Khemmis – Doomed Heavy Metal (Nuclear Blast)Thursday, 23rd April 2020
In the spirit of ZZ Top’s Fandango!, Colorado doom/traditional metal band Khemmis felt now is the right opportunity to release a six-song record of cover tracks, one original previously available on a magazine flexi-disc, and three live songs recorded in their home state. Doomed Heavy Metal allows listeners to get a decent snapshot into the world of the quartet – influences, songwriting outlook, and importance of transforming their material to a live stage.
Exclusive to this outing is the opening cover – a bold choice indeed for Dio with “Rainbow in the Dark”. There’s no sense rendering this classic in a carbon-copy treatment – so Khemmis choose to make it their own by keeping the twin harmony aspect on guitars instead of guitar/keyboard, bringing the BPM down a touch, and also transforming the lead break by pushing up the tempo and delivering something emotive, speedy, and entertaining. Also included is their Lloyd Chandler cover “A Conversation With Death” and their original “Empty Throne” – the former a folk classic taken to monumental doom heights here, the latter featuring a teeth rattling bass foundation and crushing rhythms, the vocal melodies majestic as they part the clouds for a future sunny day. The three live cuts are spread out from the previous three albums – “Bloodletting” the opener from Isolation, an ideal setup to the Khemmis doom metal platform, the Thin Lizzy-esque cultural guitar harmonies plus shifting groove to doom tempo a fist waving anthem for today, while “Three Gates” and “The Bereaved” get the crowds chanting and blood flowing a la Black Sabbath, older Trouble or Candlemass – even with the darker growling aspects to the former.
At 38 minutes, Doomed Heavy Metal would be considered album-length by most in the metal realm (especially if you consider Reign in Blood clocked in at 28 minutes and change) – but to Khemmis, this should introduce more listeners to their brand of doom and classic heavy metal wares. It’s easy to understand based on this outing why they are quickly gaining acclaim and a solid following amongst all in the metal community.