Track list :
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
10. Why Don’t You Just Quit?
I remember hearing about KEN mode during my college days by my friend when the band was still struggling to get known. My friend had seen one of those ads which asks if you are a Slipknot fan or a Metallica fan or a fan of any reputed , distinguished band and recommends you a band just like that which is relatively unknown, in my friends case it was Neurosis and boy was he excited about them when he found KEN mode that he kept pestering me to listen to them which I did , and I found their style of music to be quite interesting but then it didn’t really astound me like it did to my friend. After that I didn’t really follow the band, sure I heard the singles that came out on music blogs and streamed some of their music online but I never got to listening their albums in its entirety, although I was happy for them as they had made a lot of progress since then and were playing at major festivals like Hellfest. Now five years later on, I found out that I had to review their new album, I was a little surprised, but also feeling a little nostalgic. It was like visiting an old friend wondering what he’d be like now, even if he wasn’t a close one, after all these years would he still be able to conjure up dark images? Would he still be as energetic as he was in his youth? Well.. It seems that he still has some of the old charm but has gone a little rusty with age.
KEN mode is a three piece Hardcore/Noisecore outfit from Winnipeg, Canada and consists of Jesse Matthewson(Vocals, Bass and Guitars,Piano,MicroKorg) Shawn Matthewson(Percussion) and Andrew Lacour(bass) .What I found most interesting about KEN mode is their ability to create a really dark atmosphere through their chaotic dissonance laden guitars, which is here as well, but only in the slower songs of the section such as No, Im in control in which the distorted bass and the off kilter guitars create a really gritty atmosphere , The Terror pulse whose creepy dissonant guitar twangs sent a chill up my spine, also worth noting are Daeodon with its massive chugs and even Romeo must Never Know which is a ballad of sorts , a rather uncanny one with whispered vocals . The faster songs however, save for the promises of god which really epitomises what KEN mode is about don’t really do much here, they just seem pretty mediocre mathcore/noisecore ditties that heavily borrow from bands like Converge and The Dillinger escape plan and I don’t really think that that’s working for them.
So in the end what we have here is quite a mixed bag, while the slow songs are quite intriguing, they don’t really change my opinion of the band too much, this is not something that I will listen again and again and the reason for that is something that I can’t really fathom, as far as the faster songs are concerned the band has definitely gone down a notch. But nonetheless I think this is a good album that I might enjoy occasionally, however I am sure fans of the band would beg to differ. Now if you’ll excuse me I think ill go listen to some Gaza.
Listen to a stream of the entire album below!