Counterparts – ‘Nothing Left To Love’

By Dave Stewart

If you’re a metalcore fan and you aren’t aware of Counterparts yet, where have you been? They’re one of the driving forces behind the modern movement, spearheading the revival of the genre and inspiring a new wave of bands to follow in their footsteps. Their exquisite balance between melody and melancholy is second to none, earning them an incredible reputation for both unrelenting live shows and high quality records to match. ‘Nothing Left To Love’ is their latest offering of the latter, and if you were expecting yet another hefty slice of metallic hardcore-tinged goodness, then you’ll pleased to know that that’s exactly what this is.

For a band that flaunt their love for The Wedding Singer and constantly play the jester on social media, this album is far from a joke. It effortlessly bridges the gap between nostalgia and modern day sensibilities, evoking an emotional reaction that is both familiar and excitingly refreshing. In places this feels like a classic noughties emo record, generously slathering thick layers of angst over the top of a sea of uptempo and unforgettable melodies. In others it feels like a step into a new world, blending those traits with punishing hardcore breaks, technical metalcore wizardry, and a level of clarity and class that few bands in their genre manage to match.

A prime example of this is ‘Separate Wounds’, planting its feet firmly in both the punishing metalcore and heart-wrenching emo territories. Delicate and hypnotic melodies tiptoe their way around staggering riffs and calamitous chugs, managing to serenade you and boil your blood simultaneously. ‘Ocean of Another’ utilises a similar formula, weaving strands of infectious guitar licks with emotionally driven vocals and a jolting closing crescendo that hits you right in the feels. You’ve also got the addictive ‘Imprints’, which serves a generous slice of classic Counterparts with an added twist of clean vocals – a trait that the band haven’t dabbled much with in the past. This only represents a portion of what this record has to offer, though, and if you came here for the heavies then you won’t be disappointed.

‘Your Own Knife’ is a tornado of devastation, leaving nothing but rubble in its wake. High octane drums, thrash-tinged riffs and wrath-fuelled vocals drive it along at break-neck pace, colliding head on with an unbelievably heavy breakdown that’s decorated with the words “I should’ve let you die.” ‘The Hands That Used To Hold Me’ is a heartbreaking tale of loss, made even heavier by the blend of raw vocal delivery, stunning lead guitar work and throat-throttling palm mutes. ‘Cherished’ is a murky and brooding affair, lead single ‘Wings Of Nightmares’ is a frantic hardcore gem, album closer ‘Nothing Left To Love’ is a dramatic and emotive change of pace – this is a diverse, mesmerising and hard hitting record. They’ve done it again.

There isn’t anything that this band can do wrong. Not a single thing. Every record they release is a natural progression from the last, their songwriting and musicianship on a seemingly endless upward trajectory. Not only is the record full to the brim with melody and colossal hooks, but the riffs are meatier, the licks are fancier, the drums are harder, and the vocals are nastier. Will they ever peak? Inevitably they will, one day. But if they keep on going the way they’re going, it’ll be quite the spectacle when it happens.

The title ‘Nothing Left To Love’ may have a strong connection to the lyrical content, but it definitely doesn’t represent the album as a whole. There is plenty to love here. If you aren’t already infatuated with this band, this record will have you stood outside their house throwing rocks at their bedroom window, holding your boombox over your head blasting Whitney Houston at full volume, asking them to be your date to the prom. A passionate and mature record from one of the genres most under-valued diamonds.

DAVE STEWART

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