KEN Mode – Nerve Review

KEN Mode - Nerve
Reptilian Records

Canada’s critically acclaimed noise metal act KEN Mode are issuing an EP Nerve to tide fans over until the release of their next full-length. For those not in the know, KEN Mode have been plying their trade since 1999 and have six albums under their belt, the most recent of which (2011’s Venerable, 2013’s Entrench and 2015’s Success) have been nominated for and have won several awards in their homeland.

Their blend of punk, noise, and hardcore combined with acerbic lyrics make for a very aggressive and exhausting mix. So in that respect, maybe a 3-song EP isn’t such a bad idea.

Nerve consists of three B-side excerpts from 2015’s excellent Success album. Again produced by Steve Albini, the songs have a very raw punk feel to them. “The German Businessman” is three minutes of shouted lyrics and frantic music.

“Let’s Get Divorced” is even shorter and more frantic, a noisy blast of infuriated punk metal, while “I’m Never Looking For You” is the heaviest cut of the three, full of angular riffs and more punk style vocals. In addition to the performances, the lyrics fit with the theme of Success. On “The German Businessman” Jesse Matthewson spits “Nothing is sacred, nothing is safe, nothing is pure,” and on “I’m Never Looking For You,” following a menacing instrumental interlude, he intones “F–k your dreams, we’re gonna f–k your dreams” to a venomous crescendo.

The digital version of Nerve comes with four additional tracks: three pre-production songs from 2013’s Entrench as well as “Absolutely Not,” which was formerly only available as part of an Atlas Moth split single. Overall, fans of the band will be happy to have Nerve to tide them over while they wait for KEN Mode’s next full-length, which the band promises will be a much darker exploration into metallic noise than previous efforts.

(released November 11, 2016 on Reptilian Records)

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