Review Summary: The Current Will Carry Us represents a transitional point in the band's style that further separates them from their peers.
Counterparts have been dealing with expectations for the better part of a year now. After exploding onto the underground metalcore scene with the release of 2010’s Prophets
, the band has gathered a vocal following and speculation ran rampant over the expected sound of their sophomore effort. Prophets
– to its credit – was a fantastic debut album, combining technically impressive sections with soaring melodic passages and hardcore-esque vocal patterns. Perhaps the biggest shining point was the album’s originality, which is something that dozens of other bands their age are struggling to find. However, Counterparts were only beginning to find their true sound, and changes were expected in their overall style going forward. The Current Will Carry Us
contains clear evidence of those changes, sacrificing the harder riffs and breakdowns found in Prophets
for more of a hardcore approach. The result is a superb set of eleven songs that push Counterparts further towards the cusp of stardom.
Right from the opening track “The Disconnect”, it’s not hard to notice the deviations from Prophets
. The most noticeable change is in the production, where a grittier sound makes for a rawer product than their more polished previous work. The melodies are also different, but they aren’t being restrained as much as reshaped to better fit the songs. Instead of being used to constantly change pacing and flow, the band uses them as complements to the riffs and lets the tracks progress naturally. The outcome is a more controlled and mature attitude that really shines through in the music. It’s also clear that the vocals were slightly forced in Prophets
, having to stand out using a hardcore style among the chaotic metalcore song structures. Here, the vocals take a step forward and they are far more effective in the grand scheme of things.
Counterparts have always had a theme of individualism and self-improvement in their lyrics, and there is more of the same to be found on this album. However, instead of taking an uplifting approach twice in a row, the band has focused instead on more negative subject matter. Lines like “All my heroes have failed me, but I will never fail myself” and “I want to thank you for never being there; your absence has forced me to find my own way” dismiss the need for depending on others and call for a requirement to rise above the failings of others. This content shift goes hand-in-hand with the transition in the sound, making for a darker and more desperate atmosphere.
It’s impossible to speculate the future for a band that has already played two different styles on their only two albums. Though it would be asinine to suggest that the band has already peaked and will start the slow-but-steady downward spiral into mediocrity, it’s not out of the question to do so. After all, how many bands have been unable to continue promising starts and end up fading into the background? Still, the band looks poised to break out in a big way and this album will only add fuel to that fire. As long as Counterparts remain self-aware of their ability to stand out among the majority of their bland peers, they will likely go as far as they want to take themselves.