KEN Mode - Loved (Season of Mist) 2018
The boys are back! After the onslaught of dejected Noise Rock of Success (which was of invaluable help with my transition into adulthood), KEN Mode returns with one of its darkest releases yet.
“Doesn’t Feel Pain Like he Should” immediately weeds out the unprepared with its instrumental intensity and Jesse Matthewson’s acid snarl, then giving way to the stompy No Wave groove “The Illusion of Dignity” and vocals that near Black Metal’s growls. Hell, there’s even saxophone in here, as if the track wasn’t weird enough. “Feathers & Lips” presents a dissonant mid-tempo banger that brings to mind The Melvins in the early 90’s. Other highlights include “Very Small Men” (resembling some of the best material off of “Entrench”), “This is a Love Test” (torn between a trifecta of snake-like rhythms, strangely disquieting saxophone and spoken-word and a barrage of Noise Rock awesomeness in 6/8) and “No Gentle Art” (with a very darkly seductive introduction, eventually evolving into slightly melodic tribalism, then dropping said melody into a pitch black abyss, piling up endless pressure that never seems to find any release in sight, and culminating in wailing waves of feedback).
The eeriness of the album cover perfectly translates the listening experience: it is a lightless and malicious maelstrom of viscera that will destroy you if you dare putting the record on while hoping for the power of music to cheer you up. As one-note as the record in the end, the message here is loud and clear: the ugliness of the world rages on in its most luciferian children… humankind.