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Khemmis > Hunted album review : Metal albums reviews

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Khemmis > Hunted album review, brief review

Khemmis >  Hunted album review

Band name: Khemmis

This sophomore proves it’s not enough to say that Khemmis is a great band; they’re a group of true artists.

With their debut release, ’Absolution’, Khemmis made some noise in the Doom world, giving us all something to talk about. They pulled off several approaches to the genre, with each attempt demonstrating a high level of musical proficiency, marking themselves with the cute, but appropriate label of Doom n’ Roll, due to the innumerable riffs and leads one might expect to come from an 80’s rock legend. Their guitarists knew how to play and weren’t afraid to show it. Yet, it was this aspect of their music that I thought they got carried away with. In my opinion, ’Absolution’ was too “jammy”, and I felt like their songwriting suffered because they got distracted by their own skills.

But now their sophomore effort, ’Hunted’, has arrived, and though the guitarists exhibit the same level of virtuosity heard on their debut, the songwriting is more focused this time around. Here, I think, Khemmis has found the perfect sound. With ’Hunted’, we still get the musical variety we expect from the Colorado quartet, but we also get structure, and with this new improvement, Khemmis has become a favorite of mine. The songs flow with a coherence and drive that never falters. There are no tangential moments of jamming, or at least ones that I considered excessive. Khemmis still rocks out, but with the focus of great songwriting.

The immense variety of riffs may be ’Hunted’’s highlight. There are pummeling ones, such as the opening riff to ‘Three Gates’, Extreme Doom riffs, such as the breakdown to ‘Candlelight’, and even atmospheric moments, such as the outro to the title and final track, ‘Hunted’. The drums nail their part as well by playing beats that match and complete every riff with praiseworthy consistency, cymbals which change their pace at the perfect rate, and drum fills that aren’t lacking in any aspect; the toms roar at the end of all the appropriate phrases, giving the riffs that “open and close” feel so characteristic of the genre. One thing any opponent of Doom can’t accuse Khemmis of is being lazy. They play, and they mean it. The instruments not only justify their presence, they go above and beyond.

Then, there are the lead phrases, those instances of dual guitar harmonies that can’t be overlooked. These were certainly something that drew a lot of attention to Khemmis on their debut. Their technicality has always been impressive, but with this release, I can’t stress enough how well placed I found their use. ’Hunted’ is filled to the top with lead guitar parts, some of which are solos and melodies, and others which act as guitar fills, but all of them are executed with compositional and virtuosic proficiency. Their dynamic and thoughtful approach gives the music a level of identity unique to Khemmis, and to employ these techniques while maintaining a sense of maturity in the music is nothing short of an accomplishment worthy of high acclaim.

As for the vocals, they leave only infinitesimal room for improvement. The singing is a mesmerizing assortment of belting melodies, and the screams are a spot on Extreme Metal performance filled with aggression; and akin to ’Absolution’, the harmonies fill the rest of the spectrum to make the vocals a complete and prodigious effort. Take my favorite track, ‘Candlelight’, for example: it contains a beautiful, heart-wrenching chorus with a vocal melody accompanied by some of the most lush harmonies I’ve ever heard. ’Hunted’ is full of the these melodic moments. Take the aforementioned, final track’s outro: its catchy, melody-driven chant, combined with its choice of chords and tremolo picked guitar leads, leaves the album ending on a sense of totality very few bands can achieve.

With only five tracks in all, Khemmis chose to keep ’Hunted’ short and sweet, but the decision was a good one. I can only count on one hand the number of albums I’ve thought were consistent in quality of composition from beginning to end, and this is one of them. While, ’Hunted’ contains its tragic and dark moments, one of the many vibes of the album is one of perseverance. It feels odd to say this about a Doom record, but ’Hunted’, at times, also gives off a sense of encouragement through its energy. Taking the wide array of emotions expressed throughout its duration into account, it’s not enough to say that Khemmis is a great band; they’re a group of true artists.

Album: Hunted, review

The bands country origin: USA

Metal albums reviews

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