Denver four-piece Khemmis will release their debut album, Absolution, on CD/DL through 20 Buck Spin on July 7, with LP to follow in August. Produced by Dave Otero (Cephalic Carnage, Cobalt) and topped off with art by Sam Turner, it repurposes only one track from Khemmis‘ self-titled 2013 EP — also their first offering — and that’s sprawling closer “The Bereaved,” rerecorded for the end of side B and the longest inclusion at 9:14, justifying its reappearance with stellar guitar work and a push toward an album-capping apex that reinforces the blend of emotional resonance and extremity at heart in what they do, as heard in their trades throughout the album between belted-out melodic vocals and low-in-the-mouth metallic growls, a classic doom drama playing out in songs like “Ash, Cinder, Smoke” and “Antediluvian” that finds congruity where little might initially appear.
By that I mean Khemmis aren’t just setting one element against the other and waiting to sort it out over their next couple records. They may indeed prove more cohesive as the next few years move on, but already in “Serpentine,” opener “Torn Asunder” and the faster “Burden of Sin” on side B, one can hear that Absolution is a work geared more toward uniting styles to find something new from them rather than contrasting them, digging back to the theatrical death-doom roots of more modern doom à la Pallbearer and bringing in atmospheres that feel born out of classic Paradise Lost and Novembers Doom to add a shot of adrenaline and extra push where and when they feel it’s called for. The balance they strike and the fluidity they’re able to conjure are two of Absolution‘s most impressive aspects, but neither is the righteousness of a riff like that which anchors “Antediluvian” to be understated.
A less sprawling cut than either of the side-enders, “Antediluvian” launches the second half of Khemmis‘ debut with a steady roll for its groove, the four-piece of Phil, Ben, Dan and Zach moving smoothly toward the midpoint, after which the deathly growls take the fore, with echoes of melody behind and a sludgy nastiness meets with progressive lead-work en route to a chugging finish. It’s a fair sampling of what Absolution has to offer sonically, but by no means the sum of everything happening on the record, since Khemmis prove able to vary their approach and arrangements such that each song has its own crux while feeding into the overarching impact of the album as a whole. Its turns run the risk of alienating some listeners — there are those who can’t hang with harsh vocals in any measure, even as commanding and adding to the dynamic nature of the songs as these are — but the band’s effort seems all the more respectable for precisely because they’re taking that risk.
Please find “Antediluvian” on the player below, followed by some more info on Khemmis from the PR wire for those who’d like to dig further, and enjoy:
The six meticulously crafted songs on Absolution reveal a level of musicianship and writing skill seldom heard on debut albums. Often within the scope of a single song, KHEMMIS veers effortlessly between the crushing heaviness of Southern sludge and the somber melodies of traditional doom metal, cohesively weaving the disparate styles into their own immediately recognizable form. Vocally, KHEMMIS also utilizes a dual approach, sometimes harsh and guttural, but generally through a stunningly smooth classic doom/heavy rock delivery that even adamant fans of Pete Stahl and Wino will applaud. The powerfully adept rhythm section perfectly anchor the towering riff mastery and colorful dual guitar harmonies, all brought together by Dave Otero’s (Cobalt, Nightbringer) pitch perfect production work.
From the album opener “Torn Asunder” to closing track “The Bereaved,” Absolution positions KHEMMIS among the highlight surprises of the year. The band will tour at intervals throughout the remainder of 2015, including a planned West Coast run in Summer. The album’s Fantastic Frazetta inspired cover art by Sam Turner (Speedwolf, Black Breath, Trve Brewing) and track listing have been divulged.
Absolution Track Listing:
1. Torn Asunder
2. Ash, Cinder, Smoke
5. Burden Of Sin
6. The Bereaved