Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Khemmis : "Hunted"

Right from the beginning this album comes across heavier than their debut. The vocals this time around don't try to soar, but are more relaxed and sit back to ride the riffs. They do cram guitar solos into every nook and cranny. Despite the cover looking like a Dungeons & Dragons module they have Stripped away is some of the more grandiose Dio like pomp and circumstance. It's even more casual once we get to the second song. Three minutes in low growl drags this into the darker depths of doom. This is in fact the first moment where the album feels as dark as a doom album should. Once again the solos come out blazing, making this especially impressive for guitar players, though that kind of thing doesn't really wow me, I respect it.

They pick up the pace for an almost death metal like start into "Three Gates" . These guys have written some very concise songs that will appeal to metal heads that might not be die-hard fans of doom's long winded 13 plus minute dirges. Even when their singer goes towards his upper register to sing the phrase "No, salvation" he steers away from getting too Pallbearer like with it. The vocal melodies are very smooth and polished not only on this song, but most of the album. The go for a more bluesy solo on this song rather than ripping out the scales to burn on their fret boards. They find a more mournful tone amid the angular guitar harmonies of "Beyond the Door".  Even with the Iron Maiden like passages  that place more of an emphasis on the twin guitar attack, they seem a little more committed to being a doom band on this song.

More guitar heroics go down in the more uptempo metal saga that is the title track. The first few minutes of this song feel more like power-metal just with the thick layer of cheese. They keep this song moving pretty well as I am at the six minute mark wondering where the time went. I am also waiting for the guitar solos to come as there is over six minutes to still cram a bunch in. They indulge in that and also break down into a more solemn clean tone section that is still showcasing guitar work, but in a more restrained and tasteful manner. The vocal refrain also reflects this mood. I'll say this album is hands down better than the first, the band has a better sense of indentity and matured as song writers realizing the potential we saw in the first album, I'll give this one a 10. 20 Buck Spin is dropping this album October 21st.

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