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Ken mode: Entrench

I try to be on time to certain parties, but I'm really late for this one. Even my most casual internet browsing of late can't help but turn up references to KEN mode (the first part of the name is Kill Everyone Now, something they borrowed from Henry Rollins). Now that I'm faced with writing about them, all I really want to say is that they were worth the wait. Their music is hard to classify, but is probably something like a post-hardcore, noise, and return to hardcore blend. When the music works, it takes listeners into new possibilities for the heavy music they love. When it doesn't work, it still manages to maintain interest, mostly because very few people wouldn't want to know where things will go next.

Somebody needs to tell these guys, by the way, that there's something mean not only about their song titles, but also the order they come in. I mean, who decided to put "Secret Vasectomy" right after "Romeo Must Never Know?" On top of all that, the next track is called "Figure Your Life Out." In a world of secret vasectomies, I'm sure someone needs to set some new goals.

On to the music: this album opens with a stellar screeching of strings that is quickly interrupted by a steady drum pounding, a kind of knock on the door, an invitation to something more. It wasn't so much of an attempt to have rock music beat out concert music, but to suggest continuity between 20th and 21st century dissonant concert music and the compositions on this album.

I feel a little helpless trying to describe the music here. It's a constant layering of noise, angry vocals, crunchy distortion, and the occasional pleasant sounding chord. For those new to the band, my advice is to skip around a little before settling in for a complete listen. There's a lot going on hereómany musical moods and expressions are on display hereóbut something is sure to grab even the most closed-minded listener.

To me, the best tracks on this album are those that let the notes breathe a little more. "Monomyth," for example, gives the music time to develop in just the right ways. Other highlights include the aforementioned "Romeo Must Never Know" and, yes, "Secret Vasectomy" is up there with the best. When Jesse Matthewson brings his vocals into the mix, things generally get angrier, more aggressive. Still, he's not a bad guide through the noise. I liked his voice best when it didn't dominate the sound; he plays well alongside the other instruments. I preferred his singing on "Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick" and "Why Don't You Just Quit?" probably because I had a good sense of the lyrics for at least half the time.

This is a fascinating new release, one that I highly recommend not only for its musical interest, but also for what it does with heavy music. These guys are creating the sound for the coming decade.

Track Listing:
1. Counter Culture Complex
2. No; I'm In Control
3. Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick
4. The Terror Pulse
5. The Promises of God
6. Romeo Must Never Know
7. Secret Vasectomy
8. Figure Your Life Out
9. Daeodon
10. Why Don't You Just Quit?
11. Monomyth

Added: April 17th 2013
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1560
Language: english

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