ALBUM REVIEW: Khemmis – Deceiver – Nuclear Blast

Hailing from Denver, Khemmis is a blossoming band that has been turning heads since they began to jam in 2012. They cultivated their own little corner in the extensive genre of Doom Metal by creating a strong, unique voice among the other hopeful hordes and wannabes. The success from their second full-length, Hunted (20 Buck Spin) released in 2016, gave them a spotlight and they have been thriving in its beam ever since. Now these fellas are trimmed down to three members, have signed a new record deal, and are getting ready to release their fourth full-length album, Deceiver (Nuclear Blast). The raw, artistic depths that this group can reach with their heaviness is tunneling even deeper on this new record. By intensifying their emotional provocation and sound, Khemmis has struck gold.

The mournful acoustic opening of the first track, ‘Avernal Gate’ swiftly shifts into a fury of devilish distortion and relentless hammering from all three members. The galloping guitarwork booms with intricate melodies that harmonize and memorize. The wail provided by Phil Pendergast adds such a transparent anguish which grips and allows the listener to completely get lost in this trio’s torments. The guitars weigh down and pound out in their drop D tuning. The bending and punctuation of cords sludge into the senses with grief and anger. The scream provided by Ben Hutcherson seeps with such scorn and displeasure. Their lyrics address the inner questioning and torment one faces when we believe the cruel lies we tell ourselves. A dread and drudge drives the second number, ‘House of Cadmus’. The honest clarity and slight vibrato of Pendergast’s lead vocals provide the perfect contrast to the relentless denseness from the guitars and drum work. Zach Coleman’s drumming cuts through and carries the rigor produced by each musician. These pairings make the band’s sound distinct and different while being clever and complete.

‘Living Pyre’ is the first single and music video from the album which unveils visuals of frightful yet inviting forlornness. The band has admitted their struggles with mental health and each one of these songs reveals the true struggles one can face when battling inner demons. The candid and sincere expression of fear is presented, but the lyrics proclaim, “We have to learn to find a way” which gives this dark message a meaningful twist of hope. ‘Shroud of Lethe’ is a ponderous piece that unfolds with fiery aptitude. This epic number that is nearly ten minutes long has moments of extreme dread that nod to the Doom greats like Paradise Lost and early Katatonia. The last two songs, ‘Obsidian Crown’ and ‘The Astral Road’ hit and hit hard. The poetic lyrics of emptiness and sorrow flame up with the passion delivered by each member. A feverish fervor is unleashed that projects a determined display of the sullen. The songs march with a resilience and provocative potency of varying emotions. As the album ends, it is revealed that this is the band’s darkest work to date. A true trauma is felt as the guitars gurgle out with their definite and distorted gloom. Plus, the guitar solos from Hutcherson and Pendergast illuminate and showcase the musicianship growth this group has gone through over the years. They continue to impress with their evolution of Modern Doom sound.

Buy the album here:

8 / 10