Review Summary: No more blood to bleed
The tale of Brendan Murphy always sounds like that of a man constantly attempting to escape the fringes of tragedy but always being dragged back in by whatever outer means there are. This is evident from the start with the shift between Prophets
and The Current Will Carry Us,
going from the excessive youthful bonfire of hope to a flickering candlelight. By the time we arrive to an album like Tragedy Will Find Us
, hope has been sucked dry and the inevitability of tragedy has become a swarming black hole. The self deprecation and struggles with depression are something that Brendan Murphy has always brandished deep into the core of Counterparts music, and off of Nothing Left To Love
it is clear that Counterparts have finally reached their root. The blend of somber melancholy and seething anger has finally peaked into something the band was always so close to reaching, and man oh man is it a heavy thing to feel.
It's immediately present off of "Love Me". The atmosphere is much more oppressive and the vocals more scathing than ever, even if all that's backing it is a chug-a-lug 0-000-00 "riff". However you'd be fooled to believe that the guitar work here has been stripped into anything irritatingly basic, since "Wings of Nightmares" features some of the most lush melodies ever to grace the ears. There's a very mathcore-like intricacy without the mechanical nature of mathcore present off this whole album, which is both present off the constantly fleeting melodies and chugs as well as in the subtly intricate drum patterns. Speaking of which, the drum work off this album is beyond the shadow of a doubt the best heard from Counterparts. The level of dynamics are incredible, such as that on "Ocean of Another", as things switch from chaotic constant drum fills to softly audible cymbal crashes during the tracks airier moments.
Musically, this is incredibly accomplished and dynamic as a whole, as we are taken from the aforementioned chaotic beauty of "Ocean of Another" to the spacey drunken haze of the title track. It's not like Counterparts have never done a track solely based on atmosphere and crescendoing(?) melancholy, (I.e, Decay) but god it feels so potent here. The way the lines "did the mother of god cry for her son" sound so genuinely broken and defeated is heart wrenching, as are the visceral screams of the one simple question that has been present all throughout- will you love me when there's nothing left to love? This is where my admittedly major bias takes place, as the chills I feel are undoubtedly not from the freakish cold of my bedroom in the midst of November. I was a self deprecating 16 y/o who felt like an anchor dragging down the world when I heard lines like "expose me for all that I am/the man behind the masquerade/I am my own false witness". I related to the feelings of worthlessness, of tearing apart every aspect of ugliness within me. Now at 21 things have come full circle and I am back to my starting point, with every major advancement being torn back down by my own inability to have confidence or self love. However, within both myself and this record there is a silver lining, and that is that there is always the ability to progress. To escape the suffocating nature of one's own mindset and bloom into something beautiful. That maybe, just maybe, when there's no more blood to bleed there's still something to hold onto.