The Red Chord – Fed Through the Teeth Machine (Metal Blade Records)

Sunday, 17th March 2013
Rating: 8/10

A band that often finds itself in the crosshairs of the modern death and grindcore scenes, The Red Chord continue to adapt their well-honed blend of DM into new territory with Fed Through the Teeth Machine. It’s the same type of jousting, riff-based album that 2005’s Clients was, with a tad more presence, “maturity,” if you will.

Central to The Red Chord’s DM dominance has to be guitarist Mike “Gunface” McKenzie, whose sideways, zig-zagging riffs are often a prime point of “whoa” moments on the record. McKenzie, to his credit, never stays confined to one area of riffing, oftentimes infusing crisp chord runs or wacky string bends. He’s a guitarist that uses everything to his disposal, culminating in the savvy melodies in album closer, “Sleepless Nights In the Compound.”

As is the case with other TRC efforts, there’s the occasional song bleed-through, but this affliction doesn’t befall the Red Chord the way it does for modern-day Black Dahlia Murder. The album is a bit frontloaded, starting with the domineering “Demoralizer” and “Hour of Rats,” two songs that reach the crux of the band’s brutality. Drummer Brad Fickeisen (who this scribe went to middle school with – no joke) leads the attack, infusing a gaggle of seismic blasts and elaborate cymbal and tom work.

Of the crop of modern death metal bands, The Red Chord gets our nod as the best and that’s only because of their steadfast refusal to be boxed-in. They drink from a lot of fountains, but it’s all ends up sounding like The Red Chord, if that makes any sense. Manic, multi-faceted and most importantly, engagingdeath metal as this is hard to come by, so strap in…

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