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

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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

Pyrrhon – The Mother Of Virtues

pic Caroline Harrison

pic Caroline Harrison

If an unstoppable pestilence sets its sights on our souls let us hope it comes in the same manner as The Mother Of Virtues, wrapped in corrosive beauty and seductive ugliness. The new album from US progressive death metallers Pyrrhon is a destructively bedlamic onslaught of deathly malevolence, tortuous psychedelia, psyche searing experimentation, and irrepressibly addictive.  It is not an easily accessible or comfortable experience, arguably the most painfully contagious and intrusively crippling of the past year but deep in such creative adventure and vicious intrigue that if it connects it is equally one of the most rewarding pestilential offerings too.

Brooklyn hailing Pyrrhon was formed in 2008 apparently after a chance meeting on a subway platform. Since that moment the quartet of vocalist Doug Moore, guitarist Dylan DiLella, bassist Erik Malave, and drummer Alex Cohen has been twisting and challenging sounds and senses. The band’s 2010 debut EP Fever Kingdoms was the first of their releases to receive wide and strong plaudits, the acclaim increasing when their first full-length album, An Excellent Servant But A Terrible Master, was released a year later via Selfmadegod Records. Intensifying their sounds and invention over the next couple years, Pyrrhon set about creating their new sonic torment The Mother Of Virtues. Tracked and mixed by Ryan Jones (Today is the Day, Mutilation Rites, Wetnurse) and mastered by Colin Marston (Gorguts, Krallice), repeating his work on the band’s previous releases, the Relapse Records released album consumes and suffocates the senses and reality with a rigorously diverse maelstrom of extreme metal, a torment to awaken nightmares and ignite impassioned slavery to its toxicity.

From its first breath the album is savaging and twisting ears and imagination inside out, opening track The Oracle of Nassau cursing with 12 Jacket (Gatefold - Two Pocket) [GD30OB2-N]sonic rabidity and an annihilatory ravishment. Rhythms and riffs converge in a torrential tsunami of spite and eager decay, strangling senses as guitars and vocals unleash their scourge upon the wounds. The track spews enterprise and vitriol with every searing note and poisonous syllable, creating the perfect threat and welcome into the belly of the beast.

The following White Flag opens on probing beats soon joined by a stalking bass riff. Instant intimidation within a cavernous ambience engulfs the imagination, its scenery caustically painted and expanded by the initial graze of guitar which soon evolves into a bestial predation. The track prowls with a doom bred lilt and noise sculpted breath, constantly lashing ears with acidic ventures and ferocious intensity. It is a thoroughly compelling and merciless proposition, a black hearted contagion of jazz spawned rhythmic bombardment courted by animalistic riffs and synapse stripping ingenuity from the guitars, all governed by the guttural spewing of Moore.  It is primal and quite bewitching, especially the stretch of melodic elegance which whispers for a brief moment at the eye of the storm.

Sleeper Agent accelerates the hunger of the rabid appetite in place by its appearance, the delirious mania of guitars and rhythms frisking then violating everything from ears inwards. Searching deep, as with all tracks, there is an order and sensibility to the unleashed viscerally driven plague, but you sure have to dig deep and with determined energy to unveil the additionally potent intent. The track is outstanding, preying on the disorientation and suffering already expelled previously with relish, as does next up Balkanized. The first single from the album firstly lays down a few seconds of cyber coaxing which is then thrust aside by a roving throaty bassline and an anarchic squall of flesh scything guitars and groaning vocals. More violent than its predecessor but employing a similarly ‘lighter’ weave of erosive invention, the track lurches and leans heavily on the senses with sounds which combine like a pack of voracious predators.

Both Eternity in a Breath and Implant Fever spiral deeper into the depths of mind and emotions, the first an invasive merger of serpentine ambiences and rapacious rhythmic enticement which casts its own growing vindictive spoils over the listener the further into its dark festering depths you go. Its successor is not as dirty as the previous song but certainly is not a light of hope and hope either, the encounter lyrically and musically a warning and warring menace. The pair turns the cerebral battleground darker with their own individual hues of inventiveness and voracity whilst Invisible Injury churns up their landscapes with its own specific institutional mayhem.

The album is completed by the exhaustive brilliance of The Parasite in Winter, a track which is lighter on the touch but heavier in the animosity with a sonic design that is mouth-wateringly infectious and barbarically controlling, and the closing epically severe soundscape of the title track. Over ten minutes of noise dementia and rancorous exploration which is all quite ingenious and thrilling, the track alone tells you all you need to know about the brilliance and nastiness of Pyrrhon.

The Mother Of Virtues will undoubtedly only be for a certain psyche or should that be masochist but if band and release find favour in your artistic aberrations and according to the press release if you have a taste for the likes of Gorguts, Ulcerate, Cryptopsy, Portal, and Deathspell Omega, then you just might be listening to an album of the year front runner.

https://www.facebook.com/pyrrhonband

http://pyrrhonband.bandcamp.com/album/the-mother-of-virtues

9/10

RingMaster 28/03/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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