By: BRADLEY ZORGDAGER
Oct. 25 was a big day for Ontario metal/hardcore. Arguably the province’s two biggest heavy bands, Counterparts and Structures, dropped their new albums on their new labels – Victory Records for the former and Sumerian Records for the latter.
And though Structures fared better according to the numbers – with first-week sales of 1,356 according to Nielsen SoundScan, compared to Counterparts’ 526 – which was better from a musical point of view?
Counterparts took a risk on their newest album, The Current Will Carry Us. They decided to ditch the breakdown laden melodic metalcore for a more melodic hardcore foundation, with breakdowns few and far between.
And it works, mostly.
Oddly enough, for a band that made its name playing a mix of the melodic and heavy, it works best when they separate them.
Album opener, The Disconnect, closes out with melodic tremolo picking, while album closer, Reflection, lays off the distortion pedal and proves that emotion is equally important as motion.
The songs in between, while still catchy, sort of blend together and lose their identity. On tracks such as the aptly titled Uncertainty, Counterparts seems unsure of their new direction and end up sounding like Prophets: Part Two.
Ultimately, their only downfall is their inability to fully commit.
But when Counterparts put aggression before melody on tracks such as I Am No One and Thank God, they prove they’re as adept at playing aggressive music as melodic.
Lead single Jumping Ship ends with the line, “We will be remembered,” and if they keep making music as good as this, they almost certainly will be.
Meanwhile, Structures took a safer route on Divided By. Breakdowns take prevalence over the interesting riffs that broke up the down-tuned beatdowns on the All of the Above EP.
It’s telling that two of the best songs on the album – Encounter… and In Pursuit Of – are re-recorded from the aforementioned EP. But they chose not to re-record Transitions, seemingly because they decided not to incorporate any transitions in these songs, which jump from riff to riff like musical ADD.
Although interesting parts are littered throughout the CD, they disappear as quickly as they come.
Some of the more interesting and diverse parts on the CD, including the pop-punk-esque chorus in Paralyzed, suggest that if Structures branched out instead of broke down, they might have made a truly memorable album.
But their obsession with being brutal gets in the way of potentially interesting songs – such as the melodic, /, (yes, that’s the song title) – which ends in a completely unnecessary breakdown.
With the guest vocals from Emmure, Ion Dissonance and Despised Icon, random sound effects and musical ADD, this album comes off like a circus – fun for a few times, but eventually, you’ve got to grow up.