Release DetailsLABEL Metal Blade Records
RELEASED ON 5/17/2005
The Red Chord
posted on 5/2005 By:
After a slight line-up change, Boston's The Red Chord have returned with their sophomore release, this time on Metal Blade. I always went back and forth on their first album, Fused Together In Revolving Doors, half the time believing it to be brilliant, and the other half, confused as to why I even owned it. I never took the time to understand my love/hate relationship with that first release, but after listening to this latest one, I've realized that my qualms with their sound are more easily defined than I ever thought possible. I was intrigued just as often as I was turned off - and for good reason: some of it was awesome, and some of it just wasn't. That said, Clients follows a similar path. It isn't the greatest album I've heard in months, and it doesn't live up to everything you've probably heard about it, but it's far from the worst and won't fail to raise a few eyebrows.
The Red Chord seems to have narrowed down their interests into more extreme territory, however, the thing is, the sort of punkier/more hardcore parts are good, but the attempted bridge into death/grind proves somewhat ineffective and just average. The vocals are now just a low and gruff bark, but annoyingly, Guy Kozowyk chooses to utilize this half-spoken voice that has no place within the vast majority of the material on the album. "Lay the Tarp" has a NY slam-death vibe to it before randomly jumping into standard brutal death metal and inserting a breakdown in the middle. The catchy pull-off riff isn't emphasized nearly enough, and as a result, the song buckles under it's own weight. Each part is written well, but the songs aren't cohesive and have a poor flow. It's difficult to figure out how they decided what goes where, or if they just transcribed them on notation and threw them into a hat. Every song has at least one snippet of material where you perk up and say, "oh, that was sort of cool," but you're left wondering how the entire song passed you by without you even realizing it. "Antman", which was the first track to be released of the album, is actually one of the stronger and more well-constructed tracks on Clients, merging chaotic dissonance with some driving and fist-pumping hardcore. The stereotypical breakdown at the end leaves a little to be desired, but overall, it's a good song. There's an intriguing passage or two on "Upper Decker", shifting into sort of a jazzy rhythm but still keeping to that technical/mathy edge, and also an expansive and more experimental noisy ringing that swells up into the end. A step in the right direction in my eyes, doing something potentially different. "Love On The Concrete" is also held back by the same problems as the rest of the album - great riff after great riff, but nothing of substance holding it together. I love the straightforward hardcore guitar and drumming halfway through, but it doesn't sound "right" when placed side by side the rest of the song. "He Was Dead When I Got There" is the final track on the album, it's an instrumental that I'd imagine is The Red Chord's answer to Metallica's "Orion", minus the same finesse and genius of that song.
Maybe I'm just being fussy over Clients because of how highly anticipated it came, but to me, this was a lot of unnecessary hype. There's an assortment of great ideas on here, but I'm left feeling cold by the needless continual changes track after track after track. It reminds me of the latest Dillinger Escape Plan album, which I didn't think was as bad as most diehard fans and critics stated; it was just overly ambitious. Fans of the band's first effort I'm sure will eat this up anyways, and it'll be an interesting listen to a lot of other people, but that's it. An interesting listen - singular. Not that you'd go out of your way to avoid hearing the album again, but rather, it'll probably sit on your shelf the same way the phone numbers of old friends written on post-it notes lay around your room. You'd still speak kindly of them, and you'll always be glad to run into them, but at the same time, you'll just never get around to picking up the phone.
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