Khemmis - Desolation review

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Band: Khemmis
Album: Desolation
Release date: June 2018

01. Bloodletting
02. Isolation
03. Flesh To Nothing
04. The Seer
05. Maw Of Time
06. From Ruin

Khemmis has a sound, an aesthetic, a distinctive look to its artwork, and three top-tier albums in four years. It's official: the world of doom is in the palm of Khemmis's hand.

Desolation finds Khemmis still aiming to cover as much ground within the expansive doom genre as possible; already by the end of "Bloodletting" I feel like I've had three albums by three different bands condensed into my ears. I hear the dread-inducing crunch and foundational heaviness that I wanted to find on the latest Solstice and Sorcerer albums, the passion and compositional ingenuity I had hoped The Obsessed and Procession could offer me, and the gorgeous vocal melodies I heard when I saw The Posies recently. Last year had a handful of noteworthy and masterful doom albums, but I felt the lack of Khemmis and until now had not been able to fill that void with other bands. This morass of bone-buckling guitars solidifies Khemmis as one of the most exceptional new bands in the genre.

Khemmis can go for the big groove without getting stuck in the self-indulgent repetition that besets a great many doom bands who consider themselves atmospheric, and they can revel in the texture of a good, smoky tone without losing the thread of a tight song structure. In Phil Pendergast and Ben Hutcherson, Khemmis have not only a pair of very tasteful and soulful guitarists, but a versatile vocal team that helps the band adapt flawlessly to the many styles it accumulates. Whether growling through a stagnant dirge, snarling into a flurry of blackened, sludgy noise, or conducting a mournful epic doom march with clear and lofty cleans, Khemmis's vocals continue to abet the transition from mood to mood - and the gorgeous harmonies on "From Ruin" might just be the band's best work yet in that regard. It sounds like Khemmis is learning how to utilize this particular strength in more creative ways, and I look forward to hearing more adventurous exercises on the next album.

Desolation hits a tad harder than the last two, perhaps showing that Khemmis's production budget has benefited from their upward trajectory. The album kicks with immediacy, whether in the crisp riffs of "Bloodletting," the "Pursuit Of Vikings" trot in "Isolation," or the enchanting entreaties in "The Seer." It's hard to know where to go when you start out as strongly as Khemmis did with Absolution, and Hunted was strong enough itself that the band hardly needed to try any harder - but Desolation makes me think that Khemmis is still carefully crafting its sound, finding small ways to improve. These three killer albums in a row aren't merely Khemmis getting lucky; these guys are working hard to climb ever higher, and the passion for this music really comes out on Desolation.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 8


Written on 19.06.2018 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments: 5   Visited by: 220 users
19.06.2018 - 06:28
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
Cool, very much looking forward to this album release.
The sun shines over The Fool...
19.06.2018 - 11:01
Old Nick
Written by Ace Frawley on 19.06.2018 at 06:28

Cool, very much looking forward to this album release.

Oh yes, me too!
19.06.2018 - 21:04
Lord Slothrop
I really enjoyed their last album and can't wait to hear the new one.
20.06.2018 - 20:43
Very good, can't wait to check it out.
get the fuck off my lawn.
26.06.2018 - 11:13
So good!
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