Album Review: KEN Mode – Success

Success by KEN Mode

#aotd is Success by KEN Mode. Musically, this album blends aspects of Noise Rock, Hardcore and Post-Hardcore to create a sound that is abrasive but is paired with lighter vocal work and guitars that are as crushing as they are catchy. The first thing that jumps out at you about this album is the very lo-fi production quality. Everything on here, from the vocals, to the drums and guitars sounds raw, visceral and in your face. The opening track “Blessed” begins with a monstrous riff that bends and slams with unwavering aggression. Then the vocals kick in, their outlandish delivery can take a while to warm up to but the frontman has a perfect amount of snide and anger in his voice to give life to his sardonic lyrics. With little to no production polish, the band’s sound is completely reliant on their performances alone; luckily the performances are consistently vigorous and enraged. The frontman in particular, shows off his versatility as he switches from accentuated spoken word to screams in both his higher and lower registers. This versatility is shared by the whole band though, which is evident on the track “A Passive Disaster” which has this slow grooving bass line that explodes on the chorus. It’s one of the many moments on the album the band come through with the bipolar catchy to heavy or heavy to catchy dynamics. At times, the low production quality paired with the unrelenting style of the band can make this an exhausting listen, even with a run time of less than 40 minutes. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics do a lot to keep the album fresh though, the band even get a little self-referential on the aforementioned track “Blessed”, giving the listeners a fair warning of the violence to come with the line “no one should condone this”. The more you listen to this album, the more you realise that its title isn’t Success, it’s “Success”. It isn’t an album which celebrates triumph, in fact its existence mocks the whole idea of success, opting instead to celebrate everything it means to be a shitty person in a shitty world.
Rating: 3.6/5

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