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A Solid Improvement - 86%

Stained Glass Assassin, March 28th, 2019
Written based on this version: 2005, CD, Victory Records

A year after their debut on Victory Records, Canada’s A Perfect Murder released their follow up titled “Strength Through Vengeance”. Their previous album, “Unbroken” saw the band play a traditional sounding metalcore sound popular around that time, but spiced things up with an extra infusion of groove metal that channeled their inner Pantera influence. “Strength Through Vengeance” would see the blend of metalcore and groove continue, but the band would add even more depth to their sound.

The duel guitar approached was a success on “Unbroken”, but their tandem abilities really shine on this album. The first addition to their sound comes from the leads. Although “Strength Through Vengeance” still dwell within the chugging Pantera grooves, there are now plenty of thrash sounding riffs to be heard as well. The riffs remind me a lot of Trivium’s “The Crusade” another metalcore album that was given a high octane thrash infusion as well as Machine Head’s “The Balckening”. This time around, the band is able to cycle between thick and groovy riffs, while also unleashing a quicker, more aggressive riffs effortlessly that, in my opinion, sounds a lot more heavy metal, than most metalcore acts. The rhythms are another area where the band fine-tuned their sound. Once again, they offer some nice displays of technicality and melodic passages throughout the album, but on this album, they create a much more harmonious atmosphere with the leads. The solos are also turned up a notch on “Strength Through Vengeance” as there are some serious thrash segments to be heard on this album. Plenty of catchiness from hooks, to leads to solos will enter your ears throughout the album.

I’ve mentioned Pantera enough already, but one simply cannot ignore the similarities Carl Bouchard vocals have to that of Phil Anselmo. Combined with many of the chugging grooves on some of the songs, you would think you were listening to the minor league version of Pantera, which is by no means an insult. That being said, the Jamey Jasta, Hatebreed influenced is still heard in his voice as well, particularly when he belts out some of his harsh yells, which keep his sound rooted in the core scene.

The drumming is another area that has been bolstered. Not that they were lackluster by any means on “Unbroken”, but on “Strength Through Vengeance” they add much more to the rhythm section with a very thrashesque sound, but never losing their metalcore roots in process. This results in a heavy, pulsating tone set by the drums, which on their own, could drive most of the songs forward, but fortunately, all the instruments harmonize very nicely as to drive the music forward as a team. The only let down for me and I tread lightly here, would be the bass. The bass, once again, tends to get lost in the background most of the time, but I will attest that after listening to both albums, the lack of bass does not take away from either album’s success. That being said, it would have been interesting to hear what the bass may have added to these albums. Given their thrashy and groovy nature, an extra punch of bass may have added an additional layer to their sound for the better.

At the end of the day, I felt “Strength Through Vengeance” surpasses their predecessor with the additional sounds added and the polish slapped onto their musicianship. This may be metalcore to its bones, which I know many metalheads tend to shy away from, but A Perfect Murder offer more than your standard metalcore sound. “Strength Through Vengeance” would be a nice listen for any fans of Pantera, Machine Head or Trivium, but also any thrash enthusiast who isn’t afraid to have one foot in a world not often accepted.

Highlights: “Deceit of Man” “Slay the Masses” “Strength Through Vengeance”

Into the Abyss of Oblivion