KEN mode

Venerable

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KEN Mode (the first word in their name is actually an acronym for "Kill Everyone Now") are a Canadian noise rock band very much in the vein of Keelhaul, Anodyne, Playing Enemy, and other acts on their former label, Escape Artist. Their songs have a deep, rumbling bass sound, brought out on this, their fourth album and first in three years, by producer Kurt Ballou of Converge; the guitars are jagged, combining hardcore-ish riffing with dissonant screeches and bursts of noise; the drumming is tribal and punk at once; and the vocals are a hoarse, panicky bark reminiscent of Converge's Jake Bannon and several hundred other short-haired, tattooed dudes in arty post-hardcore bands. But while they may not be doing anything particularly original, and may indeed serve older listeners as a nostalgic reminder of the days when bands like Botch and Coalesce bestrode the earth, they are very good at what they do, and manage to put a fresh spin on a fairly minimalist (and therefore, one might incorrectly assume, inherently limited) style. So those who miss the floor-punching, bulging-throat-veins style of angular yet stompy post-hardcore that was everywhere between 1998 and 2003 will find this album to be very much their cup of hot black coffee.

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