Following up from last year’s full-length effort, ‘You’re Not You Anymore’, melodic hardcore outfit Counterparts have unleashed ‘Private Rooms’, an EP of previously unreleased b-sides. In less than eight minutes, the Canadians display why they’re one of the leading acts of the genre.
‘Monument’ kicks off with a distorted melody before a barrage of drum rolls and razor sharp riffs dominate the soundscape. Cutting through the sonic field is the raw vocals of Brendan Murphy, directing the audience from stop-start riffs to creeping lead melodies.
The compositional skill is flawless on each track, effectively using space to keep the tension building to its last possible moment before allowing a chorus to burst open.
Both guitarists, Adrian Lee and Blake Hardman, take an inspired approach to song structure by seamlessly switching from one riff to the next to keep intrigue. The use of shifting dynamics is highlighted in ‘We Forgive’ by scuttling from post-hardcore breakdowns towards a pop-punk style second verse.
The jarring tonal changes are kept coherent, not only by the vocal work of Murphy that’s on display, but also the solid percussion of Kyle Brownlee. From thunderous kick drums to snapping snares, Brownlee keeps precision amidst chaos, guiding us from section to section.
Regardless of the technical ability on display, the group still maintain focus on hooks and storytelling. This is shown throughout, most notably on ‘Selfishly I Sink’ with lines such as “The water left me filthy, but somehow you’re completely clean”, allowing an emotional core to a claustrophobic and urgent track.
From start-to-finish, Counterparts deliver a screeching effort, filled with bludgeoning rhythms and swirling melodies. Regardless of the fact that the release is composed entirely of unused b-sides, the group have delivered a thunderous offering.