Every Time I Die isn't a hardcore band -- at least, not anymore. On Gutter Phenomenon, the Buffalo band adopts a much more straightforward rock sound in tracks like the heavy "Tusk and Temper." ETID exemplifies hardcore's roots in punk rock as well, keeping things high-speed and gritty. The five-piece still plays hardcore breakdowns, but in the case of "Kill the Music," there are also a dancing bass line and chugging guitars reminiscent of Mötley Crüe. The bass throws back even further on "The New Black," with a heavy groove that conjures thoughts of Thin Lizzy. ETID didn't completely abandon its style -- "Bored Stiff" sounds like the songs on Hot Damn!, shifting between slow and spastic. (Keith Buckley's vocals sound amazing when he's screaming, but strained and whiny when he's singing.) Another reminder that this is still ETID is a line in "Champing at the Bit": "This is the year of the party crasher." True to their lyrics, these guys know how to throw down after a good show.
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Tourmates the Red Chord took their name from a German play in which a schizophrenic man slits his lover's throat and then reverts to his normal self, asking, "My love, what is that red cord across your neck?" It's both poetic and brutal -- perfect for describing the group. The Red Chord can't be squeezed into a genre; it's not metalcore, grind, hardcore or death metal, but all of those and a few more variations of heavy music. And impressively, these musicians can switch up styles without losing their signature sound. On the band's latest disc, Clients, the rapid drumming is precise (compliments of ex-Origin drummer John Longstreth, who is no longer with the Red Chord), and surprisingly, the guitars can keep up (check out "Antman"). The real question is this: Can you keep up? With the Red Chord's breakneck speed, the only downside is that you may hurt yourself trying.