You can probably spin yourself into a tizzy about whether or not Counterparts is a real hardcore band. For the love of god, please refrain from that dumbass argument, because Tragedy Will Find Us is a real record.
Counterparts is in fact, a real hardcore band from Hamilton, ON. For the past eight years, the band has played a mix of super heavy and breakdown laden hardcore, mixed with wayward, melodic sections reminiscent of bands like Envy. Their previous record The Difference Between Hell and Home showed a lot of signs of what would be to come on this record, alternating between soft and heavy moments in a good cop, bad cop fashion. With this new album, there's never a "soft" or "heavy" song, they're all well-crafted Counterparts songs.
The unassailable beauty from some of those songs has been mixed in seamlessly with the hardcore end of the band. Songs like "Withdrawal" carry a well thought out use of space and melody in emphasizing the gleaming moments of the guitars before it all hails into a breakdown filled with despondency.
Obviously it's not all harmony and nicety. The onset of "Stranger" plunges the listener right into a storm system of a breakdown that builds and builds upon itself, coming up for breath as a way to lead into heavier waters. Vocalist Brendan Murphy isn't a clean or overly produced screamer. It never sounds pretty, in fact it almost sounds painful and throaty which makes a contrast to the shimmers of the guitars. On Tragedy Will Find Us the group has mastered the relationship between the light and dark elements of their sound. A track like "Choke" employs a riff that might seem almost-beautiful in a couple of twinkles, but then thrusts itself downwards like alarms on a falling plane.
Murphy's lyrics carry a lot of emotional weight and reflection without being too much to handle. A line will make you feel something, be catchy enough, and make you want it on a t-shirt. The music never suffers for the message; everything remains a cohesive and honest mix. His vocals still hold a range through all of this, showing a clear range of intensity and power.
This is a record that can satisfy any fan of purposeful music. This is a record made by a band who have hit their stride in defining exactly what Counterparts means in terms of sound and meaning. The title and some of the lyrical content of Tragedy Will Find Us might suggest on a surface level that negativity and misfortune are permanent fixtures in life. At the end of the day, what matters the most on the record appears to be healing and dealing with tragedy to move onto brighter places. Tragedy may find us, but it doesn't have to define us.
I believe in Counterparts, and you should too. Listen to Tragedy Will Find Us below, and get your physical copy right here.
Follow John Hill on Twitter - @JohnXHill.