Review Summary: Twice as heavy, twice as fast, and more musically demanding than ever, The Red Chord's fourth album should solidify the band as a truly formidable force in American death metal.Fused Together in Revolving Doors
really was worth all of the hype and accolades it received. The Red Chord pushed as many boundaries as they could, meshing together death metal with grindcore while never taking themselves too seriously. Needless to say, The Red Chord had really set the standards high for themselves. While Clients
and Prey for Eyes
are both incredibly entertaining records, they just didn’t quite follow suit and left a lot of fans wishing for something else. While the band’s fourth album, Fed Through the Teeth Machine
, is the furthest departure from the band’s seminal debut, it’s also the most focused effort The Red Chord has ever released.
For starters, this album is fast. Really fast. Fed Through the Teeth Machine
’s twelve tracks rarely ever derive from an incredibly brutal and heavily death metal-influenced sound, courtesy of drummer Brad Fickeisen’s positively dominating performance behind the kit. You’ll be aware of how tight of a drummer he’s become within about the first thirty seconds of the album’s blistering opener, “Demoralizer”. Guy Kozowyk crushes as always, providing more or less the same vocal performance listeners have come to expect since Clients
(minus the awkward spoken-word parts). That being said, his vocals are incredibly low, throaty, and most importantly, badass. Check out Guy’s incredibly menacing growl of “she is precious” in “Sleepless Nights in the Compound”, arguably the most impressive song The Red Chord has released to date. Additionally, the album’s crystal-clear production (something fans of The Red Chord haven’t had the pleasure of experiencing) just makes the riffs sound positively massive, something that the mixing and guitar tones on Prey for Eyes
didn’t quite allow.
The album’s greatest strength though is the masterful and diverse riffing of the band’s now sole axeman, Mike "Gunface" McKenzie. Gunface, despite now being the only man playing guitar for The Red Chord for the first time in the band’s career, actually steps up his game. Fed Through the Teeth Machine
, while being undeniably death metal almost the entire time, keeps things fresh for the album’s thirty-five minute runtime. “Hour of Rats” starts thing off with your typical blast-beat affair, only before launching into the album’s most melodic and beautiful guitar solo, only to bludgeon the listener later with a devastating breakdown. “Mouthful of Precious Stones” and “Sleepless Nights in the Compound” are also amazingly well-crafted songs, featuring much longer, chord-driven sections that should just make about any metal head’s neck sore. And the outro to “Floating Through the Vein” actually sounds like your album is melting. Greg Weeks’ bass performance is also more audible than ever, always fooling the listener into thinking The Red Chord has more than four members. Everything here is undeniably “Gunface”, and the driving force behind The Red Chord’s original sound.
In short, The Red Chord have solidified themselves as an innovative an unstoppable force in American death metal, leaving behind the hardcore/metalcore influences that were prevalent on the band’s first two LPs. Fed Through the Teeth Machine
isn’t as humorous as some of the band’s previous outings, but it’s twice as heavy, twice as fast, and more musically demanding than ever. This is easily one of the most badass records to be released in 2009.
Thor's Top Three:
Hour of Rats
Sleepless Nights in the Compound
Mouthful of Precious Stones