Review Summary: Death is my birthright.
As a whole, Tragedy Will Find Us
is a noticeably darker affair than Counterparts’ previous LP The Difference Between Hell And Home
. While, lyrically, Brendan Murphy still wallows in self-degradation (to a slightly greater degree that TDBHAH), it’s the music that makes most of the difference. The album is laced with dashes of melancholy and moody riffs pound underneath the melodies from start to finish. There’s anger as well and plenty of it, the kind of emotion that greatly empowers the furious melodic hardcore Counterparts excel at. Tragedy Will Find Us
mostly continues where The Difference Between Hell And Home
left off, but there’s a little bit of all the band’s releases in it, and it’s all the better for it.
Alongside the change toward a more negative mood, Counterparts have effectively streamlined their sound to an extent. It’s not so much that they were uncoordinated before, but now a bit of unnecessary fluff has been cut (especially the tacked on clean vocals from TDBHAH’s “Outlier”). On the other hand, many of the dissonant riffs from The Difference Between Hell And Home
are absent in favor of more closely entwined melodies and chords. The album feels as condensed as it could possibly be without feeling empty. Despite that, there are a few moments that seem a bit unfinished. The first two minutes of “Burn” are some of the most inspired moments of Counterparts’ career, but the rest of the track does flounder a bit in muted clean guitars. It’s just the feeling that the track was meant to go somewhere further that robs it of some bite, but for all that it’s still one of the best tracks on the album. “Thread” is a textbook example of Counterparts’ usual fare, yet succeeds by being the best incarnation of this. “Choke” is refreshing as a break from melody into vicious mosh fare, but it bears a suspiciously striking resemblance to “Slave” from The Difference Between Hell And Home
. “Solace” closes the album on a strong note with mournful clean guitars that strike precisely the way they need to. Brendan Murphy’s vocals have never sounded as scathing as he does here, with his desperate screams tearing welcomingly across the entire record. In addition, he’s expanded his palette with a smattering of spoken word lines dropped haphazardly across the album’s runtime. While it’s not quite true spoken word like something out of a mewithoutYou song, it comes intriguingly close on “Burn”. His lyrics are more or less the same as they always have been, dragging the songs through mires of self-hatred and failure. Murphy’s lyrics are well written for a certainty, though it does get to be a bit much after a few LPs worth of these themes. As if in answer, songs like “Stranger” and “Solace” seem to focus more on getting past life’s pitfalls. It’s an interesting contrast to the sounds and words the rest of the record employs, but it works exceedingly well regardless.
Essentially, Tragedy Will Find Us
is an album about getting past tragedy and not drowning in it. Buried within the dark soundscape there are uplifting moments to combat the desolation. In between lines about feeling lost or broken and giving up there are times when Counterparts wants you to see the silver lining instead of the dreary bodies of grey clouds. It feels like a welcome response to the changes in Counterparts’ sound as a result. By the time “Solace” strains into nothingness, it seems certain that the band has reached its musical peak by composing an album about letting tragedy find you and then becoming stronger for facing it head on.