KEN mode – Success

photo Brenna Faris

photo Brenna Faris

Predictability has never had a presence in the sounds and imagination of Canadian noise wreckers KEN mode, though that in itself is something to be expected. Their caustic and furious brews of post-rock, hardcore, metal, and noise, to mention just some of their flavours employed, have ignited ears and imaginations with a tempestuous almost petulant creativity ensuring the band’s propositions are some of the most persistently and highly anticipated treats. The Winnipeg trio’s new album Success is no exception but this time it has taken a detour which definitely takes assumptions by surprise.

The band has gone back to explore the sounds and invention which were fermenting and fuelling the late 80s/early 90s when KEN mode began to sow its own sonic explorations. The album’s press release lists the album as paying homage to “both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning grunge; and Touch Go/Dischord scenes of, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu warping their teenage minds.” Listening to Success though you can go back further and find the seeds in predominantly post and noise punk with the album persistently sounding like a primal version of Gang of 4 on steroids. It is the band as raw and aggressive as ever, probably even more so at times, and still lyrically stirring up thoughts and emotional involvement, but it shows a new character and new compelling designs from the band which might not quite work for all but here is being greedily devoured.

KMSuccessCover_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review     Recorded with Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey) and recorded as a fully live and analog session, KEN mode’s sixth album opens with Blessed, a track which from its initial sonic whistle turns into a heavy bestial prowl. Simultaneously a swagger emerges in the grizzly tones of Scott Hamilton’s bass as magnetic jabbing lines the beats of drummer Shane Matthewson. Intimidating restraint replaces their predacious aggression at this point, the vocals of guitarist Jesse Matthewson crawling syllable by syllable with open ire over the addiction igniting web now in place. The song’s volatile instincts soon return to take rein though, almost insidious discord and hostility invading whilst binding excited senses in inventive and mischievous rancor.

The outstanding start kicks up another notch with These Tight Jeans, a song which roars and excites like an illicit union of Nirvana, Black Flag, and Pretty Girls Make Graves. Of course that is a mere hint to something unique to KEN mode, the track a rumbling, grumbling contagion of wiry hooks, spicy grooves, and rhythmic badgering. As ever the song is driven by fury loaded vocals but this time assisted by the excellent punk lures of guest Jill Clapham who just adds richer colour to the slimline unbridled furnace on the senses.

The Owl… follows the brilliance of its predecessor with its own gripping dark beauty. A sinister noir lit intrigue escapes the growling bass groove, its drama escorted by the similarly potent landing of drum sticks as vocals dangle their raw tone and narrative over the imagination. An air of Bauhaus wraps the absorbing lure and agitated swing of the song as guitars and bass spring an inescapable menace of a flirtation which only gets darker and more imposing as the emotive intimacy of cello from Natanielle Felicitas returns after first gracing the opener. The solemn gentle passage hugging her enterprise is soon a brawl of noise and intensity again before regaining control in a mesmeric finale which leaves ears and emotions in lustful bliss

The grungy turmoil of I Just Liked Fire explodes next, it too a rebellious blaze for ears and appetite to get lustful over as twisted discord and carnal noise collude to abrase and infest the senses whilst its successor Management Control, with greater restraint crowds ears with a thick resonating bassline and a tangy vining of guitar endeavour. The beats of Shane once again provide disorientating yet anthemic bait aligned to the predatory and contagious groans of bass but sonically the song is more involved and less instant with its catchy hooks and grooves. This is not to say the track is any less virulent than the previous songs, just a more intensive exploration with layers of waiting rewards.

There is a feel of Psychic TV to the following A Passive Disaster as its carnivorous basslines and caustic bellow gets right under the skin and into the psyche whilst Failing At Fun Since 1981 straight after, is punk belligerence at its blisteringly sonic and primitively rhythmic best. Both songs are a jungle of menace and bracing invention, individual noise riots to thrill and linger though they get outshone a touch by A Catalog Of Small Disappointments and in turn closing song Dead Actors. The first of the final pair is an uncompromising persuasion, its stalking rhythms and vocal angst entwined in the rabid theatre of guitar and lyrics. The track enslaves body and emptions with ease, threatening and seducing with every snarl and raw fingering of the senses before its successor takes over with a psychotic and darkly elegant Gang of 4 meets Wire like meander of sound and distress lined emotional reflection. The song is spellbinding, a long term journey taking itself and the listener on a traumatic and turbulently fascinating adventure.

