There’s a lot of things you can do in less than 10 minutes; take a quick walk around the block, lose plenty of Fortnite matches, or if you’re Counterparts, absolutely blow everybody’s fucking minds. Coming in at three songs and clocking a miniscule run time of six minutes and forty seconds, Private Room is the latest effort from the Canadian five-piece who only last year released one of 2017’s premiere heavy records in You’re Not You Anymore. Counterparts are Brendan Murphy (vocals), Adrian Lee (guitar), Blake Hardman (guitar), Kyle Brownlee (drums), and Tyler Williams (bass).
Announced as a collection of B-Sides off their two previous records, I was unsure what to expect. Sometimes disappointing, I’ve found that B-sides can occasionally justify the decision of their creators to leave them unreleased. After the success of the previous Counterparts album I struggled to overcome an expectation that this new EP would fail to live up to the hype I had for it. With Counterparts as my concierge, I checked into Private Room.
It takes roughly seven seconds for me to realise how wrong I was about this EP. From the opening guitar lead of “Monument” that explodes into a maniacal mess of drumming, riveting bass lines and sinister guitar it is abundantly clear that no sane part of me should have ever doubted this band. Chaotic as Counterparts always are, it takes the band less than forty seconds to produce one of the year’s biggest breakdowns, one that arguably belongs amongst the band’s best. Dark and destructive, the song’s lyrics will reverberate through listener’s ears, no more so than the vicious “put a fucking bullet through my head”, the EP could end here and there is no doubt in my mind I would walk away satisfied.
Where “Monument” was two minutes of fury, extremely harsh and to the point, “Selfishly I Sink” presents a different side to the band. It is ruthless to begin, before leading into verses that showcase the band’s diverse capabilities. The punchy chugs compliment Murphy’s unforgiving vocals and there is no reprieve from the incessant brand of hardcore that Counterparts have become known for. Almost like clockwork, the song explodes angrily, with only the briefest of build-ups cautioning listeners of the incoming eruption. Defying all laws of time, a breakdown is thrown in at the end of the song for good measure, leaving me pleasantly surprised that the band can fit so much in so little time.
Unlike the two previous songs which could’ve both found their way onto You’re Not You Anymore, the EP’s final track “We Forgive” is a much more mysterious concoction. More like the band during their Tragedy Will Find Us era, the song is similarly reminiscent of the band’s 2013 effort The Difference Between Hell and Home. For a band that often creep along genre lies, making them hard to pin to one category, “We Forgive” is a fulfilling piece of melodic hardcore. Easily the most atmospheric of the three tracks on the EP, the song sounds positively vibrant, a welcome change from the self-depreciative and intense brand of hardcore that fans have grown accustomed to.
Although the stay was short, Private Room is a frenzied collection of songs that showcase Counterparts’ ability to tip-toe genre boundaries. The fact that any of these songs could even be considered B-Sides is a testament to the consistent quality of the band’s releases. Bringing the band’s uncompromising brand of hardcore to the forefront again, Private Room is an EP that will be enjoyed by new and old fans alike.
Private Room is out now (7th September) via Pure Noise Records. You can stream it through all good streaming services or pick up a copy here: http://counterparts.merchnow.com/
Please sir, may I have some more?
Intense and unforgiving hardcore. Diverse despite the small quantity. Ridiculously efficient despite the short run time