Mixing genres has been a metal mainstay since the beginning, whether it’s thrash combining NWOBHM and punk or death ‘n’ roll matching groove with guttural growls. As of late, cross-genre pollination has produced some horrid stuff — “crunkcore” still makes me shudder — but luckily The Red Chord have returned with their special brand of death/grind/metal/core.
Fed Through the Teeth Machine (Metal Blade, 2009) is light years ahead of previous effort Prey for Eyes. That album was unfocused, uneven, and, by the band’s own admission, a letdown. Now The Red Chord have returned to their strengths: tight riffing, frantic energy, and off-kilter song structures. Most tracks clock in under the three-minute mark, keeping things simple without sacrificing originality. Becoming a single-guitar four-piece has improved the band. All fat has been cut; songs like “Ingest the Ash” and “Floating Through the Vein” blast like machine-gun fire.
The heart of this band has always been vocalist Guy Kozowyk. He’s a graduate of the Henry Rollins School for Frontmen; his voice and presence demand attention. Kozowyk is in top form throughout, from channeling Barney Greenway on “Demoralizer” to his patented bark staccato on “Face Area Solution.” He’s unlikely to top Clients for lyrical content, but there’s no denying the vitriol of “Demoralizer”: “Fill the suffering void of your own worthless tomb / Step out of my world / Cast you into darkness / You are the paragon of denial!”
For whatever reason, The Red Chord have been dogged by the “deathcore” tag. People can call it whatever they want. If The Red Chord keep making albums like this, they can’t lose.