Forget the stories about them being musical accountants or about their obsession with muay thai — at their core, the members of KEN mode are the constituents of a villainous hardcore band of the highest order. Defined by the venn diagram of adventurous hardcore (Converge, Bloodlet, Deadguy, et al.) and noise-rock (Today Is the Day, Brainbombs, Flipper, etc.), the Canadian trio is nothing if not venomous, leaving it all on the stage in a blaze of freaky-eyed glory. KEN mode are a live juggernaut, one that is only mildly understood from their well-executed recorded output to date.
The challenge of bottling lightning continues with KEN mode's new LP Loved, due on August 31st via Season of Mist, and upon first listen, it sounds as if they may have pulled it off this time. Mixing sliding guitar parts that slither along with a hateful and thundering hardcore gallop, the group's lead single from the effort is "Doesn't Feel Pain Like He Should," a claustrophobic cut trembling with anger, and the subject of a new video premiering above.
"Staring into the eyes of the cover art piece 'Happy Person Having a Pleasant Conversation in Public' by Randy Ortiz, a longtime collaborator of the band, the opening words of 'Doesn't Feel Pain Like He Should', the first track from KEN mode's new album Loved, seem like some sick joke: 'He's a natural smiler; not all the memories were bad,'" guitarist/vocalist Jesse Matthewson comments.
"I've stared into the eyes of this piece every day for the past year and a half, if that puts any of this album into context for anyone reading this now while listening to this song. To what degree the world will interpret parody, satire and bleeding-heart honesty is ultimately beyond our control. We've made a work, with a harsh degree of urgency, that made us feel something while dancing effortlessly within these blurred lines. This song is a not-so-subtle opening for our thoughts on 2018."
Loved is available for pre-order via Season of Mist. See the cover art and track listing below.
KEN mode - Loved track list:
1. Doesn't Feel Pain Like He Should
2. The Illusion of Dignity
3. Feathers & Lips
4. Learning to Be Too Cold
5. Not Soulmates
6. Very Small Men
7. This Is a Love Test
8. Fractures in Adults
9. No Gentle Art