It is hard to say yet if Success is KEN mode’s finest hour such its big enough departure to previous encounters reveals something openly and strikingly different but the seriously thrilling encounter is definitely a contender.

Success is available via Season Of Mist now @ http://shop.season-of-mist.com/predefined-search?id_list=102, http://kenmode.bigcartel.com/, or https://kenmode.bandcamp.com/album/success

http://www.ken-mode.com/

Upcoming KEN mode dates with Fight Amp

June 16, 2015 – Toronto, ON @ The Shop (Parts & Labour) w/The Great Sabatini

June 17, 2015 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus w/The Great Sabatini

June 18, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/Pyrrhon, Couch Slut

June 19, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie

June 20, 2015 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Lo-Pan

June 21, 2015 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington w/GOBO’S CVIT

June 26, 2015 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Goodwill w/Pop Crimes, Teethmarks *no Fight Amp

RingMaster 16/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

Fight Amp – Constantly Off

Pic Freddie Ross

Pic Freddie Ross

Whether they call themselves Fight Amp or Fight Amputation, Philadelphia’s keg of noise rock ferocity have returned with a blistering roar of an album in the shape of Constantly Off. Imposing and at times bordering on carnivorous, the release is the band’s first new recordings in over three years and their heaviest most virulently cantankerous offering yet.

Once more the trio pour grunge tenacity, sludge oppressiveness, and punk predation into their creative vat for the album, twisting and honing it into a tempest of irresistible and rousing noise rock. Equally though Fight Amp has cultivated their most infectious and seductive melodic tempting too. It has resulted in songs which rhythmically stalk, sonically abrase, and melodically romance the senses whilst creating an infestation which as suggested earlier sees the band at a new plateau of invention and sound. Think early Melvins and Torche meets KEN mode with rigorous incitement from the likes of Nirvana, Black Flag, and Dope Body, then think of that being something original again, and you have the addictive might of the Steve Poponi (American Heritage, Ladder Devils) recorded Constantly Off.

Ex Everything sets things in contagious motion, the opener stepping forward in a breeze of portentously predacious sound with the guitar of Mike McGinnis creating sonic smog. A whisper of a relaxation follows before rugged bass and guitar riffs collude with punchy beats in casting a more intensive examination of ears. The vocals of McGinnis and bassist Jon DeHart, whilst being just as imposing, offer a more harmonic temper to the heavy weight of the song, simultaneously sculpting prowling grooves through their individual string craft as hostile as they are magnetic. It is a beast of an encounter, a flirtatious predator which shares its traits with the following Survival Is Strange.

CO_COVER_WEB_Reputation Radio/RingMaster Review The second song is a much more lively and volatile proposal from its first breath. The guitar spins a web of scathing riffs and enticing grooves around vocals which again come with an infectious swing and raw attitude. The contagious essence of the song is emulated just as resourcefully, amidst the resonating lures of bass, in the swinging sticks of drummer Dan Smith too. The encounter is noise addiction for ears and appetite matched quickly after by Leveling In A Dream. Its initial bluesy coaxing is liquor to the senses, a minute plus of suggestive toxicity which eventually spawns a rhythmic and vocal stroll of forthright attitude. Subsequently a reserved but antagonistic wind of sound with rhythmic punches fill ears, the closing minute of the track a bracing bellow which still never catches fire but smoulders perfectly for potent success.

Smith with his rhythmic and rapacious enterprise sets You Don’t Wanna Live Forever rolling next, his jabs increasing in pace and virulence until guitar and bass cannot hold back any longer and jump in with dirty riffs and boozy grooves, which are matched in turn by the raw and catchy variety of the vocals. Agitation and discord add to the captivating revelry, the song a perpetual eruption of off kilter tenacity and bouncing energy, not forgetting ingenuity.

Contrasting the leaping persuasion of its predecessor, I Perceive Reptoids employs another threatening prowl in its proposal. It comes with a post punk shadowing, a solemn toning which continues to cloud the corrosive expulsions of vocal and sonic ire aligned to another riveting and intrusive rhythmic enticement. Once more the song is an incitement bred from colluding contrasts and opposing textures, and again ears and imagination are twisted into subservience.

Final track Happy Joyful Life brings a last tempest to devour greedily. The bass of DeHart is almost bestial in its voice and addictively savage basslines, the beats of Smith rapier like, whilst McGinnis’ guitar breeds a maelstrom of senses tearing hooks and toxic grooves. Together it is a tempestuous and ridiculously infectious affair driven by scowling vocals and just outstanding.

