Since the band’s debut album “Absolution” in 2015 Khemmis have been tipped as one of the best new age doom metal bands.
2018’s “Desolation” saw the band take a quick uphill projection to the top of many end of year lists & in tandem with an extensive touring cycle supporting the album Khemmis next album was highly anticipated.
Now after a four year wait Khemmis have birthed the mammoth this is “Deceiver”.
An album that they band sight as a journey of battling mental health & the day to day struggles any person who suffers with mental health issues faces. So not only an album with a heavy sound but also an album with a heavy & serious lyrical subject.
“Avernal Gate” the album’s opening is truly fantastic. Beginning with a soulful acoustic passage before erupting into the main meat of the song.
The second fantastic part of this album & the whole ablum itself is the vocal performances from Ben Hutcherson (Guitar & Vocals) & Phil Pendergast (Guitar & Vocals).
Their musical talents on “Deceiver” is breathtaking & a shock. I know from the aforementioned albums that they have a great vocal presence but what they were able to record for this album is remarkable & a true delight.
Now that isn’t to say that just Ben & Phils vocal performances make this album. As a unit the band is outstanding.
Zach Coleman, the band’s drummer, has also curated some of the best drumming I’ve heard this year. The drum tone that he & producer Dave Otero of Flatline Audio (Cephalic Carnage, Cattle Decapitation) have been able to capture is just sonically epic & is the true backbone of the album.
“House of Cadmus” the following track is the most somber but at the same time so catchy. Riding the perfect vocal melody Ben & Phil create through the song keep the track driving but its a proper fist thumper & also became a song I would sing too only after a few listens. No way is this a poppy or catchy song but what the vocals do is elevate it so much.
Even switching the vocal style to a black metal / death metal growl fits perfectly within the track & no way takes away from its perfect melody. This is true song craft.
The third track & the bands first single from the album “Living Pyre” carries on the bulldozing heaviness from the last two tracks but weaves a different thread. Still creating stand out choruses & melodies this song has a hypnotic rhythm throughout that takes the listeners through the lowest & highest human emotional experiences. Epic is an understatement for this track.
The closing track “The Astral Road” is the epic eight minute conclusion to the album. Opening the track with bluesy reverb laydened lead guitars & a simple but thick drum rhythm before the tracks opens up to pure bliss.
Using all the best parts of the album & merging them into the monumental closer to the album. If you love your classic heavy metal, this track is for you. Dual Wielding guitar leads, foot stomping floor tom thumps heighten this track to the stratosphere.
“Deceiver” was worth the four year wait & shows that Khemmis as a band are able to progress their sound in a way that solidifies the band as one of the best leading doom metal bands in 2021.
Deceiver is out via Nuclear Blast on 19th November 2021