In their short existence, Denver’s doom metal act Khemmis have created some of the best metal these ears have heard in a while.  I credit my buddy and former Deepsend Records owner, Graham Landers with introducing them to me some years ago and their three prior albums and eps are all excellent and well played doom metal. Their last album Desolation was #2 in my years end best of list.

Deceiver is 6 songs in 41 minutes and “Avernal Gate” opens with a nice acoustic moment and then the song rips right into a fast part-took me off guard as the song has a thrashy feel to it.  The song slows down to their signature doom pace with excellent guitar work and then the song gets into the speedy part before slowing down with an excellent guitar solo, great melodies and vocals.  The drum patterns continuing on with their quest to create an epic and memorable song.  The song gets into the faster moments and I swear those are some black metal stylized vocals being thrown in and they sound great.  An excellent opening number seeing the band incorporating some different styles to their already proven doom metal track record.

“House of Cadmus” is up next starting like a standard Khemmis song with the doom and depressive nature as excellent vocals begin and the song has a melancholic feel to it.  The guitar solo erupts and is short, yet precise, as the song slows down some more and those guitar riffs.  They are a thing of beauty and are perfectly played.  Catchy and emotive to move the listener along in the grief process of the song.  More excellent guitar melodies, solos all drenched in atmosphere.  Some creative growly death metal vocals enter the picture and further add to the quality of this song.  This song along with “Living Pyre” have already been released prior to the release date of this album to up the anticipation for this record.

“Shroud of Lethe” at close to 8.30 is the longest song on the album beginning with terrific guitar melodies, some soft drums, and you know this buildup is going to hammer us all soon with depressive, dense and rich arrangements.  The vocals encourage the process as you can hear the longing and loss in the vocal tones which the guitar melodies accompany perfectly.  The song picks up speed, then slows back down and the Holy Shit moment is at the 5.19 section with the isolated guitar moment, drum hit, growl and then the doom death plodding tank like heaviness heaves its way forward crushing all in its path.  Super heavy moment as the song slows to a crawl and the death metal vocals adding the additional element of evil.  This moment actually has me thinking of Hooded Menace.  The song crawls out of the doom death passage and gets into the traditional pacing the band does so well, more solos and the guitar melodies will make you want to pick up that air guitar and play until you wake the neighbors….oh wait…it’s an air guitar, so it’s silent.  Nevermind.

“The Astral Road” closes out the album with a great opening guitar solo and plodding drum pattern.  Before the song picks up to a mid-paced metal speed equipped with great vocals.  The guitar soloing at the 3.25 part picks up pace and goes on for a fair amount of time.  This part is so metal it will have you picking up that air guitar yet again and then right into a meaty guitar riff.  The song speed is rather happy, like the traditional pacing, earlier in the song until the song slows down.  Gets right into Khemmis’ classic doom metal pacing.  More anguished and pained vocals, as the song continues this way until the end of the song.  This is a really great way to end the album.

Khemmis’ Deceiver is once again proof Khemmis are leaders rather than followers in the genre of doom metal.  Some added black metal vocals and the continued use of death metal vocals, sparingly in places, creates an eargasm for vocal fans.  The production is loud, crunchy and heavy with those excellent guitar riffs exploding all over the place as the rhythm section on this album continues to be an unstoppable force.  If you enjoyed Khemmis’ prior output, you will no doubt enjoy this.  2016’s Hunted, may still be my favorite Khemmis album; but that does not detract from the greatness that is Deceiver.  Great band!

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Frank Rini
December 13th, 2021


  1. Commented by: J. Mays

    Khemmis has some nerve releasing a banger like this so close to the end of the year.

  2. Commented by: F.Rini

    James- you’re so right. It didn’t make my list cause I was hardcore with a shorter list but this album is great. I hope to see them live one day.

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