Khemmis
Hunted


4.5
superb

Review

by Trevor Schneider USER (18 Reviews)
November 10th, 2016 | 70 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: What does it mean for music to be “heavy?”

Is the heaviest album the one featuring the lowest tuning? The greatest possible number of guitar strings? The fastest music, or the most detailed, or even the most emotionally draining? Has “heaviest” simply become synonymous with “best?”

Frankly, I don’t know; perhaps all of the above, perhaps none. But what I do know is that Hunted is the heaviest album I’ve heard all year. Not that it’s a particularly loud or aggressive album per se; in fact, some moments are quiet, even calm. But even in its most restrained moments, Hunted is thoroughly crushing and relentlessly effective; it’s the rare album that lodges itself in both one's head and gut.

Khemmis first caught my attention with last year’s Absolution, a record that overcame occasionally meandering songwriting through strong hooks and compelling, NWOBHM-inspired guitar work. Doom metal isn’t generally my genre of choice, but Khemmis left a strong enough impression for me to actively seek out their follow-up release. Although dropping Hunted less than 2 years later struck me as a questionable decision, the album’s pristine quality suggests that the quick turnaround was much more likely thanks to an abundance of material and creativity than a rushed writing process.

Despite the relatively wide gap in quality between the two, Hunted differs from Absolution in only a handful of areas; however, those exact areas are the ones in which the latter was lacking. Gone is the occasional sense of aimlessness, replaced with a tight package of 5 rock-solid doom metal tracks. From the catchy, almost poppish chorus of “Candlelight” to the sprawling compositions of the title track, just about every moment belongs and connects, a welcome change in what has become the year of overwrought, overlong records. In spite of the trimmed runtime, though, nothing that made Khemmis’ music engaging or unique to begin with has been lost; the opening notes of “Above the Water” mark the return of Maiden-tinged riffs, and Phil Pendergast’s vocal performance trumps even his stellar showing on Absolution. For all intents and purposes, this is the album that I hoped Khemmis would release.

For a doom metal record, Hunted is surprisingly diverse, too, dabbling in all sorts of different styles of heavy music. The pounding rock’n’roll riff that opens “Three Gates” is easily one of my favorite moments, but the excellent harsh vocals that follow are almost as satisfying. And, though “Candlelight’s” sludgy death metal-inspired section does overstay its welcome, I’ve gotta give the band credit for having the guts to attempt it. With no disrespect to the first four stellar songs, though, the titular closing track immediately distinguishes itself as the record's crown jewel, a flawless behemoth that spans more than 13 minutes and wastes none of them. It’s crushing, passionate, and stands as the defining moment of this young band’s stellar career.

By any manner in which one might choose to define the word, Hunted is heavy. There’s something about this album and this band that connects and knocks the wind out of me in a way that not a whole lot of doom metal ever has, and it’s exactly that feeling that keeps me coming back. With Hunted, Khemmis have sprinted ahead of their contemporaries, crafting a relentlessly enjoyable record while never sacrificing a lick of emotional or instrumental gravity.



Recent reviews by this author
Mutoid Man War MoansAlestorm No Grave But the Sea
Heyrocco Teenage Movie SoundtrackPersefone Aathma
Lancer MasteryMetallica Hardwired... to Self-Destruct
user ratings (150)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
PsychicChris (5)
A near perfect example of metal genre blending...

recommended by reviewer
King Goat Conduit

Comments:Add a Comment 
Ebola
November 9th 2016


2564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

this right here is some good shit my dudes

originally posted on https://thesonicsensory.com/2016/11/08/khemmis-hunted/

RogueNine
November 9th 2016


3176 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Gotta listen to the rest of this. Candlelight is phenomenal.

tacos N stuff
November 9th 2016


2023 Comments


wasnt too big on the last lp, but this review has me interested

lalchimiste
November 10th 2016


704 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

it's definitely a step up from the last one as the songwriting is near perfect here. Every element brought in never feels out of place as it sometime did on Absolution

Essence
November 10th 2016


5764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

khemmis rules

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
November 10th 2016


4284 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Props for reviewing this album. It's really good! pos!

Digging: Sasquatch - Maneuvers

Thibs
November 10th 2016


2596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

one of the better metal releases this year, and that is saying a lot

teamster
November 10th 2016


1486 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Primitive Man are what I call "heavy" in this type of circumstance. They are just filthy and ruthless. This album is a bit more refined - production a bit more cleaner. Excellent review and thanks.

Digging: Wormwood - Ghostlands - Wounds From A Bleeding Earth

jimmykidd
November 11th 2016


635 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

good review. completely agree. one of my favorite metal albums this year. been listening non stop this week. khemmis and pallbearer play a style of metal i really dig

PortalofPerfection
November 11th 2016


1991 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Love this band. Took up the sword from The Sword lol.



They found a great sound right off the bat and continue to execute it to perfection.

RogueNine
November 11th 2016


3176 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah Pallbearer fans should like this.

necropig
November 17th 2016


2609 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Nice, didnt know this had a review. Decibel gave it album of the year.

http://decibelmagazine.com/blog/2016/11/17/spoiler-here-are-decibels-top-40-albums-of-2016

Digging: Kashiwa Daisuke - Program Music I

Sabrutin
November 20th 2016


4323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is really sweet

InFlamesWeThrash666
November 23rd 2016


6447 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Might check this

Digging: Dying Fetus - Wrong One To Fuck With

Ebola
November 23rd 2016


2564 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

do it

Sabrutin
November 23rd 2016


4323 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Noooooo liiight



Beyond the doooor

Madbutcher3
November 25th 2016


1748 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this reminds me a lot of New Dark Age so of course i love it

really great vocals and songwriting

InFlamesWeThrash666
December 3rd 2016


6447 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah this is very good

Xenophanes
Staff Reviewer
December 5th 2016


606 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is pretty much the designated Metal AOTY according the collection of lists I've seen thus far

RogueNine
December 5th 2016


3176 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Over Vektor?



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy