During times of strife and squalor, old sonic friends are like a nice cup of hot tea, a warm sweater, and fuzzy socks. That cough from Black Sabbath’s ‘Sweat Leaf’, the majestic roar of Bolt Thrower’s The IVth Crusade, “the smell of resigned leather” that emanates from the gatefold of an Iron Maiden album, to Dio’s stupendously designed D&D soundscapes. They all tend to have a glorious nostalgia attached to them.
So, why are we talking about nostalgia when reviewing the latest release from Khemmis? They’re one of the hottest metal acts today, especially with their recent rise to international success. The answer lies in their new EP Doomed Heavy Metal. The first three tracks consist of a Dio cover, and two hard-to-find singles. On the flip-side, the last three tracks are from their acclaimed live shows in 2018, Two Nights Of Doomed Heavy Metal in Colorado. The newness about this material is how it offers a gloriously deeper insight into Khemmis, and it pours beautifully into the world as a lovely cup of sonic hot tea that has been infused with a hint of nostalgia.
The offerings of particular interest on this EP are of course the Dio cover, and the live tracks. ‘Rainbow In The Dark’ is one of the most iconic tracks Ronnie James Dio ever unleashed upon the world via one of the most significant albums to come out of the ‘80s, Holy Diver (1983). Khemmis took it upon themselves to take a crack at this canonical track in metal’s history, and damn do they ever deliver. It’s not only a refreshing take on a classic, but also a textbook example of quality cover work that demonstrates the band’s musical prowess, and sensitivity. Khemmis take what was, and inject their uniqueness, and skill, to show something legendary in a brilliant new light. The flip-side’s 2018 live content is a beautiful gem to behold too, and showcases their extraordinary stage presence. What’s truly amazing about this live set of songs is that they are a summation of their body of work thus far. Furthermore, these were performed at the climax of an amazing year for the band, in their hometown.
Khemmis has put together an outstanding collection of tracks that not only their fans will adore, but other bands can look to, and learn from, for guidance. Doomed Heavy Metal is a benchmark EP release in its construction.
Words by: Garrett A. Tanner