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Music / The Red Chord

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The Red Chord is an American deathcore band. Characterized by their technical, spastic, and grindy compositions and ferocious live shows, they quickly worked their way up from strong regional players to worldwide stars, and even through their hiatus, their status has not been lost.

Formed in Revere, Massachusetts in 1999 by Guy Kozowyk (vocals) and Kevin Rampelberg (guitar), the lineup grew to include Mike "Gunface" McKenzie (guitar), Adam Wentworth (bass), and Mike Justian (drums), and after a relentless series of shows throughout New England and the East Coast in general, they released a live demo in 2001 before signing to the Robotic Empire label and releasing Fused Together in Revolving Doors, their debut full-length, in 2002. The relentless pace of the shows continued, and by 2004, Wentworth and Justian were gone, with Greg Weeks and John Dow taking their respective spots. Dow only lasted a few months, however, and was quickly replaced by John Longstreth, who lasted about as long before leaving himself and giving his spot to Brad Fickeisen. They had also signed to Metal Blade Records earlier in the year, and by November, they had entered Planet Z Studios in Hadley, Massachusetts to record their followup. Clients was released in May of 2005 to excellent reviews and impressive sales, and another stretch of relentless touring followed. Rampelberg left that year as well, and Jonny Fay of the now-gone Deadwater Drowning jumped in. By 2007, Fay had left as well and was replaced by Mike Keller, and Prey for Eyes was released in July of that year. Keller left the following year, and rather than trying to fill his spot, they opted to keep it a four-piece. Around the beginning of 2009, they went in to record their fourth full-length with Fay at his home studio in Milford, New Hampshire, and by the end of October, Fed Through the Teeth Machine was out. Unfortunately, the touring demands proved to be too much for Fickeisen, who left around the beginning of 2010 and was replaced by a returning Justian. More touring followed and Justian left again in 2011; Jon Rice joined on a purely live basis, but after several tours, they became entirely inactive. Rumors of a breakup or hiatus started finding their way around, though the band later stated via Facebook that they were not dead or dormant, just taking their sweet time to write an album. Nothing happened in 2012, and in 2013, Kozowyk was sworn in as a police officer in Manchester, New Hampshire; combined with the inactivity, it seemed as if The Red Chord was stone dead. 2014, however, indicated that they were still kicking, as evidenced by a festival appearance in Japan and a co-headlining bill in Worcester, Massachusetts with their buddies in Despised Icon. A new song was played, so it seems likely that the album will happen; if touring follows, they will be welcomed with open arms once again.

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Discography:

  • East Coast Tour Demo (2001)
  • Fused Together in Revolving Doors (2002)
  • Clients (2005)
  • Prey for Eyes (2007)
  • Demoralizer (2009) - single
  • Fed Through the Teeth Machine (2009)

The band contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Audience Participation Song: "Dreaming in Dog Years": "AND IT'S NOT GONNA BE ALRIGHT! AND IT'S NOT GONNA BE OKAY!"
  • Badass Beard: Mike McKenzie and Greg Weeks.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: "Floating Through the Vein", about steroid users ruining their bodies due to prolonged usage while coming to terms with the fact that their pitiful current condition is their own fault.
  • Concept Album: Clients, which was based around various patients that Kozowyk had encountered while working at a convenience store located next to a psychiatric hospital.
  • Deathcore: A Trope Codifier and very debatably an Ur-Example, as there are tons of other bands with equally-strong claims to the title of "deathcore pioneer". That being said, their sound is quite different from what deathcore later became.
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  • Epic Rocking: "Sixteen Bit Fingerprint" (7:00), "He Was Dead When I Got There" (6:29), and "Seminar" (6:18).
  • Filk Song: "Responsibles" and "One Robot to Another".
  • Harsh Vocals: Guy Kozowyk has a very distinctive style of these that are best described as something in between a hardcore vocalist and a death metal vocalist with the characteristics of both.
  • Hollywood New England: Formed in Revere, currently based out of the Boston area (where McKenzie and Weeks live) and Salem, New Hampshire (where Kozowyk lives), and certainly one of the most famous heavy acts to come from Eastern Massachusetts.
  • Horrible History Metal: The title of Fused Together in Revolving Doors was a reference to the Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire that occurred in Boston in 1943; as the stampeding patrons attempted to escape through the revolving doors out front, the doors broke and the fire reduced the pile of patrons in the doorway to an unrecognizable charred mass, hence the title.
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  • Instrumentals: "He Was Stretching, and Then He Climbed Up There", "He Was Dead When I Got There", and "It Came from Over There".
  • Large Ham: Kozowyk's stage banter is the stuff of legend; he even acknowledged that when they played the first Mayhem Fest, he was struggling to address the larger, more casual audiences and just found himself spouting the dumbest, most lowest-common-denominator-catering things possible and they still ate it up.
  • Meaningful Name: "Dragon Wagon" appears to be about a schizophrenic who goes through a regular cycle of being released from the psych ward that is the central focus of Clients and into community/home-based care, going off their meds or otherwise refusing treatment, having a psychotic break, and getting thrown right back into the ward. A Dragon Wagon is a stock model children's roller coaster that runs along a small oval-shaped track via a motor. The "client" in question is on a very calm and predicable roller coaster ride, but the ride only works as long as the "motor" (his meds and cooperation) works. "He's off the train again" refers to the lapses in treatment and the client being left to his own devices until he willingly goes or gets forced back on the "ride".
  • Metal Scream: Guy Kozowyk is generally a Type 1, though he is capable of Type 2 gutturals as well.
  • Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: A solid 10 for their entire career.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: "Midas Touch": "Let me tell you about the way you think: YOU'RE WRONG! PLAIN AND SIMPLE! And I'd break my legs if I tried to sink down to your level! Be careful, you might get what you wish for! You don't think I know where you came from? You don't think I know? YOU DON'T THINK I KNOW!?"
  • Revolving Door Band: They've had a lot of lineup changes, but the time from Clients to Prey for Eyes was when it was really bad.
  • Signature Style: Lots of discordant, technical riffing and rapid time shifts, blastbeat-laden drumming, and Guy Kozowyk's instantly recognizable vocals.
  • Special Guest: They've had a few; the more notable ones include Nate Johnson, who performed guest vocals on numerous tracks on Clients, Jonny Davy, who performed guest vocals on "Dread Prevailed" and "Pray for Eyes", Nate Newton, who also performed guest vocals on "Pray for Eyes", and Mirai Kawashima, who performed multiple guest instrumental roles on "It Came from Over There". As for session members, Jon Rice and Tim Brault (from their friends in Hivesmasher) have served as live drummers.
  • Start My Own: McKenzie has Stomach Earth (originally Nyarlathotep) and Nightkin (which also includes David Lock and Zach Gibson in its ranks), while Mike Keller started the mathcore act Meek Is Murder sometime after he left. Weeks, meanwhile, started the metalcore/doom metal project Wormwood with members of Phantom Glue and Doomriders in 2012.
  • Technical Death Metal: Often skirts the edge of this, as most of their music is very, very complex.
  • Uncommon Time: Rapidly-shifting, bizarre times are a big part of their sound.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Occasionally. Probably justified on Clients, as it matches the subject matter quite well.
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