Counterparts
A Eulogy for Those Still Here


5.0
classic

Review

by Jesper L. STAFF
September 29th, 2022 | 1779 replies


Release Date: 10/07/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: grieving though you haven't left my side

It’s easy to characterise Counterparts as rather straightforward since there is little mystery surrounding the band. You know their new record will not exceed 35 minutes, you’re well aware members rarely last more than two consecutive albums, and you know you can always find Brendan Murphy supplementing his deeply depressing lyrics with deeply unhinged Twitter rants. Yet, it is this very forthrightness that makes Counterparts a reliably excellent band that consistently gives a voice to buried insecurities and uncertainties: moreover, this honesty that underscores their every move makes the band one of the very best in melodic hardcore.

A Eulogy For Those Still Here, Counterparts’ seventh full length, finds Murphy diving headfirst into the familiar topics of death and depression. However, as implied by the album’s title, it’s full of goodbyes and imagined farewells. From poetically contemplating the sustainability of his band on ‘Bound to the Burn’ to the rather literal heartbreak of the urgent ‘Flesh to Fill Your Wounds’, each moment presents a maladaptive take on dealing with loss and an overall lack of control. As much as I wish it weren’t the case, Counterparts have always been painfully in touch with whatever is occupying the darkest corners of my silly little mind. For example, Tragedy Will Find Us seemed to understand my thoughts as a depressed teenager unlike anyone or anything else whereas Nothing Left To Love encapsulated the bleak dread that plagued 2019 and its subsequent year-that-shan’t-be-mentioned. So, of course, as I am no longer attending an educational institution for, ***, the first time in my (relevant) life, and many friends from the past five years are moving (on), Counterparts has to release a record that deals with goodbyes in the bleakest possible way. Of course.

That’s not to say this album actually feels like a farewell. Quite the contrary: if anything, the record explores more sounds and opens more doors than anything Counterparts has ever done. Sure, this might just be something I tell myself to see this new chapter of my life for what it actually is, full of new opportunities, but Eulogy is undeniably Counterparts’ most diverse record. Its three singles, consecutively placed in the tracklist, function as slight red herrings: ‘Whispers Of Your Death’, ‘Bound To The Burn’ and ‘Unwavering Vow’ are each excellent songs, yet do little to differentiate themselves from the sound the band established and refined the past decade. That’s not to say the remainder of the album does not feel like Counterparts - it most certainly does - but rather that the depths of Eulogy implement subtle yet crucial deviations from the band’s formula. Strikingly, there is no ‘Choke’ or ‘Your Own Knife’ to be found here: instead of a dedicated rager, ‘Skin Beneath A Scar’ graces the record with a three-minute post-metal microcosm. It’s the kind of song that could have been a closer on previous records, yet sits comfortably as a delicate break in the urgent onslaught while carefully carving its own silhouette of pain.

Aiding the theme of farewells, Eulogy comprises several references to previous records: the aforementioned ‘Skin Beneath A Scar’ contains melodic nods to ‘Nothing Left To Love’, while the hauntingly gorgeous ‘Soil II’ presents an obvious link to the 2013 track ‘Soil’ (and throws in a ‘tragedy’ mention for good measure). While there is a sense of finality to these self-references, they can also be interpreted as a rekindled flame: as old-school guitarists Jesse Doreen and Alex Re have rejoined the band, Counterparts are palpably re-energised. Yet, between all the gorgeous leads and crushing riffs, Murphy and drummer Kyle Brownlee can be deemed Eulogy’s most explicit MVPs. A song like late-album cut ‘Flesh To Fill Your Wounds’ sets itself apart through the inclusion of more intense, END-like vocals. Similarly, ‘What Mirrors Might Reflect’ feels like a more standard Counterparts song, yet is fueled by scarily precise and ferocious patterns the band has only occasionally toyed with in the past.

