Counterparts on Transformation and 'Tragedy Will Find Us'
Published Jul 20, 2015On the title alone, Tragedy Will Find Us — the latest album from Hamilton metalcore quintet Counterparts — seems despondent and defeatist.
"I went through a significant change and had some bullshit happen to me a couple of months before the recording process, and that sort of set the tone for the lyrical content of the record," vocalist Brendan Murphy tells Exclaim! "Prior to recording I didn't have much written. The one positive that came of it was that I had material to write songs about. I feel like this record is somewhat bleak throughout, but the resolve is more positive, and when people ask why the record is called what it is, there is sort of a positive spin on that. All of our records have a silver lining in them, in that there are 11 songs on the record, and for 10 of them it's fucking miserable, but there are shreds of hope scattered throughout."
Murphy explains that the lyrics ultimately deliver an underlying message of hope and a cautionary tale of sorts.
"Whether it's learning not to make the same mistake twice, or whether it's realizing 'fuck, now this is something I have to get over,' it makes you a stronger person. You have to realize that no matter who you are or what precautions you take, something terrible will eventually happen to you, and you have two choices: let it affect you and bring you down for the rest of your life, or get over it and hopefully pull yourself through it, and that's where I think the positivity aspect comes from."
Having formed in 2007, Counterparts have built a dedicated following, and many have found comfort in Murphy's shared angst over the last three albums.
"Since The Difference Between Hell and Home, I started writing more metaphorically, and it opened it up to being interpreted in many different ways. It allows people to put their own spin on things. I think I have — maybe not a responsibility, but I owe it to myself to try and not write bullshit lyrics that don't mean anything to anybody, especially me. Even when I go back and listen to certain songs on the record I'm like 'Oh fuck, I don't know what I was trying to say with that one, but whatever, it's in the past,' but then someone will come up at a show and say it's their favourite song. It just sort of solidifies that we're here for the right reasons."
Counterparts have steadily gained ground; each new album represents a leap in maturity and the songs on Tragedy Will Find Us are a result of finding a sonic space to call their own.
"With Hell and Home, we found our sweet spot, where we thought 'these are the kind of songs we should be writing,' and I think that Tragedy Will Find Us is a direct continuation of that. It was about trimming the fat and cutting the things that we think are sub-par or just unnecessary or that get in the way of our band progressing."
With this release, both foreign and familiar elements are present, but Murphy makes it clear that above all else, Counterparts refuse to stagnate.
"I feel like one of the worst things a band can do is put out the same record four times. It shows that there's no growth at all and that you aren't comfortable in your musicianship. This is the most accessible version of Counterparts, and is a more well-rounded and cohesive version of our band. It's just us getting older and saying 'This is what we need to do, and this is what we need to sound like.'"
Tragedy Will Find Us is out July 24 on New Damage/Pure Noise Records. You can stream it all below and see the group's upcoming summer/fall tour schedule here.