Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell… (2013)


There has always been something about Counterparts that stood out to me. Whichever genre pool you want to throw them in, you can admit they have their own way of doing things. I didn’t become a listener until the Exalt split, but after The Current Will Carry Us was released, it was apparent that this band was great at progressing naturally. After hearing the band would be releasing its third full length, The Difference Between Hell and Home, I pictured they would either take the more melodic side of The Current Will Carry Us and run with it, or go down the route of the heavier parts. Upon listening to the new record, I was pleasantly surprised.

The record starts off with “Lost,” a song that features nothing too unfamiliar coming from The Current Will Carry Us, but it does seem a bit more aggressive right from the start. “Ghost” is definitely a fast song with some roaring vocals throughout the verses. The guitars get extremely melodic and in your face at times in this track. There is also a nice heavy break in the song. “Debris” starts off with some chaotic instrumentals. The way these three songs flow into one another is incredible because it feels so natural. I’m sure you want me to tell you which of the first two records this one sounds like, but three songs in, I can truthfully say it’s on its own pedestal (no pun intended). Another huge thing I immediately noticed was the progression in the vocals. Rather than just hearing them, you feel them.

“Outlier” has some insane transitions, and it also has some awesome lyrical work. So far out of the first couple songs on The Difference Between Hell and Home, this one has the best balance of melodic and heavy. The clean vocals towards the end click extremely well with the vibe of the song. “Witness” is the first song without the use of the infamous punk beat right from the start. The song also gets a lot heavier than what you may have expected from new Counterparts. The lyrics in this track are extremely dark, and the delivery is very emotional. “Decay” slows things up a bit. It’s the “Reflection” of The Difference Between Hell and Home, if you will. Instrumentally, this is Counterparts’ most beautiful song to date. The guitars just provide a sense of peace and serenity. The spoken word-type vocals are new for the band, but naturally transform into the yelling you all know and love by the end of the song. “Decay” makes for a wonderful interlude.

Next up is “Compass”. What do I even say about this song? It has everything: fast parts, heavy parts, melodic parts and one of the most impressive outros I have ever heard in melodic hardcore. The song also includes one of the most distinctive lyrics on the record, in my opinion: “I’m scratching at my skin to take my mind off the absence we created.” I’ve listened to the record quite a few times now and the outro gives me chills every time. “Wither” was the first single to be released and it’s a great choice for a single. I think this is the only song on the record that can be honestly compared to the band’s previous work. “Cursed” brings some super unique guitar work to the table, and also some of the most intricate drumming on the record. “Slave” was a HUGE surprise. The hardcore/punk influences are strong in this song, and it’s the most chaotic, aggressive, technical, heavy song from Counterparts to date. “Soil” is a glorious album closer. It contains a tiny bit of everything from the previous songs, yet sets itself apart from them. The way “Soil” fades out is a wonderful farewell from The Difference Between Hell and Home.

If you really sit down and pick apart this record, you will notice how much more Counterparts put into this release and how much they progressed yet again. The Difference Between Hell and Home really is a display of the band at their absolute best – it’s a melodic hardcore masterpiece. Old fans will absolutely love it, and so will the kids who choose teams between Prophets and The Current Will Carry Us like this is some damn Twilight movie. I feel that even those kids can mutually agree that this is Counterparts at their best. Be sure to support a great, hardworking, dedicated band and pick up The Difference Between Hell and Home through Victory Records on July 23.