KEN Mode – Entrench
At present it’s difficult to specifically define “metal” or “hardcore.” It’s a moot point that the genres have long since overlapped to become something that is both kinda/sorta and neither/nor. KEN Mode’s fifth longplayer Entrench exemplifies the vagaries of metalcore conundrum circa 2013 quite well. This is to say that the band mixes and matches elements of math rock, new school hardcore, death metal, black metal and random noise to deliver a sound that is actually new – no small feat in today’s post-everything music scene.
The album is a rough ride that requires endurance and imperviousness to pain. And if you’re looking for melody, instantly recognizable riffs or the comfort of the verse-chorus-verse structure, Entrench is probably not for you. But the brave and hardy souls who stick it out for the duration of the album may find a thorny symmetry in the cacophony – perhaps even beauty. Hey, after a while this stuff actually does begin to sound like music.
Still, tracks like “Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick” and “Secret Vasectomy” don’t go down easy. This is some gnarly stuff that probably makes more sense in the live context. So I’ll definitely be at KEN Mode’s show at The EARL later this month to determine whether the band’s sonic formula actually works in real time. I bet these guys slay live.
[Season of Mist]