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CD Review: The Red Chord – Prey for Eyes

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theredchord preyforeyesJudging from crowd reactions, "Upper Decker," from 2005's Clients, is easily the best thing The Red Chord have ever written.  While the Boston band has been unscrewing heads for a while with its technical death/grind fusion, in that song it found the secret to great songwriting: dynamics.  The breakdown/reconstruction of that song's ingredients into a pummeling climax is one of metal's finest moments in recent years.

Maybe the band tired of having only one such song in its set, as Prey for Eyes is chock full of them.  The songs don't break down so dramatically, but they're packed with hills, valleys, and melodic nooks and crannies.

Has the band been listening to black metal?  "Pray for Eyes" and "Send the Death Storm" have eerie, dissonant chords, while the middle of "Midas Touch" explores atmospheric, almost fusion-esque territory.  The band has significantly expanded its melodic and harmonic vocabulary; the songs are much more memorable as a result.

The whole album is a highlight reel, though some moments are particularly hair-raising.  "Tread on the Necks of Kings" drops a lethal, chugging groove that should fill doctors' offices with neck injuries.  "It Came From Over There" unleashes snaky, Middle Eastern lines with both keyboard and guitar.  "Seminar," the "Upper Decker" of this album, is indeed a master class in dynamics.  Sharp harmonies cut through epic riffs, while Greg Weeks pumps out warm, fluid basslines.

While other chaotic metalcore bands flail around wildly, The Red Chord have sharpened their attack in cold, calculating fashion.  Guy Kozowyk's roar sounds better than ever, producer Eric Rachel dials up a strong, clear recording, and Paul Romano turns in yet more eye-catching artwork.  Clients set the blueprint for today's generation of heavy bands; Prey for Eyes only increases the distance between teacher and students.


The Red Chord on MySpace
Metal Blade Records

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