10 Heaviest Metalcore Breakdowns: Counterparts Singer's Picks | Revolver

10 Heaviest Metalcore Breakdowns: Counterparts Singer's Picks

Brendan Murphy hails chugga-chugga parts from Eighteen Visions, Misery Signals and more
Counterparts brendan murphy live 2022 1600x900, George Girvan
photograph by George Girvan

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Brendan Murphy knows a thing or two about breakdowns. Since 2007, he's fronted the Canadian band Counterparts, who play an emotionally scarred version of metalcore that makes you want to mosh and cry cathartically at the same time. More recently, he's been pulling double-duty as the vocalist of END, the ballistically heavy supergroup who mash metalcore, deathcore and hardcore into one breakdown-y pulp.

On October 7th, Counterparts will finally release their devastatingly dark and heavy new album, A Eulogy for Those Still Here, and in honor of the many creative breakdowns that lie within its tracklist, we asked Murphy to reveal his personal canon of choice chugga-chugga cuts.

Below, are his 10 favorite breakdowns in all of metalcore history, paired with his uniquely hilarious and insighful descriptions. 

Misery Signals - The Year Summer Ended in June

Hands down my favorite metalcore song of all time. Probably one of the main reasons Counterparts even exists. Shout out to Misery Signals for not only ripping my heart out of my chest the first time I heard it, but also for, in a roundabout way, letting me have a career where I can show up to work drunk, yell and somehow still get paid for it. 

Poison The Well - "Nerdy"

Not only one of the first breakdowns I ever heard, but also one of the first times I heard a band use panic chords. Maybe they're called dissonant chords? I don't know I'm not a little fucking music boy, I just yell. Opposite of December as a whole did so much.

On Broken Wings - "Listless"

I remember hearing this breakdown for the first time and not having a clue what was about to happen when that evil-sounding pick scrape hit. The same breakdown again but SLOWER?! Shit broke my brain. Also, On Broken Wings shows to this day are up there for some of the most violent shit I've ever witnessed. Imagine being a 19-year-old Canadian and seeing this shit pop off in the northeast for the first time. Terrifying.

It Dies Today - "Sentiments of You"

I feel like a lot of people would argue with me about this versus the "My Promise" breakdown, but I said what I said. I've loved The Caitiff Choir since the week it came out. I was a huge Trustkill/Ferret fanboy. I always assumed that the Caitiff Choir was the first material they ever released until one day Jesse [Doreen, Counterparts guitarist] and I were driving through the middle of nowhere in Northern Ontario on tour. I remember the Caitiff Choir ended and Forever Scorned started playing...then this breakdown hit. The EP is so fucking hard. 

The Banner - "Funerals"

"Oh please god, I can't take another fucking funeral." Like bro are you KIDDING? This breaking is a liability. Irresponsible, even. Frailty front to back is full of psycho pit parts but this one will always stand out to me.

The Bled - "Red Wedding"

So the way I found out about The Bled is insane. I'm not sure if it was popular in America but in Canada, everyone would use MSN Messenger instead of AIM. I remember there was some goofy plugin you could download called MSN Plus that would let you send sound clips to your friends and one day, some random stranger on the internet sent me a clip of the end of "Porcelain Hearts and Hammers for Teeth." "I'd burn alive for you" over and over — I had to know who it was.

The gatekeeping was strong back then so eventually, after enough begging on my end, I found out it was a band called The Bled. I bought the record from HMV the next day, and the "Porcelain" breakdown was one-upped two minutes and 13 seconds after I hit play. "You will pay the price, close your eyes and die." Fuck, man.

Martyr A.D. - "American Hollow"

Oh shit, some fellow Victory Records alumni. I got into this band way late. I was a Disembodied fan for a while and actually didn't even realize that once they broke up they started a new band. I would see people comparing the two but it never really clicked for me. Once I found out, I looked them up and this was the first song from Martyr A.D. I ever heard. Imagine being in two sick heavy bands? Couldn't be me…

I Killed The Prom Queen - "Your Shirt Would Look Better With a Colombian Necktie"

The first-ever promo photo of Counterparts was back before we even changed our name from Brigade in like 2007. I'm dead center in my fuckin I Killed the Prom Queen snake zip-up. Wish I still had that thing, not like there's any chance in hell it'd fit, that was about four shirt sizes ago. It was a simpler time. You hear someone yell, "Everyone here who breathes will fucking die," and you knew what you had to do.

Eighteen Visions - "Tower of Snakes"

So I actually just finished touring with Eighteen Visions with my band END. They were on tour for the 20th anniversary of Vanity. I remember pulling up to the venue on day one hoping that they would throw "Tower of Snakes "into the setlist even though that song is from a different record, and sure enough, they saved it for last. I feel like I'm one of the very few who fucks with Obsession harder than any of their earlier material. Maybe it's because I'm jealous that I can't sing like James? Either way, the breakdown is fucking insane. I'm also afraid of snakes. Birds, too.