Counterparts “The Difference Between Hell and Home” Album Review

UntitledToday in the highly inundated assortment of hardcore bands, it has become a true feat to stand out and bring something new to the mix. Hamilton, Ontario natives, Counterparts, are a special band that can’t quite be defined exclusively by one genre, always seeming to do things in their own way, definitely setting themselves apart from the crowd. While Counterparts’ new record, The Difference Between Hell and Home, may not be the most groundbreaking, it displays the band’s steady progression and dedication to putting a unique twist on the melodic hardcore sound.

The Difference Between Hell and Home is an overall great album, with not much to dislike. The unequivocal highlights of the album are the catchy melodic parts, fast paced and on-par drumming, and the flickers of genius delivered through remarkable guitar work.  The record opens with “Lost”, which is a throwback to the band’s previous album The Current Will Carry Us. With fervent passion placed behind the howling vocals, the song is a nod to Counterpart’s prior work and an indication for the newer, more aggressive sound to be found throughout the album’s entirety.  “Ghost” makes fabulous use of roaring vocals and fast, in-your-face melodic guitar work, smoothly transitioning into the next song.  The frenetic opening to “Debris” is a tantalizing taste of the complete energy overload to be heard later on. The drumming and guitar work are killer, and the song is undoubtedly mosh-worthy.  “Outlier” works to perfectly balance Counterparts’ both melodic and hardcore edges, all the while showcasing the band’s lyrical talents.  Arguably the heaviest song off the record, “Witness” offers a dark and deeply emotive performance with lyrics and instrumentals set to match.

The softer side of Counterparts is revealed with “Decay”, which was my favorite track off The Difference Between Hell and Home, and the beautifully tranquil, melodic guitars mesh well with the spoken vocals.  The aesthetically unique and placid sound of “Decay” is evocative of an intermixing between Counterparts’ hardcore side and the melodic post-rock harmonies of bands, such as Moving Mountains or Explosions In The Sky. “Compass”, “Wither”, and “Cursed” are three impressive tracks, all showcasing excellent guitar work, well-written lyrics, and intricate drumming.  Hardcore punk influences can be clearly heard on “Slave”, which was a refreshingly unique break from the sounds of the previous tracks. Finally the album culminates with “Soil”, which includes some impressive technical instrumentation and genuine sentiment.

Counterparts has evolved tremendously since the days of The Current Will Carry Us, and their continual growth and commitment to playing music their way has all significantly paid off with the release of The Difference Between Hell and Home. While the record isn’t the most innovative melodic hardcore album out there, it does have flashes of brilliance and instances where Counterpart’s definitely adds their unique touch. This is a record that will truly be loved by both new and long-time fans alike, because it is indeed Counterparts at their very best. Be sure to get your own copy of The Difference Between Hell and Home, set to release July 23 via Victory Records. For more information about Counterparts, check out their Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/counterpartshc), or visit the band’s website (http://www.counterpartshc.com/).

-Lauren L.

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