KEN mode
Entrench


4.0
excellent

Review

by Greg Fisher STAFF
March 14th, 2013 | 69 replies | 14,048 views


Release Date: 03/19/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: KEN mode grow in intensity on their most expansive album to date.

On their fifth full-length, KEN mode clearly live up to Henry Rollins-dubbed "Kill Everyone Now" of their name. From the get-go, Entrench proves to be marked by its sheer intensity and threatening vibe. Yet, the trio from Winnipeg succeed in making their presentation distinctive this time around. Their Juno-winning previous effort Venerable sounded way too derivative sharing plenty of similarities with noise rock titans Unsane. Although the socially-aware style of that formidable act remains KEN mode's most notable inspiration, there are several alterations to their sound that provide the new record with a unique identity. Their trademark noise rock shows further expansion through prevalent hardcore punk and sludge metal leanings. The outfit blends all these genres with admirable ferocity delivering a biting performance that bursts with atonal guitar riffs, gargantuan bass lines, intricate drum fills and deranged screams.

While the opener “Counter Culture Complex” showcases KEN mode at their most accessible with its anthemic chorus of post-hardcore origin, the rest of the album is far more complex in its dynamics. “Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick” revolves around a frenzied onslaught until it slows down only to settle on a devastating mosh riff. On the other hand, “The Terror Pulse” is a terrific exercise in building tension constantly evolving from pummelling, bass-driven sections to deliriously spastic shredding. The song's climax is nothing short of suffocating with the line: “This is goodbye to the man you once knew” maniacally chanted by frontman Jesse Matthewson. The relentlessly heavy “The Promises Of God” only augments the severity with its kaleidoscopic soloing interspersed with violent metallic outbursts.

Further on, KEN mode don't always rely on unflinching heaviness. Both “Romeo Must Never Know” and “Figure Your Life Out” effectively integrate atmospheric passages into the style of the record without ditching its overpowering grimness. Moreover, the splendidly orchestrated "Monomyth" unexpectedly ends the disc on a serene note. These mellower tracks provide a welcome change of pace for the album's latter half that otherwise runs out of steam at points. Namely, such songs as “Secret Vasectomy” and “Why Don't You Just Quit?” just fail to bring anything new to the table rehashing previously explored ideas. However, even in these lesser moments Entrench doesn't lose its fierce intensity that distinguishes KEN mode from their contemporaries. The lyrics, which maliciously delve into fears and frustrations of modern life, are also commendable getting the abrasive music into palpable social perspective. In consequence, the album as a whole makes for an unnerving, yet oddly rewarding experience which needs to be undergone by every fan of eclectic metal.




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user ratings (140)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Mark A. (4)
The wealth of influences makes for a very enjoyable listen, as there are just enough recurring eleme...


Comments:Add a Comment 
greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 13th 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

The album's streaming at this location:

http://kenmode.bandcamp.com/album/entrench

My interview with Jesse Matthewson:

http://www.sputnikmusic.com/blog/2013/03/21/ken-mode-entrench-interview/

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

Inveigh
March 13th 2013



24863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

can't wait to jam this, nice review Greg

also I think I'm one of the few that likes Venerable more than Menonite

Digging: YOB - Clearing The Path To Ascend

MMX
March 14th 2013



4796 Comments


I need to get this when it comes out

Xenophanes
Emeritus
March 14th 2013



10592 Comments


Cool band to see live. Great review, I'm not sure why I haven't checked this. Consider me excited.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Thanks guys. I really would like to see them live. Unfortunately they're touring only the US and Canada.

Trivia: I've heard Jesse drinks maple syrup like its water and strangely only listens to taylor swift. Hence, the track This Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick, I guess.

kingsoby1
Emeritus
March 14th 2013



4950 Comments


record is v good

Wizard
March 14th 2013



19298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome review as per usual Greg, glad there's people like you on the site to pick up on albums such as these. This was a great listen but not nearly as potent as Venerable, they dropped too much of the metal element on here.

also I think I'm one of the few that likes Venerable more than Menonite

Agreed, it is better and it's the best in their discog.

Digging: Downer - Downer

theacademy
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2013



28381 Comments


hi craig

Digging: Kimbra - The Golden Echo

MichaelSnoxall
March 14th 2013



12163 Comments


Venerable is better than Mennonite, no doubt. Sweet review, sweet album.

Inveigh
March 14th 2013



24863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

listened to some of this last night, so far I'm inclined to agree with Wiz. will only know with repeated listens though.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 14th 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

It's my favorite album of theirs, but I guess it depends on your preferences. The first half is definitely better than the second.

wacknizzle
March 14th 2013



12882 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Really like what I've heard from this, will have to jam more.

Digging: Plebeian Grandstand - Lowgazers

Dreamflight
March 14th 2013



1760 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Listening to this right now and it sounds really good.

So much win on the 1st paragraph, fuck this is some of the most intense shit I've heard recently.

Funeralopolis
March 14th 2013



11155 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

been meaning to check this band out for a while, will get this.

Digging: Banks - London

Wizard
March 15th 2013



19298 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's my favorite album of theirs, but I guess it depends on your preferences. The first half is definitely better than the second.

So how is this better than Venerable if one half is weaker than the other? their last album is a monster all the way through. Also, this sounds more like Unsane than anything else cause Unsane didn't do the metalcore thing. In fact, their noise rock lean on this album suggests otherwise. Just an observation, not attacking your opinion buddy.

Funeralopolis, check these guys out asap.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

Everything is explained in the review Wiz. I guess I have a totally reverse opinion on their progression than you. Sonically Venerable sounded too familiar for me borrowing too much from Unsane. Trust me, I've heard their most albums. This one goes more into hardcore/sludge metal direction, which makes their sound more expansive and identifiable. I completely don't get why you still insist they were influenced by metalcore. I've never heard anyone mentioning that other than you tbh.

Inveigh
March 15th 2013



24863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I feel like I've heard them called metalcore numerous times (read the most recent Pitchfork interview with them, they talk about it pretty heavily)

to me, this album seems less sludge and noise rock influenced than Venerable, and more like a conventional metalcore album in the vein of Converge, Botch, Gaza, Coalesce, etc.

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

That's what I get from not reading pitchfork. They're definitely going in that direction though, but I definitely wouldn't dub them straightforward metalcore. Well, noisecore is perhaps an apt description.



Inveigh
March 15th 2013



24863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah I can vibe with noisecore

greg84
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2013



7346 Comments

Album Rating: 4.2

If this was an EP consisting of the first 6 tracks only, it'd be 4.5+ for me. The Terror Pulse and The Promises Of God are particularly amazing.



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