Probably about two years ago, a good friend of mine was attempting to tell me about this band I "absolutely needed to check out." Now, at the time, this friend was into pretty shitty metal. Static-X, Slipknot, you know the deal, so I wasn't as apt to take his recommendations as I might have otherwise been. He was pretty persistent, though, in getting me to at least listen to this band. That band turned out to be the Red Chord, and that album was their debut, Fused Together In Revolving Doors. I was blown away. At the time, I was heavy into hardcore, but this album was metal as fuck, and I could not get enough of it. So now, 2005, the Red Chord have dropped Clients on the world, but does it stack up to its predecessor?
Does Bob Saget touch little boys? Yes, it's that good. The Red Chord's debut album did a lot of things right, but this album just expands upon the already sound basis, and pulls in even more elements to make this album as diverse as it is brutal. The same deep, death metal vocals that appeared on the last effort sound even more full and fleshed out here, whether this is due to the production, or just that vocalist Guy Kozowyk improving on his own is up for speculation, but it sounds amazing. The one element of the vocals that does feel out of place is when Guy breaks for spoken parts. It just really doesn't fit in with the overall package the Red Chord are trying to put out. You've got these sound, low end vocals, and when it breaks for a spoken part, a lot of the intensity and mood is lost. As you'll see on "Hospice Residence," it feels like more of an interruption than a solid inclusion. Gripes aside, on a whole Guy's voice has improved from Fused, all the while the best of the band adding some new elements to the music.
Maybe taking cues from the newest Dillinger Escape Plan record, the Red Chord have opted to break away from the chaos in parts, and incorporate some jazz elements. It isn't quite as prevalent as with Dillinger, but it's good to see a band at least attempting to fuse elements of different styles with their own music, especially with such a chaotic band. Aside from that, however, there's really no other surprises thrown at you from their direction. The same blast beats, breakdowns, and intense guitar work found on the previous album is here, and even improved upon.
The amazing guitar work is a lot of what made the first Red Chord album so interesting initially. They bounce up and down the scales with more starts and stops than Oprah's diet. The majority of the riffs found here are just as intricate, but just as chaotic as previously seen from the Red Chord, but there seems to be a lot more soloing on this record. The album's closer, "He Was Dead When I Got There," has a slower pace than the rest of what you'll find here, with a recorded sample being played under some solid riffing, and the change in speed is a nice juxtaposition compared to the rest of this. It's safe to say the guys haven't lost a step in the guitar department, but it's drums that many were worried about after the departure of several drummers between the release dates of their two albums. Rest assured, they've not lost any technicality or intensity as far as drumming is concerned, as the new guy fits into his role just fine.
Three years in the making, Clients is finally out. While this album isn't mindblowing, it's sure to be one of the best you'll purchase this year, granted if you're into this type of music. The Red Chord have managed to put even more variety in their music, and while this may have taken some of the gusto from the frequency of their tempo changes, they haven't lost a bit in the way of intensity. The vocals sound better than ever, and the new drummer fits in so seamlessly you'd never know they switched. Do yourself a favor, and pick this up.