For a band that's progressed so much since their formation, the Red Chord have taken a lot of flak for supposedly not following up the groundbreaking Fused Together in Revolving Doors with equally arresting releases. All naysayers will likely find themselves eating their words upon hearing Fed Through the Teeth Machine, which elevates their trademark quirky brutality and challenging songwriting while focusing the lens appropriately to sear through the listener's skull. While still just as furious as ever, the group have stripped down the more progressive elements of Prey For Eyes and allowed a healthy amount of melody to creep into the songwriting without diluting any aggression, resulting in by far their most balanced and memorable release since their debut. The guitar playing is never overbearing but always jaw-dropping, relentlessly piling one scorching riff upon the next and transcending the misapplied "deathcore" label once and for all. Managing to put a creative spin on breakdowns is laughably difficult these days, but look no further than the Red Chord if you're interested in hearing mosh parts that incorporate depth and atmosphere, outright humiliating the competition. From scathing opener "Demoralizer" through to the disc's final seconds, there's not a moment wasted, offering quality control most groups spend a hell of a lot more than three records honing. A javelin toss ahead of the pack, Fed Through the Teeth Machine shreds, plain and simple.
The usage of melody on this record is very effective, yet it's simultaneously your brutalest release. Were there any clear goals with the songwriting, and what are your thoughts on the end result?
Vocalist Guy Kozowyk: We have always tossed around the idea of having more emotion and soul in our riffs. It was never orchestrated as "we are going to write this record and this is what it has to sound like." It all just happened the way it happened and we are thrilled with how it fell into place in the end.
Fed Through the Teeth Machine scales back some of the more elaborate song structures featured on the last album. What prompted this shift?
Again, it just sort of happened that way. I'm not unhappy with the structures being a little more straight ahead. And despite the structural changes, nothing has really eased up. The fast parts are faster, the heavy parts are heavier and there are lots of curve balls to the album. It is still a challenging record.
You guys are known for fleshed out lyrics that are atypical for the genre. What does this album set its sights on?
At the end of the day, I'd like for my lyrics to encourage imagination and freethinking. Dealing with such a talented band, I'd also not like to stick out like a sore thumb as the weakest link. Most times I actually read death metal lyrics, I'm disappointed and wish I hadn't wasted the time. Since we aren't a political, religious or easily labeled band, and my viewpoints on everything under the sun don't exactly mirror anyone else's in the band, my vague, open to interpretation works of fiction seem to work best for us. If nothing else, it's not like everything else out there.
With this huge wave of deathcore acts inspired by artists like you and Despised Icon, do you feel pressured to outdo the younger acts in the scene? What are your thoughts on the shift in the trends you guys had a part in causing?
Like the unholy combination of rap and metal (rapcore), putting two genres together always seems like a great idea until it actually happens. Deathcore is no exception. Since the point of deathcore seems to be fast, death-y parts followed by overly simple breakdowns, and our focus is less on moshing and more on songwriting, I'd like to officially pull our name from the deathcore race. We just do what we do to the best of our abilities. There will undoubtedly be faster, heavier and more technical bands than us. We aren't trying to be the most extreme band ever. We are just trying to be the Red Chord.
Looking back on your catalogue, which releases do you feel came closest to achieving your vision?
If the mix on Prey for Eyes was better I would say that. Hopefully it will get remixed eventually so people can see the full dynamics of that record. In the meantime, everyone should check out Fed Through the Teeth Machine because it encompasses the whole package (shameless plug!).
You recently lost a guitar player and have opted not to replace him. Did this occur before or after writing/recording, and how do you feel it will affect the band live and on future releases?
[It happened] before the writing. The plan was never to have him write material for this record, so it wasn't really a loss. We are going with the running theme that we downsized due to the bad economy so we can feel like everyone else. The four-piece set-up just feels right and I think we are tighter and more solid than ever before. (Metal Blade)