Jul 02

KEN mode – Entrench (2013)



So here’s a hypothetical situation. Let’s say you have a day job – something in an office somewhere, decent hours, and decent pay. However, you moonlight in a metal band and tour when you can. Now, let’s say that against all odds, your band wins a Grammy for Best Metal Album – shocking everyone. So what do you do? Well, if you’re KEN mode (who won a Juno, the Canadian Grammy, for best metal album, bitchslapping Anvil in the process), you quit your day job and proceed to make that album look like a Britney Spears record. That’s right folks: Entrench is their best record so far, and is equally their most accessible and their most heavy record.

As soon as you press play, you are greeted with this dissonance and the countdown-esque kick drumming in the beginning. And from then on, it’s pretty much pure, controlled chaos. It doesn’t dovetail into parts for the sake of being heavy. Songs like Counter Culture Complex provide memorable choruses, whereas songs like The Promises of God (with ex-Botch vocalist Dave Verellen) provide head-banging riffs with aplomb. When the record feels like quieting down, it does so well, as in the entirety of Romeo Must Never Know and the incredibly eerie intro to Figure Your Life Out. As a matter of fact, I’ll go so far as to say that each song here is memorable in its own right. However, what makes this album truly stand out is that the album is cohesive as well. That’s becoming more and more rare these days.

Also, I’d like to note that everything just sounds…together. There’s not any sort of pretentiousness here – every riff is where it needs to be. Frontman Jesse Matthewson‘s lyrics are both honest and occasionally darkly hilarious. Whether he’s yelling at you saying that he’s in control or telling you in a matter-of-fact way to figure your life out, it all just works. Also, I’m not at all surprised at who produced this – everything Matt Bayles has touched is great, and this is no exception.

Long story short, if you’re not going to reinvent the wheel, then you should at least upgrade your own. KEN mode have the distinction of being one of the most creative bands out there right now, and Entrench is an improvement upon that metaphorical wheel in every regard. I don’t have anything bad to say – just a solid metal record for those who like stuff off the beaten path.


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
9. Daedodon
10. Why Don’t You Just Quit?
11. Monomyth

Genre: Metallic Hardcore/Other

Label: Season of Mist

Running Time: 49 Minutes



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