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Khemmis is a doom metal quartet from Denver, Colorado. Since their inception in 2012 they have established themselves as one of the most consistently celebrated bands in 21st century metal. With their plodding, fuzzed-out, bass-heavy sound -- which draws on '80s-era influences from Mercyful Fate and Iron Maiden to Saint Vitus and the Obsessed -- they carve out a unique niche in the abundantly populated doom scene. Their music stands tall alongside peers such as Sleep, Pallbearer and High on Fire. Utilizing mostly clean vocals amid distorted, downtuned guitars, they craft insistently catchy melodies and riffs while allowing volume and effects to color in the margins with bone crushing intensity. Their sophomore album, 2016's Hunted, landed at number 11 on Rolling Stone's "20 Best Metal Albums of 2016,"; it also claimed the top spot in Decibel Magazine's "Top 40 Albums of 2016."
Khemmis was formed by school pals Ben Hutcherson (Glacial Tomb, guitars/vocals) and vocalist/guitarist Phil Pendergast. In turn they recruited bassist Daniel Beiers (ex-Lords of Fuzz), and Texas-born drummer Zach Coleman (ex-Vasaeleth). Their chose their name from an ancient Egyptian city that is currently known as Akhmim. They rehearsed and played local shows for over a year before issuing a three-track self-titled digital EP in 2013. Touring regionally, then nationally, they played small clubs and opening slots. Khemmis fine-tuned their sound which continued to evolve from the doom and classic metal they loved, outfitting it with custom touches, from excellent lyrics and wonderfully twisted twin-guitar leads to warm and punishing power riffs balanced by a requisite yet uncommon heaviness. They issued their debut long player, the six-track, 40-minute Absolution, through 20 Buck Spin. Recorded with Dave Otero (Cobalt, Primitive Man) and Shane Howard at Flatline Audio, the album earned critical and popular praise. Decibel made it one of their Top Ten albums of the year, while it simultaneously earned accolades from metal and hard rock-specific internet sites and magazines as well as more general culture outlets like NPR. The favorable attention resonated with metal fans across the spectrum, and earned the band slots at music festivals in Europe and the United States. They returned to Flatline Audio with Otero for 2016's much vaunted Hunted, which established the outfit as headliners in their own right, playing larger clubs and headlining smaller stages at festivals including Roadburn. The album was not only heralded by the press, it sold much better than its predecessor and, given its relative accessibility, established Khemmis' reputation with indie rock fans, many of whom were just coming to heavy metal. After a solid year and some months of touring, the band inked a deal with Nuclear Blast and recorded Absolution with Otero. The album was released in conjunction with 20 Buck Spin in June of 2018 and followed by an international tour. ~ Thom Jurek
- Denver, Colorado