In the Heavy Metal world, a realm filled with subgrenes and their true-to-form sounds, a band with an original resonance is bound to be held in high regard and cherished. KHEMMIS belongs on that pedestal. With their fresh melodies that confidently blend the heavy, rocky Doom Metal emanating from their mountainous home of Colorado along with their clean, bright baritone vocals reminiscent of Power Metal varieties, this group produces an iconic tone at the vanguard of the heavy American songbook.
On a chilly Wednesday night in our beloved City of Angels, local metalheads congregated in their typical mass of black hoodies and jeans at The Echo. The mood was perfect for a night of slow-rolling, tuned-down sounds heavy enough to shake the tectonic plates beneath one’s feet. Best to grab a beer, plant your feet, and let it all wash over you.
Local band FUTURE USSES kicked the night off. This three-piece instrumental group comes as a side project from SACHA DUNABLE (of Intronaut fame and Dunable Guitars craftsman). Armed with backing tracks from a MacBook and stacks of amps taller than the members themselves, the band took off into an introspective and cinematic world filled with deep emotion.
Next came the direct support of the tour: UN. UN brings the doom and post-metal sounds that we have been enjoying coming out of the Pacific Northwest for some time now. Their droll of grinding guitars and chiming symbols leads one down a pit of introspection. Monte Mccleery’s caveman growls bring the heavy human might one may desire on a primal level. And UN’s balanced and coordinated guitar harmonies sing above all, allowing an optimistic resolve to the experience as a whole.
But when all components come together with a steadfast, headbanging fury, both band and audience unify in rhythmic time with iconic bowing and fist pumping. UN proves that they are very much in touch with the headspace of their audience and knows how to tap into their mental states with ease.
And at the top of the bill comes the great KHEMMIS. KHEMMIS has only been in existence for coming up on seven years but you would not guess it. Most bands take well over a decade to develop such a refined tone to their catalogue. Hailing from Denver, one can easily hear the snow and fog in their music. However when frontman Phil Pendergast takes to the mic, his voice rings triumphant over the low doom of it all.
Meanwhile Ben Hutherson shines bright at stage left: he shreds away throughout the night with his contagious enjoyment to play on full display. Hutherson is by no means shy in interacting with avid fans at the front of the house. Bassist Dan Beiers holds down the fort, adding tension and emotion. And drummer Zach Coleman has the might to be the mammoth backbone to the unit.
In one moment, KHEMMIS may be slamming away slowly, playing right to the Doom Metal one may expect. The next, one can find the rhythm section twinkling brightly with an almost THIN LIZZY-like flare. They have a penchant for playing on themes archetypical of years long ago. And for this, the Power Metal vibes that the bands interweaves should not go unmentioned.
It is with their exultant and glorious take on perseverance that the band pushes forward; into a realm of American Heavy Metal that is unique and goes to prove that the genre as a whole has bounteous miles forward to cover. KHEMMIS will lead the way.
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We’re in SLC at @soundwellslc tonight with @theditchandthedelta and Sleeping Tigers. And we’ll have this sick new shirt at all upcoming shows courtesy of the mighty @vertebrae33. #khemmis #khemmisdoom #denver #doom #death #doommetal #deathmetal #blackmetal #desolation #desolationtour #heavymetal #flyingvsacrossamerica @nuclearblastusa @nuclearblasteurope