KEN MODE - FANGE
One of the kings of metal and hardcore’s noisiest sub‐sets
WhenThu. 12 Oct, 2023
"one of the most confrontational and entertaining sets"
Kill Everyone Now mode. KEN mode: an ethos legendary Black Flag frontman Henry Rollins would use to describe the band’s state of mind while taking the stage. This proved to be the psychological foundation and attitude for the project Royal Conservatory of Music trained brothers Jesse Matthewson, B.Comm (Hons) and Shane Matthewson CA/CPA, B. Comm (Hons), would dedicate their entire adult lives to, seeing them spread a manic form of metal and hardcore infused noise rock across the globe.
Cutting their teeth in the early aughts, when chaotic hardcore was at its peak, KEN mode would find breakout underground notoriety with a quintet of critically acclaimed records in the 2010’s, working with a who’s who of metal and hardcore.
NULL, the band’s brand‐new aural abrasion, may be the group’s quintessential statement of mental collapse and despair made sonic, a direct psychological reaction to the collective experience of the last two and a half years. Drawing from not only the desperate noise and industrial sonics of the 80’s and 90’s ala Swans, Einsturzende Neubauten, or even a Nine Inch Nails, the band has mixed in a decidedly more desperate tone to their already pointed metallic hardcore influenced “extreme noise rock” (see Melvins, Today Is The Day meets Converge and Botch), that has become their signature. Seeing this vision through would require the long‐time three‐piece, composed of Matthewson x 2 and bassist Skot Hamilton, to become a four‐piece – welcoming multi‐instrumentalist Kathryn Kerr into the fold on saxophone, synth, piano, and backing vocals.
Formed in 2013 by Huata's Benjamin Moreau in Rennes, France, FANGE's line-up has gone through a multitude of forms over the years, stabilized with the arrival of vocalist Matthias Jungbluth (late Calvaiire & label-head of Throatruiner) in 2015 and the addition of bassist Antoine Perron in 2018.
With their shared obsession for stark aesthetics, bold moves and uncomfortable sounds, the band's music evolved as well, transfiguring their sludge roots with death metal then industrial influences. A singularity affirmed with an unexpected, brutal switch to drum machines on late 2019.
On "Privation", their fourthfull-length, the now-quartet raises the bar at every single level to serve their vision : writing more memorable, emotionally-charged tracks without sacrificing the maniacal abrasion of their previous material. "Privation" is nothing but a tour- de-force in a now rock-solid discography, from a band that ignores how to play it safe, nor how to fulfill anything else than their own desires.