KEN Mode Credit: Brenna Faris

When a band has been hammering out metallic noise rock with enough intensity to blow down a skyscraper for nearly 20 years, a new release full of expertly crushing music is always welcome, but hardly a surprise. On their seventh full-length, Loved (Season of Mist), Winnipeg trio KEN Mode (named after Henry Rollins’s bleak expression “kill everything now mode,” from his days on the Black Flag tour for My War) lay out another blistering nine tracks of the hard stuff they’ve become known for, though they never settle into a formula. The group channel Unsane, Helmet, and Rollins Band but loosen up the laserlike focus of those influences to produce explosive, dirgey noise that swings, grinds, and drags along through walls of feedback and sax squonk (the latter provided by guest musician Katherine Kerr). On top of all that, vocalist and guitarist Jesse Mathewson issues some of the most emotionally gutting and larynx-shredding vocals I’ve ever heard. KEN Mode isn’t reinventing itself on Loved, but when a band has mastered the art of creating something this raw and powerful, that’s just fine.   v

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