Khemmis - Doomed Heavy Metal

Khemmis - Doomed Heavy Metal

(EP, Nuclear Blast, 2020)

KHEMMIS was one of those bands that have managed to escape my radar and I am happy to report that I am using the past tense here. That’s right; after catching one show of these gentlemen, I was hooked. The riff-driven and pounding Doom Metal turned out to be powerful enough to make me get the KHEMMIS back catalogue on vinyl. With that in mind, it made no sense to wait until I lay my ears on their new studio offering, even though this is not a full-length album, but an EP with three live recordings, two covers and previously released songs, simply titled “Doomed Heavy Metal”.

Without looking at the tracklist, I clicked the ‘play’ button and the recognizable KHEMMIS sound quickly made me check the song title because it was too familiar. Yeah, the EP opens with a cover on DIO’s “Rainbow In The Dark” and since I have a sweet tooth for such doings, KHEMMIS had my undivided attention. The band has managed to add a KHEMMIS flavor on this all-time classic with the Doom(ed)-tuned guitars and – believe it or not – with Phil’s singing. I am saying this because there is no voice in any universe (parallel or not) that can be compared to Dio’s magical singing and therefore adding a special flavor on the vocals is quite an accomplishment. In fewer words, I would say that “Rainbow In The Dark” has been successfully KHEMMIS-ized [sic] with the rhythm guitars carrying the appropriate Doom-ness. “Doomed Heavy Metal” has also gathered two songs that were previously available in two singles; “Empty Throne” was a Decibel flexi and “A Conversation With Death” was on the KHEMMIS / SPIRIT ADRIFT split “Fraught With Peril”. “Empty Throne” is a mid-tempo Doom track with moody vocal melodies and rhythm guitars that flirt with Sludge before hitting the melodies with double riffing. I had no idea of the original version of “A Conversation With Death” and for this my jaw dropped seconds after the Appalachian Folk vocal melodies made room for the pounding mid-tempo. Yeah, that’s KHEMMIS alright delivering this tune with the appropriate Doom respect though distorted down-tuned guitars, epic riffs and vocal melodies that will send shivers down your spine especially during the “oh death” chorus lines. And yes, the movie aficionados will rush to name “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” as the movie having the acapella song in its soundtrack.

The rest of the EP’s tracklist features three live-recorded songs and if I was to pick a favorite, then that would be “Bloodletting” because this one got stuck during my first encounter with KHEMMIS on the stage. The epic guitar and vocal melodies combined with the pounding rhythm section sealed the deal for me. The recording of the faster “Three Gates” has managed to capture some of the energy this band brings in concert and for this I will credit Ben’s growling singing (if I am not mistaken) and the audience that can be heard in the background.

I hope this EP is a precursor for a full length KHEMMIS album that is currently on the making. In the middle of this grave situation with the virus changing the way we live, music can be your shelter to get some relief or become the outlet to let some steam off. On a related note, with shows cancelled in every continent, buying music from the bands you love makes more sense than ever. “Doomed Heavy Metal” is a good place to start.





01. Rainbow In The Dark (DIO cover)
02. Empty Throne
03. A Conversation With Death (Lloyd Chandler cover)
04. Bloodletting (live)
05. Three Gates (live)
06. The Bereaved (live)


Dan - Bass
Zach - Drums
Ben - Vocals, Guitar
Phil - Vocals, Guitar