Friday 22 March 2013

KEN mode - Entrench (Album Review)

Album Type : Full Length
Date Released : 15/3/2013
Label : Season of Mist
 Entrench, album tracklisting:
1. Counter Culture Complex
2. No; I'm In Control
3. Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick
4. The Terror Pulse
5. The Promises Of God
6. Romeo Must Never Know
7. Secret Vasectomy
8. Figure Your Life Out
9. Daeodon
10. Why Don't You Just Quit?
11. Monomyth

The heartbeat of any modern metropolis, its anger, aggression and urgency echo through "Entrench". With full-length number five, KEN mode honour their noisier roots delving deep into fertile metallic Post-Hardcore severity, while offering their most creative and sonically diverse album yet. KEN mode was formed in 1999 by Canadian Royal Conservatory of Music trained musicians Jesse Matthewson and brother Shane Matthewson who were then joined by Darryl Laxdal on bass. Their band name was based on a quote of Henry Rollins and the acronym stands for "Kill Everyone Now". After releasing several demos during the next four years, their debut album "Mongrel" (2003) created a strong buzz that opened doors for touring and shows with THE END, MASTODON, BURNT BY THE SUN, PELICAN and THE DREAM IS DEAD among others. Follow-up "Reprisal" (2006) confirmed KEN mode as a new powerhouse of their genre. Laxdal parted ways with the band and was first replaced by Drew Johnston (ELECTRO QUARTERSTAFF) and later Jahmeel Russell (HIDE YOUR DAUGHTERS), who recorded third album "Mennonite" (2008) with them. This release saw the band embark on a European tour with Welsh rockers TAINT, for which Chad Tremblay had meanwhile taken over bass duties. KEN mode's next album "Venerable" (2011) was produced by Kurt Ballou of CONVERGE and the trio hit the road again with GAZA, BURIED INSIDE and later A LIFE ONCE LOST among others as well as returning to Europe with then label-mates KYLESA and CIRCLE TAKES THE SQUARE. Critical acclaim had gained a level that witnessed "Venerable" winning the inaugural Heavy Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year Juno Award in Canada and a nomination for Rock Album of the Year by the Western Canadian Music Awards. KEN mode were ready for the next big step in their career and recorded and mixed "Entrench" with Matt Bayles (MASTODON, ISIS, BOTCH). Get ready for a massive punch in your face from KEN mode and "Entrench"!

Line - up
Jesse Matthewson: vocals, guitar
Shane Matthewson: drums
Andrew LaCour: bass, vocals


Time for something noisy and Canadian. No, the Sludgelord hasn't got a promo copy of the new Celine Dion CD. They messed up and gave us the new KEN mode instead, mercifully. That might have been awkward otherwise.
KEN mode deal in audio smut along the lines of Melvins, Helmet and Unsane. Noise Rock in it's traditional sense and purest filthy form, from the heyday of the 90s. Add unto this recipe a  shaving of sludge thrown in for good measure, and you get an ear-bruising force to be reckoned with. Do not take this lightly. You have been warned.
'Entrench' is an LP chock full of killer riffs that howl and heavy bass that churns. It's like super-sizing everything on a happy meal. 'No; I'm in Control' has a practically obese bass line intro, searching and sniffing like a demented bloodhound. High-end droning riffs scatter across the horizon, all the while being kept at distance by Dale Crover quality drumming - huge and larger than life itself.
'The Promises of God' is positively progressive in nature. All frenetic and discordant and punky, it's guitar work is next level, especially when it drops with the double bass that bursts in uninvited through the side door. Head banging is mandatory.
The 'Best title in show' award goes to 'Secret Vasectomy'. It's also another quality riff fest, which seems to be a recurring theme throughout this effort.
Pick of the litter for me personally is 'Figure Your Life Out' with it's ominous tone. A tad more evil than the rest of the tracks up for grabs here, it's so heavy at times that it's hard to imagine an average PA system that could handle the sheer weight that it wields. The ending is not neck friendly at all. You will however be too busy grinning like a lunatic to care.
I loved 'Entrench'. A fine export from the great white north has presented itself for our delirious approval, and it should be seized with both hands and both ears. Heavy as hell and manic to boot. Noise Rock is alive and well, but don't blame Canada - blame KEN mode.

 Words : Matt Fitton

As always show your support to the band. You can buy the CD/LP here and DD at the usual places.  This record is immense.  Go buy it.  Thanks to Gunnar @ SOM for hooking us up with the record.