KEN Mode – Entrench

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KEN Mode
Entrench
Season of Mist

KEN Mode hit it big last year after scoring a Juno award for 2011’s ‘Venerable’, after which you may have expected the Winnipeg, Manitoba natives to perhaps not sound so angry, so intense. Instead they buck the trend. It didn’t seem possible for KEN Mode to get any more intense after ‘Venerable’s bloodlust, but that’s precisely what they’ve managed with ‘Entrench’. Their fifth album in ten years begins predictably manic with ‘Counter Complex Culture’, and it doesn’t take long for the venomous trio to bare their teeth. ‘No, I’m In Charge’ and ‘Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick’ are both examples of people you’d hate to meet in a darkened alley. Those speedier thrillrides are balanced by a mixture of slower, heavier, and occasionally more atmospheric. Tracks like ‘The Terror Pulse’ and ‘Daeodon’ are huge city monsters roaming across the space they occupy; ‘Figure Your Life Out’ is like being in the ring with a champion counter-puncher who just keeps picking you off time after time with jab after jab. The riff is underpinned by some fabulous rolling bass and a strutting beat that underpins the song and eventually collapses into one almighty haymaker.
 
And then there’s the forays into post-metal, most notably ‘Romeo Must Never Know’, which sees vocalist Jesse Matthewson whispering over a quiet-loud riff that eventually explodes into a dark, dramatic finish, while ‘Monomyth’ takes the classical approach and feels equally climactic with stunning string orchestration. Put simply, ‘Entrench’ is quite possibly one of the most enjoyable treats to come my way this year – its raging, its angry, its downright tormentous, with even the quieter moments seeing the tension ratched up like a powderkeg ready to explode, with ‘Monomyth’ being the moment the red mist finally lifts and we can look back upon what a beautiful rampage this is.

Peter Clegg

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