Enlarge Photo: Brenna Faris

Heavy Rotation: KEN mode’s Jesse Matthewson


Canadian noise rock outfit KEN mode proved once again why they’re one of the genre’s most consistent acts with Null, their eighth album, released last week. MetalSucks caught up with vocalist and guitarist Jesse Matthewson to find out what he’s been listening to while KEN mode preparing for their North American tour next month.

RILE – “Pessimist”

Sam from Cult Leader hit me up this year about next time we come out that way for us to consider taking his other band out for a run and sent me the single they just debuted, and hot damn… this shit might be even better than Cult Leader. Did I just say that?!

Birds In Row – “Noah”

Off their upcoming full length. Our dudes. We spent just over 6 weeks with them on our last record cycle, on either side of the Atlantic. They had just enlisted the services of new drummer Joris Saidani, and they were so good live that it actually made their album less impactful for me, as Joris is an absolute crusher behind the kit. Their new album hits with an extra urgency with a drummer like him, and I’m so stoked for it to be out. This is one of the catchiest on the album for me, so it has to be on this list.

Aeviterne – “The Gaunt Sky”

Every playlist I make for 2022 has this song on it. Those harmonics; those vocals. Like old-school Pestilence meets NYC art metal. Arguably my favorite metal record of the year so far and has our bud Samuel Smith from Artificial Brain on guitar, so bonus.

Blind Girls – “Memorial”

This Aussie band put out one of the best albums of the year for me. Noisy scramz/proper screamo? Whatever people call this stuff now, this album has everything I love about the style.

Cloud Rat – “Corset”

New label mates of ours, with a sick track off their upcoming full length. Hopefully we’ll be able to do some shows with them in the upcoming cycle, as I’d tried to in some of my initial plans for 2020 if I recall correctly, before the world fell apart. Sick band who I feel pushes the aesthetic of bastardized grindcore, a la our old friends Fuck the Facts, to brave new places.

CANDY – “World of Shit”

I know their first one was decently hyped, but for some reason this new record caught me way more. Miserable hardcore mixed with healthy doses of noise and industrial.

Hissing – “Cells of Nonbeing”

Pretty wild death metal, but the way this song breaks down in the end is what makes this band feel truly special to me. Total noise rock vibe, but like, in more of a slowed-down, Gorguts-type way. I love it.

Black Magnet – “Violent Mechanix”

Sick industrial metal punishment on 20 Buck Spin—we’re lucky enough to have lined up a show with them and Chat Pile in both of their homes in OKC, which we are unbelievably stoked about. Their new one is a scorcher, so obviously check the rest of it out.

Bunuel – “Hornets”

Our man Eugene Robinson (Oxbow) with his band of Italian assassins off their new one, Killers Like Us. One of these days we’re going to line some dates up with them. I know this band doesn’t get a ton of attention over here in North America, which needs to change. I stand by my statement that their debut record is essential noise rock.

Melvins – “Instant Larry”

This whole list has been material that’s come out in 2022, so I’m going to end it with one of my favorite Melvins tracks that only showed up on streaming platforms this year, despite being released in 1994 on the Demon Knight soundtrack along with a ton of other killer bands (Rollins Band, Sepultura, Megadeth, Ministry, etc). Soundtracks have always been a gateway for kids to get into pretty wild music, and the 90’s were a real clusterfuck of great music getting pushed out there with the hopes of the Nirvana treatment catching hold. This is a deep cut for the Melvins, and the most thrash they really ever got. It’s always been one of my favorites.

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