Review Summary: In their utter refusal to progress, Counterparts head down the long and winding road to irrelevance.
Oh how well trodden this path has become, the road filled with the countless footprints of many melodic hardcore bands who’ve vainly tried to make their mark on history. These are the same footprints of those who’ve become mere flashes in the pan, as well as those who fizzled out before ever being noticed. It’s become rather difficult to pay any attention to newcomers, as they simply blend into the glut of metalcore/hardcore acts that have proceeded to form a singular, stagnated sound. Although bands that have stood out before, namely Misery Signals and Architects, did a lot for the genre in regards to popularity and prestige, they did more bad than good, exacerbating the stagnation and lack of ideas.
Enter Counterparts, an Ontario act who’s received quite a lot of attention since their debut, Prophets
. Fusing passion and heaviness, Counterparts has captured the hearts of many with their metalcore tinged brand of hardcore. They’re a confident group of young musicians that much is sure, but their sound is derivative to the point that they simply refuse to make a name for themselves. They’ve wrung dry every cliché, making their latest, The Current Will Carry Us
nothing more than a tired, vapid excursion into something that’s been done to death, and by many bands better than them.
Perhaps it’s being too harsh to call The Current Will Carry Us
expressly bad. It’s not. Even the most menial aspects of the album show at least a modicum of redemption. The young men of Counterparts are very competent musicians, with each member displaying a very nice amount of proficiency in regards to their craft. The vocals, despite being a carbon copy of every melodic hardcore band post-2005, are rather amiable, and never once sound too forced or too trite. There’s a lot of power behind them, and Brendan Murphy has great control. The rest of the band matches Murphy in skill, sowing off a nice amount of technicality, whilst also being somewhat reserved.
There isn’t a whole lot to complain about when speaking of the separate components of The Current Will Carry Us
, as Counterparts is a solid group of artists. Where the album fails is in its songwriting. To put it plainly, there’s nothing here to captivate or excite. It bowls along its linear path without taking risks, without embracing creativity, and certainly without ever offering up something refreshing. Without even finishing it, The Current Will Carry Us
becomes stale; a forgettable and bland outing that tries to emulate Misery Signals and Defeater to the point of absurdity. The album is composed of eleven average length songs, each containing “furious bouts of passion and melody,” when they each have the intensity of a wet blanket. Even after repeated listens it becomes difficult to discern the difference between songs like “The Disconnect” and “The Constant.” The album runs its course, nary making a wave, until it just sort of ends- a fitting end to an album which lacks any sort of visceral ingenuity.
The Current Will Carry Us
is in no way a bad album, it’s just mediocre. Little flourishes of greatness sprout out here and there, mainly in the form of “Thank God” and “Sinking,” but the rest sort of fades into irrelevance. Said songs see the band starting to step out of their comfort zone, experimenting just a tad to break up the monotony. It’s sad, really, considering that Counterparts have so much more to offer. Regardless, their sophomore effort is nothing more than a withered attempt at something profound.