"Strength Through Vengeance." Seldom has an album title so perfectly defined the sound and thematic imperative of a band as well as A Perfect Murder's choice for their second album. The sheer rage expressed unilaterally in their lyrics and bruising musical attack is controlled and precise as a scalpel, carving slices of classic thrash metal, southern sludge and hardcore; a steely testament to it's purifying power. The band's declaration of war against enemies great and small, from the personal to organized religion, pours down on the listener like an avalanche, but their heaviness never bogs down, due to the band's sharp sense of dynamics and guitarist Carl Bouchard's incendiary soloing, drawing from influences like Metallica, Pantera and Testament.
The album is an impressive accomplishment for a group of musicians who might have never met, much less played together. A Perfect Murder was formed in Montreal in 2000. After recording "Blood Covered Words" and "Cease To Suffer", the band signed to Victory Records and set to work on "Unbroken", released in 2004 to rave reviews. Touring with Bury Your Dead, Love Is Red and Between the Buried and Me put the band in front of like-minded audiences driving the excitement for these newcomers on the U.S. scene. But full time touring was not in the cards for some of the band, who were juggling full time jobs and families.
After going on hiatus in the fall of 2004, bandleader Carl and drummer Yan began the daunting task of rebuilding the band. First on board was former scene favorites Human Breed and Uniform Justice bassist Dave B., a seasoned veteran and longtime friend of Carl's. Pierre Remillard joined briefly as second guitarist, but realized that his career as a studio owner and producer would make it impossible for him to commit to the band full time. However, his contributions to the songs were invaluable during his tenure. Carl explained, "Pierre has been a great influence on the band, and is definitely now our 'Bob Rock'- we love working with him because he is 100% on the same page when it comes to important decisions about the sonic qualities of the music." During this period, one of the most novel aspects of the new line-up developed. In a search for new members, Carl had the news posted on the metal website Blabbermouth, where Nashville native Kevin Randel happened to read it. "My former band, Skard, had come to an abrupt end when I happened to read the ad on Blabbermouth, which is a site I rarely even check out. I got in touch with Carl and sent him some video and audio, he responded immediately. I had heard the band and was impressed with their musicianship, so it wasn't a difficult choice to take the position. A trip to Montreal to lay my vocals over their music sealed the deal. Destiny personified." Kevin continues to live in Tennessee, but the bonding done during pre-production is strong, and the band's mutual respect combined with modern technology make musical communication easier than it sounds. The final piece of the puzzle fell into place when guitarist Dom Poisson came on board. Remillard's exit left the rhythm guitarist position open, and longtime friend Poisson, who played in Killing Pain and Hell Again was ready to rock.
The time had come to start recording "Strength Through Vengeance" so the band convened for grueling pre-production sessions, honing the songs into the tight, malevolent anthems heard on the album. The stormy menace with which Randel rails against enemies was a perfect fit for A Perfect Murder's blazing leads and shattering low end. They convened at Remillard's Wild Studio in March of 2005 to begin recording. The studio, situated in a quiet cabin in the woods, proved to be a bit too quiet for Kevin. "I wanted to bring that live feel into the studio, so I locked myself in a dimly lit, un-air-conditioned room and worked myself into the biggest rage. It did the trick, but sometimes my intensity can be a bit much for other people in a creative situation - when one of my vocal tracks was lost, I lost it and threatened to burn everyone at the stake!"
While most of the recording was fairly straightforward, the band was striving for a natural drum sound: They ended up miking the drum kit with a total of 25 microphones - the results are heavy as hell, but full and uncontrived. Kevin recorded using a hand-held microphone instead of a traditional condenser mic, giving him the freedom to move around while tracking and Bouchard decided to employ a Wah pedal, adding a new sound to his arsenal. The sessions were completed last April and A Perfect Murder was finally ready to unleash "Strength Through Vengeance" on the world.
When asked about the process of writing songs so filled with vitriol, Randel doesn't mince words. "Times were hard when I was growing up, and I did a lot of fighting. I always wrote also, as a way to cope with my anger and depression. Many of the songs on this album highlight my struggles in trying to overcome them and become stronger in the face of adversity." Drummer Yan said, "I thought the record turned out more pissed than I thought it would initially, it turned out loud and brutal which I like!" The acclaimed poet and author Maya Angelou once said, "Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns all clean". A Perfect Murder has created a testament to exorcism of unadulterated rage - they are better for it, and any lover of extreme music will be too.