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The Red Chord - "Fed Through The Teeth Machine" (CD)

The Red Chord - "Fed Through The Teeth Machine" CD cover image

"Fed Through The Teeth Machine" track listing:

1. Demoralizer (2:31)
2. Hour Of Rats (2:40)
3. Hymns And Crippled Anthems (2:55)
4. Embarrassment Legacy (3:00)
5. Tales Of Martyrs And Disappearing Acts (2:09)
6. Floating Through The Vein (3:15)
7. Ingest The Ash (2:39)
8. One Robot To Another (2:17)
9. Mouthful Of Precious Stones (4:21)
10. The Ugliest Truth (2:41)
11. Face Area Solution (2:01)
12. Sleepless Nights In The Compound (4:50)

Reviewed by on November 20, 2009

"The songs are all short blasts of shifting, psychotic a-tonal mush to beautiful, soaring passages."

The Red Chord certainly knows how to name an album. After just one listen, it’s quite clear that The Red Chord knows what a Teeth Machine is, what it feels like to be eaten by one, and how to express that using extreme metal music. The result is a focused, intense, and unforgiving slab of extreme metal.

On previous albums the band was criticized a bit for straying too far afield, using synthesizers, studio effects, and progressive songwriting ideas to expand their music in many different directions. The Red Chord returns to their grind and death metal roots on “Fed Through the Teeth Machine,” and that is apparent from the opener “Demoralizer.” The first piece of meat is a blast beat crashing underneath whining guitars, while vocalist Guy Kozowyk bellows, shrieks, and growls his way to intensity city. At only two-and-a-half minutes the song still takes a ride in many directions, featuring the aforementioned blast beats, grind sections, a breakdown, and melodic break.

The album is basically different combinations of that idea – taking pieces of grind, death metal, and a touch of ‘core and smashing them together. But The Red Chord is mostly able to stay away from just making pieces of crushing noise. To wit, “Hour of Rats” moves from frantic prog riffs to a melodic solo to a dissonant almost-breakdown. But the main themes carry through the song, holding those various parts together.

The songs are all short blasts of shifting, psychotic a-tonal mush to beautiful, soaring passages. But the tight songwriting is the key, as there is no waste - every note drives at the core of the song. Segments shift without warning, but it always makes sense. Songs run into each other immediately, but the brief moment of silence between songs feels like an eternity of relief.

Guitarist Mike McKenzie is all over the place, moving from easy melodies to crushing tremolo, and everywhere in between. He delivers the most important performance, as the mix features his guitar more than the bass and drums, so it is his responsibility to drive the music. Every key change, tempo change, rhythm change, or blast of noise starts with McKenzie. And needless to say, he is up for the task. The rest of the band delivers solid, if unspectacular, performances. Brad Fickeisen’s drums are fast and precise, but not inspiring. Guy Kozowyk’s vocals after a while just sound like shouting and screaming, with little subtlety or texture variation. As it is with much of modern extreme metal, the bass must be there somewhere, as Gregory Weeks is in the credits.

The Red Chord has pushed to create something focused and intense. And as the listener is getting pummeled by “Ingest the Ash,” then floats into “One Robot to Another” and again into “Mouthful of Precious Stones,” it is clear that there is little in this world more exhilarating that being eaten by a machine made of teeth.

Highs: “Hour of Rats” shows the band at their best – a short, intense piece of beauty.

Lows: It takes concentration to not get beaten down by the crush.

Bottom line: Simultaneously creative, varied, and brutal, this album is both beautiful and ugly all at once.

Rated 4.0 out of 5 skulls
4.0 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)