Tuesday, December 24, 2013

KHEMMIS – ‘Khemmis’ EP

As a late addition to fill the void left by the withdrawal of Fister from Denver Doom Fest III, the Mile High’s own Khemmis impressively kicked things off for night two of the city’s increasingly awe-inspiring music festival. Despite standout performances from the likes of Black Acid Devil, In the Company of Serpents, Dead Temple, and Gravecode Nebula, Khemmis had no problems bringing some of the heaviest tunes of the night to the table and leaving their sonic mark. As a live entity the four-piece was a tight, seismically heavy barrage of psychedelic doom accented with moments of melodicism.

Nearly a month after their performance the band finally released their self-titled EP via Bandcamp and it does not disappoint in the least. Everything that the band displayed live has been captured in the studio. With three killer tracks and a runtime of twenty-three minutes the ‘Khemmis’ EP is, hopefully, a favorable portent of things to come.

“Sunrise/Sunset”, arguably the heaviest track of the collection, crashes out of the gates like an armored sloth ready to wage war: lumbering and lethargic. Amidst feedback slow, bloated riffs roll out like distant thunder and flanged lead guitar turns itself inside-out before the track eases into a mid-paced groove. Clean and sparingly used harsh vocals give the song an added depth and grittiness that complements the sheer weight of the track.

The second tune, “Take the Knife”, is as close to a straight-ahead, sludgy rocker that Khemmis gets. It’s slightly faster paced than the EP opener, but features some great dual guitar harmonies on the latter half of the track and some impressive, heartfelt vocal melodies as well. It’s the perfect way to break up the trio of tunes.

Closing out the EP is the standout track “The Bereaved”, a tune that ups the ante in terms of melodicism. The song’s intro is a slow, somber buildup of drums and clean guitar before the bottom falls out and a distorted wave of bass and guitars crashes down. The track seems to marry the essential elements of “Sunrise/Sunset” and “Take the Knife” into the EP’s defining moment particularly due to the amazing, blissed-out guitar harmonies. A stellar track from start to finish.

Khemmis’ self-titled EP is an exceptional debut that does justice to the band’s live performance and an excellent production job further enhances the listening experience. The band more than adequately balances heft, psychedelia, and melodicism to create their distinctive take on sludge and doom. Fans of Sleep, Black Acid Devil, or even Bardo Pond should give Khemmis a chance. Here’s to looking forward to both more recordings and gigs in 2014…



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