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KHEMMIS - Absolution

The full moon has risen. Skeletons crawl out of their tombs to serve their master. The warrior princess tried to challenge him, yet now she's under his magick spell. Can you free her? No sword could ever harm this witchmaster wizard.

He raises his staff and you realize the source of his power: Amplifier Worship!

You should have never dared to face him! All hope vanishes as the realisation sets in. This will be your last fight. 

Sometimes there are cover artworks that just make you raise your fist and pray to the metal gods, that the music please be just as magnificent...

KHEMMIS - Absolution (LP) (2015)

Last year's "Absolution" of the US band Khemmis luckily delivers on its cover's doom promise full-scale. The only thing which remains missing on the Ralph Bakshi style fantasy artwork after having heard the music may be a weed clishé. There would still have been room for some smoking objects on both sides, right?

So which kind of doom do Khemmis prefer, the traditional melodic doom metal oder the brutal creaky stuff where the bass distortion goes to eleven?
Well, it's actually both. And how fluidly they mix it together in every single one of these six tracks is an incredibly seasoned effort, especially considering that this is the quartet's debut work.

Find some killer riffs in Tony Iommi's secret stash! Combine them with a pinch of 70s hard rock and deliver them in a rich and deep space-cranking sludge sound! Add some Mike Scheidt signature chords and then above all the most important instrumental ingredient: infectious Iron fucking Maiden twin lead guitars!

The main attraction of Khemmis however are the vocals, which are delivered by both guitar players.

Phil Pendergast's mournful voice is probably one of the clearest in the genre. Somewhere in the back of my mind there's a singer I'm very heavily reminded of, but since I can't dig him out right now it must suffice to say that even though there's some Candlemass bombast going on, I could also imagine his singing in the context of a classic prog rock band.

This applies not so much for the ferocious grunts of Ben Hutcherson, who contrasts the melodic element with some solid southern harshness.

In conclusion "Absolution" is a flawless, never dragging listen, which marries some of the finest schools of doom to something familiar and new at the same time.

I won't say that this album is perfect though, because not all songs are on the same super high level of the epics "Serpentine" or "The Bereaved" yet, but I have a certain feeling that the creative peak of this band is still to come in the future.

Right now the band is pushing its renown from the Denver scene to the rest of North America. If they ever make it over the Atlantic I demand a doom overlords tour with them supporting Lucifer and Conan!

Thus spoke der Ohlsen and thus it shall be done!

Highlights: Serpentine, The Bereaved, Antediluvian

BTW: You might have wondered why I didn't write this review in german. In a few days the Wacken Open Air begins and I'm thinking about covering it in english too to bring some variety into my Wacken game and reach one or two new readers. So this is just me warming up a little.

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