Friday, March 06, 2009

CD Review: APlotAgainstMe - Deuce

It's ironic that Ottawa's APlotAgainstMe has christened their new album Deuce, as it perfectly describes what to expect: an album with two distinctive appearances.

Deuce is an independent release by the hard rock group and features ten tracks which are dark and intense, and are reminiscent of material produced by Tool, Marilyn Manson and Metallica. What makes the album intriguing is that APAM has literally cut the album into two halves.

The first half has songs that are musically strong, but are also very soft. The vocals are gentle and there's no screaming. There's also no anger or raw emotion. Clearly, the intention of the first part of Deuce was to provide tracks that are safe for commercial radio. In doing so, this barely satisfies passionate hard rock fans, and doesn't insult nor deter causal fans and those who are curious about this particular style of music. You can tell there's potential, but you'll find yourself waiting for an explosion that appears unlikely to happen.

It's not until the second half of Deuce that APAM's true talent starts to show. The intensity and distortion increases. The anger and subsequent raw emotion appears and grows. There's a strong, threatening sense of aggression. Finally, the aforementioned explosion occurs with the eighth track, "The Nurse," which is by far the best song on the album.

Overall, Deuce certainly wets the appetite. The entire album shows the band's craftsmanship, which was aided by Record Producers Shawn Bradley, David Botrill and Vic Florencia. Along with "The Nurse," another notable track is "The Murder Between Us," which in a weird way, sounds like the opening to a James Bond film.

It will be interesting to see where APlotAgainstMe will go from here. Deuce has shown that the band has two different sides: one that produces toned down material for radio airplay, and one that truly expresses their hard rock roots. It's important for the group to decide which side they want to be on, or at least create a compromise between the two. Otherwise, an identity crisis will take the energy away from this talented band.

For more information on APlotAgainstMe, please visit

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