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Albums Of The Week: KEN mode | Void

There's more than one way to be heavy. So the Winnipeg noise-rockers cover their bets with an album whose emotional darkness and intensity match that of its music.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:KEN mode don’t mess around. Their new album, Void is the companion piece to 2022’s Null album — both of which were written and produced at the same time throughout the pandemic, and recorded by Andrew Schneider in the fall of 2021. According to frontman Jesse Matthewson, “it conveys the overwhelming sadness and disappointment of the rollout of 2021, after the initial crazed shock of 2020. The material demanded a slightly more melancholy feel, and we wanted to explore more melody on the exit from this project.”

Having said that, it’s still a KEN mode album. And as you might expect, the quartet came out of the suffering of the pandemic with fire and fury, ready to unleash it on the world wherever they see fit. Lucky for fans, that’s mostly their eardrums.

If you still don’t know what KEN mode stands for, look no further and wonder no more. It’s a name that’s hard to forget the meaning behind once you get it. KEN mode = Kill Everyone Now mode, an ethos legendary Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins would use to describe the band’s state of mind while taking the stage for the endless touring cycle of their genre-defying classic album My War. This proved to be the psychological foundation and attitude for the project to which Royal Conservatory of Music-trained brothers Jesse Matthewson, B.Comm (Hons) and Shane Matthewson CA/CPA, B. Comm (Hons), would dedicate their entire adult lives; Spreading a manic form of metal and hardcore-infused noise-rock across the globe.

With two decades under their belts, the group have a list of impressive achievements including winning the inaugural Juno Award for Best Metal / Hard Rock Album of the Year for Venerable in 2012. Cutting their teeth in the early ’00s, when chaotic hardcore was at its peak, KEN mode would find breakout underground notoriety with a quintet of critically acclaimed records in the 2010s, working with a who’s who of metal and hardcore producers in Kurt Ballou (Converge) for Venerable (2011), Matt Bayles (Botch, Isis) for Entrench (2013), Steve Albini (Nirvana, Jesus Lizard) for Success (2015), and Andrew Schneider (Unsane, Cave In) for Loved (2018), all while maintaining an unrelenting tour schedule.”

Come back on the weekend to watch my in-depth Zoom interview with Jesse Matthewson.



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