KEN mode


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While it's mostly thought of in more narrative terms, the suspension of disbelief is something that's surprisingly relevant to the world of heavy music, which -- much like horror movies -- allows listeners to dive briefly into the extreme ends of the emotional spectrum without actually needing to run out and make profane sacrifices to dark gods or actually hate their parents. When it comes to noise rock, though, things can get a bit tricky. With the mundane as the antagonist, it's easy for bands to discover their bark doesn't really match their bite, resulting in a sound that, though plenty aggressive, doesn't really make good on its threats. Fortunately, KEN mode have arrived to put on a clinic in muscular, unfiltered anger with their fifth album, Entrench. While it might not be the heaviest or the lowest-tuned band in noise rock's second wave, the Canadian trio definitely wins the arms race when it comes to intensity, more than earning the Black Flag reference in its name as soon as album opener "Counter Culture Complex" gets rolling with a circle pit-inducing ripper of a track. In terms of sheer sonic violence, it's hard to beat "The Promises of God," which feels like watching a fight turn from an even match into a devastatingly one-sided affair as the song transitions from a droning, high-speed riff to a chugging, atonal gut punch around the 90-second mark. Sure, like most other bands, it's probably safe to assume that KEN mode don't wander around hammering into submission anyone who crosses their path, but given the musical savagery at work on Entrench (especially given the sheer rage and disgust that come through on "Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick"), it's easy to dive into the fantasy that if these guys are in your neighborhood, you might be better off seeking safety in numbers.

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