Ken Mode – Loved (2018)

Ken Mode


Season Of Mist

I love how the genre description for this one is noise/metal, which fits as it feels like one of the guys in the band decided to beat you to death with a sledgehammer for about thirty-five minutes, only to rise again in order to suffer the torture again. It’s a calculated torture though, technical without being insane and featuring enough piss and vinegar in the vocals to make one vomit profusely. I’m reminded of early technical metalcore approaches like Every Time I Die and Dillinger Escape Plan, we could even say Converge and Jane Doe. Yes, I know what that sounds like; but I know what I hear too and this is definitely the sound of strategic destruction. Nothing will ever be Jane Doe, but this elicits an almost similar feeling in some areas.

“The Illusion Of Dignity” features a great touch of industrial, while “Feathers and Lips” comes across with a slew of raging grooves to back almost poetically delivered vocal approaches. It’s like art house on steroids. “Learning To Be Too Cold” seems to continue that approach, making the album seem like one hefty artistic performance piece. Ultimately, listeners are getting this feel throughout most of the album, until the avant approaches come in with “This Is A Love Test”, this time in the form of jazzy prog aesthetics which also happen to include a couple of saxy bits. Considering the album and track titles, the record seems to focus on the dysfunction with human relationships, which I can only say will only get worse in this technological age. There are so many reasons for that and of course I’d love to discuss that with these guys at length. I’ve talked to them a few times, they’re great guys. So I would have no problem doing that in person, even though that will not be a luxury until Lyft or Uber come to my area. (We’d love to do more live interviews at The Grim Tower)

I especially love the song title here “Fractures In Adults” which says so much about the human condition, just with three words. A lot of people claim to be infallible in their reasoning, obviously we voted one of those people into political office and are largely reaping the consequences of it. But in his defense, this isn’t the first time we’ve done so either. People often forget the Nixon years and why we call things “insert object here” gate, because the man literally was a crook and largely responsible for the infamous Watergate scandal. He told the American people that he wasn’t a crook, but his actions showed differently. We could in all reality be facing the same situation and many feel that we are. The last song here, “No Gentle Art” is quite intriguing, as it doesn’t feel like a metal cut per se; at least for the first few minutes. However it moves into a slight meltdown which is not unlike that of some of the most extreme noise music I’ve heard. It’s no Hanatarash, but it’s definitely in the right boulevard. The mixture of acid jazz, noise elements and crunchy metal here is a perfect mix and makes for a wonderful performance in itself. I honestly would have liked to hear more noise and avantgarde elements on this record, because Ken Mode have all the trappings of being a great noise/metal act. But I’ll take what I can get and you can check out the album over at the link below.

Though I think I need to add that the dark figure on the cover looks quite frightening and I would not want to see him at any point in my life. Seriously, the album cover is nightmare fuel. Also, this guy looks like he had eaten about three or four Slendermans. At least. I’ll put it to you this way, if I saw that thing – I’m running. It won’t even be a cognitive response, it would go straight into survival mode. I’ve seen a lot of dark images on album covers, it’s the name of the game as reviewer. But the entire Goetia and the devil himself doesn’t hold a candle to whatever in the hell that thing is. I’d be safer in the jaws of Cthulhu. This shadowy figure can stay on the cover, where he is a threat to no one. Hopefully.

(9 Tracks, 35:00)


Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)

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