Measures of Success

KEN mode


Season of Mist

15th June 2015


KEN mode have built a strong following over their last 15 years of fearsome and unaligned output, gaining fans from lovers of post-rock, hardcore, metal, and noise. Those who like their music concentrated, cut-throat and complex are drawn to the band’s direct and downright savage way of getting things done. This latest release  will take many by surprise with a bold move towards sounds that inspired them at their beginning sixteen years ago, and now doubly so, on their sixth full-length.

Recorded with legendary engineer Steve Albini (Nirvana, the Jesus Lizard, PJ Harvey and so many more) capturing the material in a fully live and analogue session, in the band’s home town of Winnepeg in November 2014, has resulted in the most raw, rock and roll sound the band has released to date. Combining rock, noise, math, indie in a mass of skewed rhythms, corrosive riffs and intense vocals, this is one hell of an album. The intensity grabs you from the outset and keeps your attention throughout.

I saw the question posed somewhere in the cyberpress “Is it time for a grunge revival?”.  One hopes not, if anything, this band has taken the legacy that encompasses the likes of Revelation Records, Dischord, Touch And Go, Sub Pop  with its’ inventive heavinesses and abandon and moved it on with this release. There is no need for a revival, the form has evolved and is intrinsically more exciting and compelling.

Sonically, and lyrically, a shift has been made from the classic hardcore sound, that the band has become known for, to a rawer, more mature, sometimes humorous, indie rock feel. “In April 2014, the band set out to pay tribute to where they come from: a salute to both their Canadian Prairie roots, and a time when they first started to care about making music; the burgeoning grunge; and Touch Go/Dischord scenes of the late 80s/early 90s, with bands like Nirvana, Big Black, Cop Shoot Cop, The Cows, Circus Lupus, and Drive Like Jehu impacting on their teenage minds. Lyrically, the band’s fascination with comedy spirals around classical western concepts of success; – from employment, sex, marriage, religion, socioeconomic standing, and particularly the many perceptions people have of how they, and those around them, happen to fit into the world.”

The current lineup of Jesse Matthewson (vocals, guitar), Shane Matthewson (drums) and Skot Hamilton (bass, vocals) are currently touring Europe delivering Success as it was recorded – live, primal, and in your face. It’s recommended that you experience it in the flesh.  Unfortunately they are only playing two UK dates which are:

May 31, 2015 – Bristol, UK – Temples Festival
June 1, 2015 – London, UK @ Macbeth

Photo by Brenda Faris
Photo by Brenda Faris

The band was formed in 1999  and has been actively touring Canada, the United States and Europe since 2002 with such acts as Russian Circles, Torche, Deafheaven, Norma Jean, Kylesa, Pelican, Daughters, Revocation, and Today is the Day, maintaining an unrelenting schedule for the past 5 years.

Previous releases:

  • Mongrel (2003)
  • Reprisal (2006)
  • Mennonite (2008)
  • Venerable (2011)
  • Entrench (2013).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s