department. Brendan Murphy has admittedly never been as charismatic or uniquely identifiable in his delivery as some of his counterparts (heh) mentioned in this review, and on this album, it really begins to show.

Whilst the instrumentals are a splendid mix of chaos and technical wizardry, many songs pass by unnoticed with the same throaty screams and predictable breakdowns interrupting the anthemic flow. There are, however, some exceptions. "Haunt Me", for instance, is a great track with its upbeat rhythm and an absolutely humongous gang-shout chorus. Here, we are in a territory I simply call greatness, where it sounds like the band just clicks and the result is a melodic hardcore piece that represents exactly what you want this genre to be: a beautiful concoction of hardcore fury and melodic beauty.

Similarly, "A Memory Misread" is an instant classic that sticks to your mind on first listen. Here, the band varies the vocals from the coarse screams to semi-clean choruses with tempo variation and technical, Misery Signals-inspired polyrhythms alongside an orgasmic breakdown halfway through the song that is sure to spawn some violent mosh pits in live environments. Similarly, "Fragile Limbs" is great, and the ambitious title track closing the album leaves you with a mouthwatering feeling of "let's hear some more". It's strange that the band opts to leave their best material towards the final third of the album in an era of prevalent short attention spans among music fans.

In my opinion, it's too little, too late. Where peers in Stick To Your Guns have moved into a more melodic and approachable direction, Counterparts remain in the throatily screamed, aggressive territory, for the most part, failing to produce enough memorable songs on "You're Not You Anymore" to warrant a higher rating.

Download: A Memory Misread, Haunt Me, Fragile Limbs
For the fans of: (old) Hundredth, It Prevails, Stick To Your Guns
Listen: Facebook

Release date 22.09.2017
Pure Noise Records

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