Khemmis, Deceiver (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Denver doom metal band Khemmis roll out their fourth full-length album, Deceiver.

From their founding almost a decade ago, Khemmis has been a reliable source of thought-provoking doom metal. The lane of music they operate in tells you something about their sound, but they do not get lost in the crowded field – you can always tell when it is Khemmis playing on stage. After the recent departure of long-time bassist Daniel Beiers, the band is Zach Coleman, Phil Pendergast, and Ben Hutcherson.

Acoustic guitars open the first song on the album, “Avernal Gate.” The peace does not last long. Invigorating lead breaks and vibrant pace make this track an eye opener. “House of Cadmus” has a slower and weightier riff range. Paired with the clean vocals, the effect is particularly penetrating. “Living Pyre” is the first-half highlight for me. It is bold and serious in its tone and solemn in its delivery. The surprisingly wicked secondary vocal adds an even darker depth.

“Shroud of Lethe” sustains and permeates with its shadowy dignity. The eloquent lead break near the front and the vicious transient voice past the middle are perfectly placed rejoinders. “Obsidian Crown” sits atop a deceptively straight-forward substrate and from there grows and blossoms. In the closing track, “The Astral Road,” final lines are spoken in the fateful progression of existence. The calamity of conflict resonates in fiercer movements while the realization of the truth behind the increasingly obvious façade is revealed in the quieter moments.

The music on this album has an epic scale to it, a soaring persona that holds true in every song. It is exactly what fans of the band were hoping for. Recommended.

Deceiver is due on Friday, November 19th through Nuclear Blast Records.

Links.

Website, https://khemmisdoom.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/khemmisdoom

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sound/cd/cd/khemmis-deceiver.html

Khemmis, Deceiver (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Green Druid, At The Maw Of Ruin review (Earache Records, 2020)

Heavy doom flows out of the Mile High City as Green Druid releases At The Maw Of Ruin.

Fairly new to the music scene, Denver’s Green Druid drew a lot of attention with their first album Ashen Blood in 2018. That album had a patient darkness to it and a kind of melancholy bitterness salved by eldritch metal choirs. An impressive start, and the new album continues the message of that emergent force, traveling deeper into the bleak hereabouts.

The Metal Archives reports the band is Ryan Skates (bass), Mikey Honiotes (drums), Graham Zander (guitar), and Chris McLaughlin (vocal and guitar). Together the music they create is a sinister weaving of laid back stoner doom and threatening assault. Cold melodic vocals transform into the hissing of orc mages then into the howl of a raging berserker and back again. The locality of intent moves from the immediate to the cosmic, and the focus of the attack switches from bludgeon to knife’s edge between your labored breaths.

The new album has six tracks, the shortest of which is eight minutes. The road begins with “The Forest Dark” and a thumping, tree felling riff. Something is in that forest and it is after you – the dread and menace is thick in the music. “End Of Men” is a ride upon a gentle river that quickens into a threat, one that does not seem survivable because as the water roughens it leads into the black unknown. “Haunted Memories” is a murky dream that does not go away when you wake. There is an amazing extended bass solo in “A Throne Abandoned” and salubrious lead guitar in “Desert Of Fury / Ocean Of Despair.” The final track is a cover of the Portishead song “Threads,” and it engenders a pleading hopelessness far beyond the original. Taken together, these songs form a set of music expertly matched to the promise of the title. Highly recommended.

At The Maw Of Ruin is out now and available for instantaneous purchases at Bandcamp and other digital distributors. You can order CDs and vinyl as well. There is even a signed CD available at Earache’s US store (link below).

Band photo from the Metal Archives.

Links.

Bandcamp, https://greendruid.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/greendruidband

Soundcloud, https://soundcloud.com/green-druid

Earache store, https://webstore.earache.com/green-druid

Earache US store, https://uswebstore.earache.com/green-druid-at-the-maw-of-ruin-signed-cd

Green Druid, At The Maw Of Ruin review (Earache Records, 2020)