Sound — 8
A Poet, A Surgeon have been self-described as "no bullshit, no principles, no overstimulation. Just mosh". And if mosh is what you want, APAS will deliver. A Poet, A Surgeon take influence from today's three major -core scenes: hardcore, metalcore, and deathcore. The group claims to take influence from The Acacia Strain, Oceano, The Carrier, Reign Supreme, and others. I've never listened to the last two bands, but I do know that the guitar work in APAS is far more complex than in TAS or Oceano. The opening track's title, Play for Prague, is an all out assault on your ears. Fast, furious riffing + a punishing rhythm section = mosh. Of the three songs on this demo, this is the one that focuses on speed. The next song, How to Crash a Boeing 747 (the FBI is watching Jack for this one), is an instrumental which focuses on a bit of atmosphere and a lot of guitar shredding. Plenty of neo-classical inspired licks and arpeggios here. Actually, the first thing that came to mind while listening to the solos on this track was Chris Broderick. Technical playing, but not as much so in the way of composition. Still very impressive, though. The instrumental fades into the final track, which is, in my opinion, the best track on the demo. Titled How to Make Friends and Influence Mutiny, this song is an anthemic collage of breakdowns and chunky riffs, complete with mosh chants. A well-placed bass drop helps make a good breakdown even better. The best part about this track is how easy it is to see all of the APAS's influences shining through. There are some metalcore riffs in the beginning, a very hardcore part in the middle, and a deathcore styled breakdown in the end. The production quality is actually very well done. The guitars are chunky and you can actually hear the bass. The drums can be a little overpowering at times, but that's a mixing issue. They're programmed, by the way, in case you couldn't tell. Vocals could be a little better, but I can't tell whether that's the vocalist himself or the production.
Lyrics — 7
Lyrics? What lyrics? Ok, I'm kidding. There's lyrics. Truth be told, I can't really understand them. There are some vocalists that I can easily understand, but the APAS vocalist just isn't one of them. The vocals are decent. Nothing extraordinary, but not too bad. Could use a little bit of tweaking, however. But the best thing is the placement of the vocals. There's a chant over one of the breakdowns (I forget where) that just makes you want to break something. It's something that I could see flying very well at a live show.
Overall Impression — 8
For a first demo this is some pretty good stuff. A Poet, A Surgeon have released it for free on the internet. I'm sure you guys can find it. Without a doubt, the last track is the best, and it'll be sure to pump up any metalcore fan. My only problem was the vocals. Whether it was the mixing or the vocalist himself, something about it sounded distant and strained. I have no doubts, however, that this issue will be rectified in the future somehow. This is a really short demo. I mean, really really short. These three tracks clock in at just over seven minutes. There are bands who write 3 track demos which are over four times longer (See: fellow Australians Ne Obliviscaris). The good thing is that it's short enough for everyone to check out. And it's free, so if you don't like it, you've only lost seven minutes of your time. And with that, I urge all metalcore fans to give these guys a listen.