The Mark of Excellence

KEN Mode

Entrench

> > Mar 15 2013

KEN Mode - Entrench
By Natalie Zina WalschotsThe fifth full-length record from Winnipeg, MB-based metallic hardcore noise rock warriors KEN Mode was bound to be subjected to ridiculously high standards. Their previous full-length, 2011's critically acclaimed Venerable, became the first album in Canadian history to win a Juno Award in the inaugural Heavy Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year category. Rather than being intimidated by the astronomically high expectations established by Venerable's success, KEN Mode systematically went about exceeding them with Entrench. Recorded with Matt Bayles (Botch, Mastodon), this record manages to embody a live-off-the-floor aggression and spontaneity while unquestionably possessing the polish and depth of the finest studio material. Largely due to the acquisition of permanent bassist Andrew LaCour, whose addition to the band in 2011 made them finally a stable touring and writing three-piece, Entrench is KEN Mode's most varied record to date, in terms of songwriting. There are still vengeful metallic hardcore numbers like "Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick," while "Romeo Must Never Know" aches and writhes with a quieter, more miserable set of emotions. "Secret Vasectomy" has a dark, dirty tone and driving punk structure, whereas closer "Monomyth" is a vast, sophisticated work of post-rock. KEN Mode have always walked the line between sneering meanness and raw anguish in the tone of their lyrics and delivery, courtesy of guitarist/vocalist Jesse Matthewson, but Entrench adds a new perspective, a mature world-weariness that makes the record's concept play out more like a black comedy than pure tragedy. After producing such a powerful, chimeric record, which will unquestionably stand as their masterpiece, there's no question that KEN Mode are currently at the peak of their collective talents.
(New Damage)

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