Review Summary: Prey for Eyes mixes the best parts from the first disc, some of the clichéd parts found on Clients and does so without the quirks found on either.
I don't think anybody could have, or would have, predicted just how apt the Red Chord's first album title would become. Titled Fused Together In Revolving Doors
, the album was quite literally a fusion of death metal and grindcore, an obvious sentiment, but it's actually the last bit of the title I'm referring to. The album had the band quite literally getting their foot in the door; they created a seminal album in a movement that was just picking up steam, and they did it with their first album.
And then came Clients
, and, pardon the atrocious metaphor, the door kept spinning. Clients
was, using all effective reasoning, extremely average. The vocals were less varied, equally deep and twice as throaty. The relatively raw production of the first album was exchanged for an overly polished, typical genericore sound. And the music, well, it was plagued by extended breakdowns, half-time mediocrity and out of place clean semi-spoken calls. It's not to say Clients
was bad, it was just significantly worse than it should have been.
We've now reached the group's third disc and I can safely say they've got their feet firmly in place once more; while surely it's not a total return to form, it at least tells us that Clients
was in every way evincive of a sophomore slump, which I guess was inevitable upon considering just how good their first disc actually was. Prey for Eyes
takes the unpredictability of the first album and runs with it. It's made blatantly obvious that the band is trying to recapture some of their fans, but at times it's made a little too obvious. While it's awesome to hear parts that remind you of the greatness found on earlier tracks like "Nihilist", it's safe to say that the very same parts lose a little impact the second time around.
The sound on the album is a near-consistent barrage of tempo changes, brutality, technicality and breakdowns. Tracks typically fluctuate between mid-paced death metal and fast-paced grindcore, but more often than not the two styles converge seamlessly. The typically fast, often blasted parts are habitually accompanied by the band's trademark usage of pinch harmonics and, as with the last disc, the album is somewhat marred by breakdowns. The breakdowns are your typical half-time affair, and while they're not as egregiously used as the ones found on Clients, they still come off a little contrived. Even so, they're finely honed for a live setting.
Vocalist Guy Kozowyk claimed this would be the definitive Red Chord album and I'm not about to disagree. It mixes the best parts from the first disc, the clichéd parts found on Clients
and does so without the quirks found on either. It's a little less playful but excellently executed. While it could do with some of the vocal variation found on the first release, the vocals are still excellently guttural in an open-throaty kind of way and they're certainly presented in a more effective manner than on the last disc. Gunface, the excellently named lead guitarist, is at the top of his game, opting to make his talent a little more obvious this time around while
As per usual, the group uses a well-placed instrumental as a temporary cessation from the otherwise relentless aggression. With Prey for Eyes we get "It Came from Over There", which is easily the best instrumental the band has done. Dominated by a Moog synthesizer, played by Sigh’s Mirai Kawashima, the track varies between eastern-oriental lines and pseudo-gothy keyboard sustenations. The guitars layer between start-stop rhythmic chugging (thankfully not of the Meshuggah variety) and more ambient, bendy licks that mirror the keys
This is one of those albums I went into expecting to hate, ended up sort of liking and that's more than any fan of the band could ask for. It's perfectly crafted for a live setting and hey, at least it's better than Clients