Live Review: Counterparts w/Napoleon & Polar at Southampton Joiners 19/11/2017!

Opening up tonight are Exeter’s progressive melodic hardcore band Napoleon [4]. Now when I say “progressive melodic hardcore” that’s probably the loosest possible description of the style of music the band play. Guitarist Sam Osborn plays some technical riffs using a combination of sweep picking, tapping and strumming, while vocalist Wesley Thompson screams through the lyrics. The guitar tone isn’t particularly heavy and the but Osborn gets through the work of two guitarists and demonstrates some serious talent. Tonight the band hammer through a set mostly consisting of songs from their 2016 album “Newborn Mind” and prove once again that Basick Records unearth some serious talent. “Afterlife” and “Brought Here To Suffer” go down a storm.

Guildford’s Polar [4] play a brand of hardcore punk that brings the mosh, their twin guitar attack brings bounce and an altogether different kind of energy to the Joiners. Andy Woodford’s barked vocal is backed up by gang chants from guitarists Fabian Lomas and Tom Green throughout. What the band lack in technicality they make up for with passion and energy. “Black Days” and “Blood For Blood” are set highlights and vocalist Andy Woodford stops the set and says “This venue is as cold as my heart. Show us some love”, up goes a roar before a circle pit kicks off. The band’s 2016 album “No Cure, No Saviour” on Prosthetic Records is the source for most of the material on show tonight, the bands final show of 2017.

Canadian’s Counterparts [5] have travelled a long way from Hamilton, Ontario for this European headlining run in support of critically acclaimed album “You’re Not You Anymore”. While the band are hungover and dehydrated, it’s the last night of the UK leg of this tour and a sold out show, so they step up and deliver in style. Frontman Brendan Murphy talks to the crowd while guitarists Blake Hardman and Adrian Lee sort out a couple of technical issues at several points during the set, but what he has to say demonstrates how humble the band are and happy to be here. He does however say that the band won’t be playing anything from their “Prophets” album and instead rattle through a set which contains five songs from the new album in “Bouquet”, “No Servant of Mine”, “Haunt Me”, “Thieves” and “Rope”. Throughout the set are constant sing-a-longs, stage dives, crowd surfing and audience members on the stage. “Choke” and “Burn” from 2015’s “Tragedy Will Always Find Us” go down a storm while the band literally stop playing for a couple of seconds during “The Disconnect” for the crowd to sing the line “I hate the world, I hate myself” in impromptu fashion. They will be back in February to support Architects and While She Sleeps at Alexandria Palace. It’s going to be awesome.

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