ALBUM REVIEW: Counterparts “Nothing Left To Love”
Written by Zac McDowell on November 21, 2019
Title: Nothing Left to Love
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Release Date: November 1st, 2019
The Canadian metalcore/melodic hardcore group Counterparts released their 6th full length this month, and it is one to be recorded in the heavy music history books. This is a contender for Album of the Year (at least in this genre), as it is the best hardcore/metalcore album I have heard this year. The album mixes heavy guitar tracks, melodic and dreamlike synth, and complex rhythms together to create something truly artistic. This album takes what their previous efforts have done, but adds different elements like clean singing, to make it unique and stand out among their other releases.
The intro track “Love Me”, starts out with a surreal synth bit, which slowly builds into a heavy breakdown to start the album off, perfectly transitioning into the track “Wings of Nightmares”. The guitar tracks on this song are my favorite on the entire album, as they have this gorgeous timbre to them and incorporate natural harmonics into the song at the appropriate times, while still maintaining the heavy grit during the breakdowns. All of the songs on the album transition perfectly between the melodic parts and heavy parts; there are no awkward-sounding or forced transitions. The harmonics and harmonies implemented into the guitar tracks, and the separate melodic parts during breakdowns really give them character and is something that should not be overlooked. The instrumentation of the guitar and the bass add this beautiful ambiance to the songs, along with whatever synth that was used.
This album is the first of their entire discography to experiment with clean vocals. It was executed perfectly, as it was not overbearing and was used at the right times. I absolutely love the mix of melodic and heavy on this album; the balance between the two elements is absolutely perfect. Counterparts are known for this, though, as it is apparent in all of their releases. Although that is the case, this record sounds a tad different than their previous releases, as they experimented with a softer undertone, yet kept their signature sound and heaviness.
Everything that vocalist Brendan Murphy sings on this record is filled with emotion, which speaks to me that every song means something and nothing was written for filler. The song “Separate Wounds” is an amazing track, both lyrically and instrumentally. It touches on the subject of hurting internally, and longing for better days of not feeling broken, which seems to be the lyrical theme of this album as a whole. Counterparts always have some of the most beautiful lyrics in the whole genre of metalcore, and this album further proves that statement to be true.
The production on this album is also very well done – nothing is overproduced and every track is perfectly mixed. The breakdowns are heavy but still have that melodic ambiance to them which I really love. Influence from melodic hardcore bands from the past is prevalent; bands such as The Ghost Inside, Have Heart, and Stick To Your Guns. Each track brings something different to the table, whether that be lyrically or technicality of the instrumentals, each song is different. For example, the song “Cherished” features a gorgeous soft section during the last minute or so of the song with spoken lyrics, unclean, and clean all featured during that one minute, which is absolutely beautiful.
This is their best album since their sophomore effort The Current Will Carry Us (2011). The last track on this album, which happens to be the title track, is a beautiful mix of clean, slow instrumentals and heavy distortion-filled sections. It also features clean singing on-top of distant unclean vocals, which makes it sound like an early Turnover or Trophy Eyes song. This track matches the lyrics of the first track of the album, “Will you love me when there’s nothing left to love?”, which makes it a perfect way to end the album. In my eyes, this album is close to perfect and is one of the best releases I have heard all year. If you are a heavy music fan or are open to new material, you need to hear this now.