This is the second album from US doom metal band Khemmis.
Khemmis’ debut album, Absolution, was one of my favourite releases of 2015, and has continued to be a firm-favourite of mine ever since first hearing it.
Continuing on with their style of combining traditional doom metal with sludge metal, the songs on Hunted are a tad longer, allowing the band more room to explore and expand on their core style.
The singer puts in a sterling performance once more. As impressive as his voice was on Absolution, he appears to have developed his singing abilities even further on Hunted. His cleans are delectable, carrying force, charisma and presence easily. He has a timeless voice that seems to fit perfectly in with both the old-and new-schools, which is totally appropriate as this also describes the music of Khemmis; they’re so skillful at blending influences from all manner of different eras that they could easily fit alongside any of them.
Like their previous work, occasional harsh shouts/growls appear also; powerful and commanding. We mustn’t forget these.
I’d say Hunted probably contains more classic metal elements then previously; these aspects of their sound are skilfully weaved into the traditional/sludge doom, verging on the progressive in places. On one hand this has resulted in songs that are more complex than those on their debut, but on the other hand means that they are also more rocking. It’s all relative of course, as it depends on the song and the part of the song, as the sludge and doom metal is still the main thing they have going on here.
Iron Maiden/Mastodon-esque, (once again, the merging of old and new influences), melodies and harmonies are incorporated into the doom/sludge sound holistically, making for easily digested songs that actually have staying power; rather than being hungry again shortly after, there’s a satiating quality to Hunted, by virtue of the well-written songs, riffs and vocals.
Like their first full-length release, this album is full of character, but one that’s entirely its own. The songs are catchy without being overly so to the point of over-familiarity, and have more than enough depth and longevity to satisfy over the long run. There are a lot of tasty, emotive riffs spread out like dirtied gems across these tracks, and the band seem to find it easy to fit everything together into cohesive, enjoyable doom/sludge metal frameworks.
A huge album from a band that deserve to be huge. Expanding and building on the success of their debut album, Khemmis have shown that Absolution was no fluke and continue to forge their own path down doom metal’s crowded streets, knocking over most of their peers in the process.
This album is just plain better than most other things out there. What more can I say?
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