Review Summary: The wealth of influences makes for a very enjoyable listen, as there are just enough recurring elements to tie it together as a more than coherent album.
KEN mode display an interesting dynamic in heavy music. It hearkens back to the days where heavy music was simply just heavy without any pretensions involved. With Entrench
, KEN mode take the intensity of hardcore and combine it with post-hardcore and noise rock tendencies to create an album that stands on its own merit. Vocalist/guitarist Jesse Matthewson gives the album incredible distinctive vocals, which proves to make all of the difference on this record. Whether he is letting loose a hardcore-esque shout or shredding his larynx on an all-out high register scream, his vocals push this release into the stratosphere in terms of energy.
The true strength of Entrench
lies within the varied song structures. While much of the release is indeed a vicious and powerful listening experience, KEN mode is not at all hesitant to include influences that cause the affair to slow down for incredibly dramatic effect. “No; I’m in Control” begins with disgustingly dirty bass-heavy sound as the guitars buzz around in the background, only subtly affecting the atmosphere of the track. The song then slows down to a very deliberate drumbeat that precedes gang shouts of the title of the track. The pacing of the track is perfect considering that it is sandwiched in between two doses of metallic fury. Whether the band is providing an unforgiving onslaught (“Counter Culture Complex”) or using massive amounts of feedback to build a foreboding vibe (“The Terror Pulse”), one constant of Entrench is the dense atmosphere. Even when the intensity takes a break, there are very few moments that allow for even a glimmer of hope to be taken from the album. It can be oppressive at times, but the truth is that the variety between the songs make this one of the more versatile albums within the metallic hardcore/noise rock genre. “Romeo Must Never Know” starts off with a pensive guitar line and hushed vocals, and takes its time constructing a slow-burning song that is unlike any other song on Entrench. It is by far the most diverse song in terms of sound, as Matthewson and company sound as if they are channeling a more aggressive Depeche Mode. The wealth of influences makes for a very enjoyable listen, as there are just enough recurring elements to tie it together as a more than coherent album.
is a mammoth of an album; extremely heavy songs meld perfectly with a dense and paranoid atmosphere to create an album that deserves a listen from every heavy music fan. As stated before, this is a band that redefines what it means to unabashedly wear influences on their collective sleeve. As the last seconds of the instrumental and elegant “Monomyth” fade out, it is incredibly easy to see that these are indeed classically trained musicians that have not nearly run out of creative avenues to explore and build off of for the future.