The first album from Denver’s Khemmis, ‘Absolution’, was released by 20 Buck Spin in July 2015 and slowly but surely steamrolled all that came in contact with its unforgettable heaviness and classic melodicism. Virtually unknown outside Denver upon release, the band gathered acclaim over the ensuing months and by year end had landed in the #9 spot on Decibel Magazine’s annual top 40 albums of the year, not a small accomplishment for a band on its debut album.
The new album ‘Hunted’ reveals a Khemmis fortified in its purpose and vision, forging an unrivaled synthesis between immense Doom riffs and Maiden-esque harmony. Overall song length has increased yielding more expansively arranged and dramatic storms of elegance and melancholy.
And yet Khemmis are not content to plod through a sea of tears, they are always a rock band first, in service to the movement of the song, even approaching a High On Fire like pace to open the pummeling ’Three Gates’. The lauded singing of vocalist Phil Pendergast reaches ascendent new heights on tracks like ‘Candlelight’ and ‘Beyond The Door’, while the tasteful use of harsh vocals remains, providing a dark foreboding contrast. The 13-minute title track once again closes the album with an epic stunner.
Undoubtedly ‘Hunted’ is an album that will solidify Khemmis’s place at the vanguard of Doom’s most notable modern manifestations, in large part because they transcend the label itself. They’ve seamlessly blended their influences into an extraordinarily listenable album worthy of countless spins. With such a glut of music released nowadays, ‘Hunted’ stands apart, rewarding repeat listens with songs seared straight into the heart.
The CD version of Hunted is a Digipak CD with 8 page booklet. The logo and title are foil stamped in silver on the album cover (not solid white as shown in image).
20 Buck Spin (USA), 2016