Exclaim!'s Best of 2013: Top 10 Metal & Hardcore Albums

3. KEN Mode
(Season of Mist)

The Winnipeg noisecore warriors who graced the Exclaim! cover in April have proven that their fifth studio album, Entrench, was worthy of the word count. After winning a Juno in 2011 for the seething and suppurating Venerable — the Metal/Hard Music Album Of The Year was re-introduced as a category just in time — they sought to top their efforts with Entrench, and succeeded.

The record was long-listed for the Polaris Prize and pressed the band — composed of brothers Shane and Jesse Matthewson on drums and guitars/vocals respectively, as well as bassist Andrew LaCour — into a relentless touring schedule: A North American Tour with Torche in May and June, U.S. tours with Inter Arma in July and Rosetta in August, European tour dates in October and an Autumn headlining tour in Canada with Full of Hell, and more dates in the U.S. with Norma Jean to cap off the year.

While still replete with the wild, fractured mathcore and unpredictable explosions of noise that have always defined them, Entrench also finds the band employing hooks and earworms more than they ever have before. Entrench is defined by its excellent choruses, making this hardcore noise that you can gleefully scream or snarl along to, like the spat-out hostility of "Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick." Brilliantly produced by Matt Bayles, and burning up on the inside with a magma-hot, barely banked frustration, Entrench lurches and bellows. (Natalie Zina Walschots)