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KEN mode break new ground with new cut from forthcoming album

KEN mode Blesed video screen cap

KEN mode are pretty much superstars. They’ve twice been nominated for a Juno award – Canada’s answer to the Grammys or Brit Awards, only not entirely packed with trite establishment arse-kissing – and won the best metal/hard rock album in the category’s inaugural year for their 2012 effort Venerable.- a category that has since been won by Woods Of Ypres, Protest The Hero and Devin Townsend, so it’s no slouch.

Nevertheless, they’re still on the fringes of international recognition, despite five albums and sixteen years under their belts. That being said, two of those were in the last four years, and there’s another to be added to the list this summer in the form of the hopefully prophetically-titled Success.

The band have been teasing the new record for a while – we know it’s been coming since last year, and that they ferreted themselves away with superstar recording engineer Steve Albini (peep this list for why that term is deserved) – but we’ve today been granted our first excerpt in the form of a video for the track “Blessed“. Have a squiz:

I listened to the song before reading up on it, and was entirely unsurprised to find out that there’s a guest vocal spot from Oxbow‘s Eugene Robinson, an absolute tank of a man who is to noise rock fans as the bogeyman is to small children: an enigmatic, terrifying and somewhat unknown quantity with an instantly recognisable voice and a style quite his own. ”Blessed” suits his input perfectly; stylistically it’s a fair departure from the wallbangers of KEN mode’s older material. Whether this is a new direction for the band is unclear, but we suspect not entirely.

It’s good though. The song takes its sweet time; a lengthy intro pairs a bass, swathed in a mass of dirty fuzz, with a hypnotic mid-tempo beat. Vocalist Jesse Matthewson’s guitars wail over intermittently whilst he takes point from Robinson’s style, talking rather than singing or screaming, sounding batshit crazy. It’s hellish – which is again apt, as there’s also some guest ‘noise’ by Full Of Hell frontman Dylan Walker, as well as strings from Natanielle Felicitas.

It’s a good sign for the new record, although perhaps not for everyone. Success will be out June 16th via Season Of Mist. KEN mode are touring a fair bit as of Wednesday, when they open their European tour in Switzerland. Dates as follows:

w/ Cortez
April 1, 2015 – Fribourg, Switzerland @ Fri-Son
April 2, 2015 – Lyon, France @ Sonic
April 3, 2015 – Frankfurt, Germany @ Elfer Club
April 4, 2015 – Delemont, Switzerland @ Sas
April 5, 2015 – České Budějovice, Czech Republic @ Velbloud
April 6, 2015 – Praha, Czech Republic @ 007
April 8, 2015 – Geneva, Switzerland @ Usine
April 9, 2015 – Tilburg, Netherlands – Roadburn Festival
April 10, 2015 – Rouen, France @ L’Oreille Qui Traine
April 11, 2015 – Winterthur, Switzerland @ Gaswerk

May 25, 2015 – La Louviere, Belgium @ Taverne Du Théâtre
May 27, 2015 – Copenhagen, Denmark @ Kb18
May 28, 2015 – Hamburg, Germany @ Astra Stube
May 29, 2015 – Paris, France @ OTB Festival
May 31, 2015 – Bristol, UK @ Temples Festival
June 1, 2015 – London, UK @ Macbeth
June 2, 2015 – Lille, France @ La Peniche
June 3, 2105 – Sint, Belgium @ Jeugdhuis Job
June 6, 2015 Poitiers, France @ Less Playboy Is More Cowboy Festival

w/ Fight Amp
June 16, 2015 – Toronto, ON @ The Shop (Parts & Labour) w/The Great Sabatini
June 17, 2015 – Montreal, QC @ Turbo Haus w/The Great Sabatini
June 18, 2015 – Brooklyn, NY @ St. Vitus w/Pyrrhon, Couch Slut
June 19, 2015 – Philadelphia, PA @ Kung Fu Necktie
June 20, 2015 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups w/Lo-Pan
June 21, 2015 – Chicago, IL @ The Burlington
June 26, 2015 – Winnipeg, MB @ The Goodwill w/Pop Crimes, Teethmarks