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World Premiere: KEN mode – “Obeying the Iron Will”

Venerable, back cover

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This is the world premiere of audio and visuals from KEN mode’s Venerable.

The album comes out on Profound Lore on March 15, three months from today. Above is the album’s back cover. The label will reveal the front cover in due time. You can stream “Obeying the Iron Will” below.

“Obeying the Iron Will”

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Earlier this year, on their first US tour in six years, KEN mode wrote a series of tour diaries for Decibel. After the magazine’s recent site redesign, I can’t find those diaries anymore. But I remember a particular detail from them. The band stopped somewhere for supplies (Wal-Mart, I think), and its shopping list included protein powder. Touring bands’ shopping lists usually begin with beer and end at whiskey. Someone in the band is a jock, I thought.

Which makes sense – when I listen to KEN mode, I think of a more athletic, yet more bookish Jesus Lizard. Maybe if that band had put down its beers, hit the gym, and boned up on the music it helped spawn – noise rock, hardcore, mathcore, even post-metal – then returned to whip the kids at their own game, it might sound like KEN mode.

Profound Lore label head Chris Bruni put it well:

A different release for me, but I think this is the best out there when it comes to progressive hardcore/Amrep influenced noise-rock.

Venerable is indeed a protein powder-fueled beast. It has somewhat of a lyrical bodily obsession. The artwork features animal and skeleton imagery by Julie Anne Mann. Josh Graham avoided his usual Photoshop-gone-wild style and laid out the imagery with tasteful restraint. Aaron Turner created KEN mode’s logo. Kurt Ballou recorded the album and played slide guitar on one song.

Heavy touring lies ahead for KEN mode. The band seeks a full-time touring bassist for “roughly 8 months of road time”. Evidently a video is forthcoming for the above song, “Obeying the Iron Will”. In the meantime, you can do your homework by hearing KEN mode’s last two albums, Reprisal and Mennonite – for free. Download, stream, and buy them here. More goodness will come on March 15.

— Cosmo Lee

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