The track makes an absorbing end to an incendiary release on ears and emotions, Constantly Off brewing its own terrain of noise rock which explores all the essences making up its DNA with such imagination that it ensures its appeal will go far beyond one or two specific genres. Quite simply Fight Amp creates irresistible noisy rock ‘n’ roll and in their new offering one of the real treats of 2015.

Constantly Off is available now via Brutal Panda Records digitally and on vinyl @ http://www.brutalpandarecords.com/products/fight-amp-constantly-off-12 or https://fightamp.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/FightAmp   http://www.fightamp.com/

RingMaster 10/06/2015

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard on Reputation Radio @ http://www.reputationradio.net

 

No Way – Sing Praises

Pic  Tony Stanley

Pic Tony Stanley

From sound and presence to voracity and appeal, there is nothing lightweight about the debut release From US band No Way. The four-track Sing Praises EP is a brute of an introduction to the Brooklyn quartet, a compelling and enslaving tempest of noise and invention fusing thick essences of noise and punk rock with those of sludge and heavy melodic rock. Some bands seem to instinctively tune in to the listener’s wants and primal needs, and it is fair to say that No Way certainly fed and intensively satisfied ours.

No Way was formed in 2012, swiftly making their mark on the New York punk scene. Drawing comparisons to the likes of Helmet and Unsane, the band were soon sculpting their own distinct presence and sound, unafraid to infuse varied styles and raw spices into the mix of sound mentioned earlier. Their live reputation has also grown from those early potent days with the foursome sharing stages with bands such as Whores., Fight Amp, Black Tusk, Inter Arma, American Sharks, Cancer Bats, Naam and White Hills. That attention will only be broadened and strengthened by the release of Sing Praises, the Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Pelican, Shrinebuilder) recorded and Carl Saff (Young Widows, Helms Alee, OFF!, Kowloon Walled City, Big Business) mastered proposition an imposing slab of prime sonic and rhythmic beef flavoured with an imagination and a creative intrigue to get the taste buds singing.

The release looms up on ears with opener The Cutting and within a breath is walling them in with bulging riffs and debilitating rhythms. It is an imposing start but only the teaser to greater things as warped sonic scythes from guitars coveradd to the brewing mayhem. Vocalist Chuck Berrett is as a formidable a presence as the song itself, his raw and growling tones an instant lure complimenting and inciting further the rugged turbulence around him. At its heart there is the inventiveness of a Melvins to the song and the caustic beauty of a Cancer Bats whilst the core swagger to grooves is Coal Chamber bred, their swing reminding of the song Sway. It is a merciless seduction gnawing and flirting with thoughts and emotions, an immediate pinnacle matched straight away by Shake the Meat.

The second track makes a less intensive but just as gripping entrance, the guitar of Jordan Melkin coaxing ears and imagination with potent hooks as ripe and pungent beats from drummer Chris Enriquez provide an intimidating cage. Further enhanced and coloured by the throaty bass bait of Dave Maffei alongside the varied and fierce vocals, the track is an unpredictable and insatiable predator threatening and teasing with impassioned aggression and shadow bred, bordering on deranged enterprise. The riveting blaze is followed by the exceptional prowl and creative stalking of War Dance. It is a hypnotic proposition, a lone riff accompanied by this time more restrained tones from Berrett the initial drama; bait subsequently joined by merciless slaps from Enriquez and eventually stoner-esque hues within explosive roars. The song hunts the senses and psyche from start to finish, even its intermittent immersive and invasive sonic squalls a menace which increases the theatre induced by the engrossing single minded slim stalking either side of them

The track is scintillating and leaves the appetite greedier than ever so thankfully closing track Pastures / Abuelas is more than able to feed the hunger. Over eight minutes of imaginative tension, it is a rigorously captivating pursuit of the senses loading with vicious bass growls, savage riffs, and a sprawling thick sonic smog, all punctuated with a rhythmic resourcefulness which leaves ears bruised and emotions raw. There is also a psychedelic smearing to the atmosphere and inventive colour of the track but it is the hellacious and brutal ingenuity of the track, as well as the stoner bred grooves further into its adventure, which lingers longest and the deepest in the psyche. Dark and ravenous with greater menace in its restraint than a full-out assault could achieve, the track is a delicious immersion and challenge as well as another open side to No Way’s sound.