Between these expansions, farewells and overall intensities of Eulogy, there are two elephants that should be addressed even though I, eh, kind of don’t want to. Firstly, the imagined goodbye of ‘Whispers Of Your Death’ has sadly come true: Murphy’s cat recently passed away, and it is downright heartbreaking. In a sense, it shrouds the record in even more darkness: if one such hypothetical loss could come true, what does that mean for the other potential tragedies? Okay, I’m going to stop tearing up now and move on to the second thing: the closer ‘A Mass Grave Of Saints’. It’s simply too fantastic: in essence, it condenses all of Counterparts’ best traits and newly explored sounds of Eulogy into one massive track. It’s as catchy as it is heartbreaking; it builds to a crushing finale while not wasting a single moment of its five minute runtime. It’s the perfect sendoff for Counterparts’ most important and most painfully honest record. RIP Kuma.



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user ratings (470)
4
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other reviews of this album
Tyler W. CONTRIBUTOR (5)
In memory of Kuma...

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Comments:Add a Comment 
JesperL
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2022


4862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

out oct 7th

cri

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2022


17493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I need to listen to this band more. Fantastic review

cloakanddagger
September 29th 2022


614 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Excited for this one when it drops. RIP Kuma

Slex
September 29th 2022


15243 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Beautiful review



This blows everything else I have heard this year to smithereens

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2022


4862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thx guys < 3



you rly do yoyo, cool thing is that you can start/continue p much anywhere in their discog and it'll be excellent at worst

YoYoMancuso
Contributing Reviewer
September 29th 2022


17493 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Slex how hath you managed to hear this

SteakByrnes
September 29th 2022


28244 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Insanely good review jesp, might be your best yet. Also I feel like the lyrics on this one will destroy me

Durrzo
September 29th 2022


2827 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review man. This album deserves all the love, absolutely top tier. And yeah, it's a feels juggernaut. I haven't been this emotionally affected by an album in quite some time. First spin was all goosebumps and misty eyes.

onionbubs
September 29th 2022


16527 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

very stoked to jam this later tonight when i can. the claims that its their most diverse has me particularly excited

JayEnder
September 29th 2022


16284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This one is for Kuma.



Don't even know what to say really other than this band just cemented themselves as the greatest of all time in this genre. How they outdo themselves every fucking time is beyond me. Soil II actually got me to tear up man, standing ovation for these guys.



Flesh to Fill Your Wounds too WHEWWW what a crusher.

JayEnder
September 29th 2022


16284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Spectacular review as well Jespy, you certainly did this album justice. I imagine this was hard to tackle.

loveisamixtape
September 29th 2022


11844 Comments


saw them play whispers of your death at FF and he literally said "there's nowhere else i'd rather be at home with my cat" as the final notes happened, highly memorable, jamming this now and it's the best album of theirs since TWFU like easily. always will have a soft spot for this band

great review also

YuriZakhaev
September 29th 2022


843 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

For Kuma, baby

JesperL
Staff Reviewer
September 29th 2022


4862 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

thanks so much bois, was def a hard one lol. rly helps that i've had this for several weeks (also in making sure this is an actual proper 5)

mass grave of saints is def my fav, the "a requiem.." part is unreal

loveisamixtape
September 29th 2022


11844 Comments


unwavering vow and what mirrors might reflect are my two favs, mass grave is prob 3

Lender
September 29th 2022


203 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

God I cant wait to listen to this. Awesome review.

Gmork89
September 29th 2022


8445 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Now begins my search for the leak.

Durrzo
September 29th 2022


2827 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I thought it was crazy statement when he initially made it, but now I kinda get what Brendan meant when he said he'd delete their entire discography to keep this album. Imo this is a straight up massive ascendance. They've felt somewhat bound by their own style for quite some time, but this album smashes that mold, manages to keep all the best pieces, and builds something that stands in an entirely different league than their previous works.



If I had to make that call I think I'd agree with him.

Slex
September 29th 2022


15243 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Correct

MyColdShoulder
September 29th 2022


483 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Damn this exciting, the 7th can't come sooner



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