Review: KEN Mode – Venerable

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KEN Mode 
Profound Lore 
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada’s KEN Mode have steadily been plying away their trade over the last few years, showing great potential particularly on their latest two albums, ‘Reprisal’ and ‘Mennonite’. On those records, KEN Mode showed they had the chops to smash their way into listeners’ consciousness. And right here, they have done more than that.
Because ‘Venerable’ is quite the pulverizing record. It makes a statement of intent with ‘Book of Muscle’ that says KEN Mode really mean business here. Second track ‘Obeying The Iron Will’ features quite a technical riff, but still one that maintains a high amount of beef. If that isn’t quite hard enough for you, then ‘Batholith’ will hit you upside the head like a sledgehammer. Everything about that track is huge, absolutely monstrous.
And for the numerous faster skullsmashers, there’s offings into post-rock territory (particularly on instrumental ‘Flight of the Echo Hawk’), and there’s a couple of slower, lengthier dirges thrown in for good measure that more than double the pain, particularly the outstanding ‘Never Was’, which is coursing with intensity, particularly as vocalist Jesse Matthewson bellows the words ‘No god, never was’. Indeed, it’s lyrical moments like that resound throughout the album.
Obviously this was intended as the album to take KEN Mode closer to being a bigger name in a few households. It’s their first release under Profound Lore, produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, who once again has done an impressive job in boosting the band’s sound. Riffs like those on the earlier stated ‘Obeying The Iron Will’ possess that extra beef that wasn’t quite up to that level on previous records. It’s clear as a bell and that’s what gives ‘Venerable’ that extra firepower.
Make no mistake, despite the perhaps questionable moniker, KEN Mode are worth your time, and this is the step up in class that was required. ‘Venerable’ is absolutely essential listening.
Peter Clegg
Alternatively, you can stream it here

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