Sing Praises is an exceptional debut from a band with all the potential to be a potent and inspiring force ahead on the evidence of this stunning entrance. No Way seem to know what ears and instincts want in heavy, brutal, and incendiary exploratory sounds, and of course this is only the beginning….

The Sing Praises EP is available now digitally and on cassette @ http://www.nowayny.com

https://www.facebook.com/nowayny

RingMaster 07/11/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Listen to the best independent music and artists on The RingMaster Review Radio Show and The Bone Orchard from

http://audioburger247.webs.com/

 

Kowloon Walled City: Container Ships

kwc-cships-cover-0800

   With soundscapes as stark and imposing as the namesake of its creators, Container Ships the new album from Kowloon Walled City is a colossal and impacting journey led by thick tsunami like compelling atmospheres which border on oppression and intrusive melodies which span beauty and ugliness. It is a startling release which will floor newcomers to the band and leave existing fans feeling the band has touched new heights in their creativity.

Released through Brutal Panda Records, Container Ships is the second album from the band and follows their full length debut Gambling on the Richter Scale of 2009. It has been a long wait for many such the impression their first album and debut release the Turk Street EP the previous year made, though between the two albums there has been a couple of split releases with Ladder Devils/Fight Amp (2010) and Thou (2012). It is fair to say all their releases have brought strong values of acclaim but the new album is set to thrust the band to the widest recognition and responses yet such its impressive stature and imagination.

The release is an imposing encounter with sonic walls which tower over the senses and a destructive ambience which saps them of all resistance. The seven tracks which make up Container Ships are not exactly corrosive confrontations but erode with a blistered sonic tongue releasing an unrelenting intensity and a shadow driven emotive rub which enflames thoughts and passion. Evocative rather than provocative, though the release has no weakness in inciting reactions, it is a powerful invocation of the dark and light of existence, the beauty and the grotesque.

Brewing a consumptive blend which draws upon sludge, post rock, and noise, as well as metal, the band engulfs and informs with incredible weight and substance within a clarity which allows every aspect an influential voice whilst reinforcing their combined potent intent. It would be wrong to say it is not an easy listen but the album certainly employs more than its recipient’s ear to make its inevitable persuasion impressive and long lasting. The release opens with The Pressure Keeps Me Alive, a restrained and uncomplicated expression to its presence which proves ‘simplicity’ can easily evoke the strongest feelings, imagery, and thoughts.  The guitars of Scott Evans and Jon Howell unveil slow prowling riffs and tight melodic lashings to mesmerise whilst the rhythms of bassist Ian Miller and drummer Jeff Fagundes pound and manipulate the senses into a willing submission and intrigue allowing the sonic story telling of the guitars to paint their tonal tales. The vocals of Evans, a delivery which lies between squalling rage and earnest passion, shape the heart of the intent within the song and like the music finds a melodic heat within the challenging and disruptive invention.

The impressive start is left in the wake of the following 50s Dad, an abrasive slab of anger and discord dripping intensity. It is a glorious caustic lean on the synapses, a scorched venom filing away at the senses. In a release of nothing but highlights the track is an incredible fire which stands out especially though soon equalled by the just as immense Beef Cattle, a sludge/rock opponent with a doom kissed breath and debilitating energy. Both songs leave nothing less than smouldering pleasure though to be fair every song achieves that result.

The seven minute plus title track is an imposing beast of overwhelming ambience and smothering atmospheres conjured by the slow tempo menace of sound and emotion. Whether creeping over the senses or barging them aside the band creates a presence which leaves no aspect of the body unaffected or glowing in satisfaction. This bleak and challenging treat next hands over to the darkly passion of Cornerstone with another striking mass of down-tuned glorious might and the ‘lighter’ and quite masterful Wrong Side Of History, a song with a sonic majesty which burns like a furnace upon the ear whilst thrilling with pure enterprise.

The album ends with another epic in presence and intensity, in the barren landscape ambient shape of You Don’t Have Cancer. It is a haunting and slightly apocalyptic emotional wrap around the body from ear through to the mind and the perfect overpowering conclusion to what is a remarkable titan of a release.

Recommendation to immediately check out Container Ships is the only thing left to say, Kowloon Walled City a band sure to reshape your musical future.

http://inthewalledcity.com/

RingMaster 02/12/2012

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright