By Ben Apatoff
It's not the first thing you'll notice about Fed Through the Teeth Machine, but maybe the second or third time around you'll grasp how many riffs, solos and lyrics you recognize already. Few grindcore bands have instant sticking power like THE RED CHORD, and even fewer are capable of boundary-shattering albums like this one, which packs a cavalry of unexpected and enthralling twists into songs that rarely make it to the three-minute mark. Fed Through the Teeth Machine catches The Red Chord honing in on the best ideas of their first three albums, resulting in an admirably focused set of face-grinders.
For the first time in years, guitarist MIKE "GUNFACE" MCKENZIE is the band's sole axeman. He compensates by swarming up and down the fretboard, offering some short but charismatic solos ("Demoralizer, "Hour of Rats") tackling groove metal like a mensch ("Embarrassment Legacy") and throwing any sense of conventional verse-chorus-verse structure into purgatory. He's busy enough to make a case for his position among the modern metal elite, but he also has an abnormally sharp sense of when to come in, never overplaying his instrument or sounding disjointed between jumping through progressions on songs like "One Robot to Another." Not that it's the McKenzie show–GUY KOZOWYK's lyrics are audible enough to matter, and they eschew the campiness and/or self-seriousness that mar most metal songs (note: whoever "Demoralizer" is about better hide.) Being eaten alive has never sounded like so much fun.
Rating: 4 upper deckings out of 5