September 22, 2023, 3 months ago


Greg Pratt

Rating: 8.0

review heavy metal ken mode


Canadian noise rockers KEN Mode are back with Void, a companion album written and recorded at the same time as last year's Null, this album focusing on the more sullen aftermath of Null's pandemic-fuelled anger. 

Not that it really makes much difference to the listener, as fantastic opener “The Shrike” blasts dissonant and harsh (the band references Drive Like Jehu with this one, a comparison I fully endorse), and “Painless” is a two-and-a-half-minute punker with frantic guitar work. It's a great double whammy to get the record started, and then the band gets more restrained for the opening of eight-minute weirdie and album highlight “These Wires”, a moody and captivating piece that leads into amazing instrumental post-punk nod “We're Small Enough” wonderfully. 

What a perfect first half of a record, and the second half is no slouch either, from tormented sludge rock with sax (“I Cannot”) to haunting, repetitive noise rock (“A Reluctance Of Being”), Neurosis-leaning glacial sludge (“He Was A Good Man, He Was A Taxpayer”) to a closer led by moody and hypnotic rhythms and vocal lines (“Not Today, Old Friend”). 

And then that's it, eight songs and we're in and out, KEN Mode creating one of their best works here, even if on first blush it feels like a bit of an afterthought release, given the concept behind it all. But, no way: Void is a fantastic piece of biting, antagonistic, soul-searching noise rock from one of the best doing it today.

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