KEN Mode Reprisal

KEN Mode Reprisal
Winnipeg noise-mongers KEN Mode eschew the Canadian indie metal trend of breaking up after an awesome debut and then returning with a sophomore effort: Reprisal, an album of sonic fury, hostility and abrasion worthy of its title after a three-year absence spent doing, well, whatever there is to do in Winnipeg (lamenting the loss of the Jets?). With their debut, Mongrel, KEN (Kill Everyone Now) Mode unleashed a frightful volley of metallic vehemence into the heart of the aggressive music underground. But, impressively, with Reprisal, they have bettered it in nearly every way, taking everything that made that record special, impressive and bludgeoning — it’s non-alienating complexity, unrelenting abrasion and antagonism, intellectual heaviness and relenting grind — trimmed the fat and distilled the elements. Reprisal is a harsh album, scraping and slashing from its very outset with opener "The Hammer Party,” which, while just as damaging as anything KEN Mode have ever done, is inexplicably slightly catchier, an aspect present throughout Reprisal. While obviously still drawing musical influence from acts such as Keelhaul, the Melvins, the Jesus Lizard, Unsane, the Am-Rep roster, older Today is the Day and a plethora of other noise merchants, KEN Mode have bettered their debut and staked a claim as the new noise others will invariably be influenced by.

KEN Mode is from the under-appreciated metallic noise rock school of aggression/abrasion. Do you fit in the punk/hardcore scene out in Winnipeg? Guitarist/Vocalist Jesse Matthewson: KEN Mode come from an older stock of aggressive music. We’ve taken from those noisier years of Am-Rep and processed it with a shorter attention span and a lower tuning. Because of this, KEN Mode have never fit in with the scenes in Winnipeg, or Canada, for that matter. This is not to say that we don’t have friends in said scenes, we’ve just never fit in musically, and the fans never seem to catch on.

With hardcore/metal continuing to gain popularity, do you see the more abrasive style of heaviness gaining acceptance? I can, but only if bands like us are willing to work our asses off. Since we’re a little left of centre and enjoy noise to processed sounds, thunderous drums to triggers and distorted vocals to the good cop/bad cop sound that runs rampant in the heavy music scene, I think it’ll be a little while before people are willing to give us a chance. For now, we’ll just remain an elitist’s or band’s band — people who are willing to seek out music and appreciate it. (Escape Artist)