"KEN mode is a metallic noise rock band from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada that was formed in Sept, 1999."
Another year, another bassist, another album. This is the story of KEN Mode. KEN stands for "kill everyone now", taken from an excerpt from Get In The Van: On The Road With Black Flag. These Winnipeg bad boys are back with another released entitled Venerable, and I'd say it's arguably both their best album yet AND album of the year. I'm very lucky to be living in Winnipeg because I'll be seeing them next month open for Fuck The Facts along with local Winnipeg band Withdrawal. If you're familiar with KEN Mode's other work than you should have no problem getting into Venerable. It takes all the elements of their previous albums and really go above and beyond everything else they've done. The album starts you off with some tracks such as Book Of Muscle and Obeying The Will..., which are straight forward angry as fuck ALL OUT AGGRESSIVE wall of creamy distorted noise to pummel your ears with noise. As the third track Batholith kicks into full spin, you'll quickly find yourself making a fist and grinding your teeth from all the angry and thrashy riffs are thrown in to really fuck with your mind. I think it's safe to say at this point you're pretty much done in for when listening to Venerable. If you can't finish this album you're a pansy and should probably delete your library. As the album goes on, some very atmospheric and rather melodic soundscapes enter the picture with tracks such as Flight Of The Echo Hawk, which almost has a post-rock vibe to it, along with The Irate Jumback and Never Was. During the track Never Was, there is some noticeable anti-religious views about half way through the song when lyrics like "insecurities", "manipulation", "ignorance", and "religion is cancer" are softly whispered underneath a slowly picked riff. The last three tracks are rather atmospheric as well, with slow drumming, minuscule guitar, and heavy basslines. I'm kind of annoyed how the outro of the album is played out because it ends on a very aggressive note randomly. It should of been a track like Never Was, which built up this awesome sound of desperation and despair via religion with a wonderful climax, rather than Mako Shark, a short, emotional, and aggressive song that just kind of seems out of place. That is the only beef I have with this album. Otherwise, it's fucking F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C! If you've been up-to-date with you 2011 releases then you'll have no problem working this way in your top releases. I've seen it getting praised many different places already and I think KEN Mode deserve it. Don't skip out one of the greatest releases this year and pick up this album! Be sure to buy some merch over at their Big Cartel website or Relapse Records alternatively.