Album Review – Desolation by Khemmis (Nuclear Blast)

American doom metallers, Khemmis have released their 3rd full length album, called Desolation. Released on the 22nd of June via Nuclear Blast, Desolation can best be described as career defining.

Khemmis are relatively new on the scene having only formed in 2012. Named after an ancient Egyptian city, also known as Akhmim, the Denver, Colorado based group have been really busy in the last 6 years. As well as touring they have managed to release 3 full length’s, an EP a split record and a single. Quite the return really and it has been paying off for them. It was with second album, Hunted, that really took the metal world by storm. Ranked highly in both Rolling Stones and Decibel’s top metal albums of that year, it was clear that Khemmis were destined for big things.

Khemmis are a 4 piece. On the bass we have Daniel Beiers and on drums we have Zach Coleman. On guitars and vocals we have both Phil Pendergast and Ben Hutcherson.


Desolation is a stunning album with 6 tracks and 42 minutes of inspiring and hauntingly melodic tones. The album opens with Bloodletting which sets the tone for the whole album nicely. Meaty drums and a fuzzy riff add dark doom undertones while higher pitched guitars squeal out glorious melody over the top. The vocals are sung cleanly and bed in perfectly with the surrounding music. The track has a slow, brooding pace to it and continues the vein of soft vocals, sinister bass lines and thumping drums with little moments of enlightened perfection permeating the cloud in the form of guitar solos and lines.

Isolation picks up the pace a little, pushing close to old school NWOBHM or power metal in its guitar solo intro. I love it. The main riff and drums play a galloping horses style beat with passionate vocals sung over the top. Again you have to marvel at how perfectly pieced together the song is but the real marvel is in the music. Fantastic solos all different in tone and shape, harmonised sections strong bass lines and drums that switch pace and timing in a flash make everything so damn listenable and so damn cool. It doesn’t let up on the rest of Desolation either.


Flesh to Nothing starts with an awesome guitar driven intro that leads into a pounding riff. The singing on this one is out of this world. Long, deep drawn out notes with higher toned backing vocals make for an exquisite sound. With a couple minutes long, the track switches suddenly to a blackened style with guttural vocals and slamming drum blasts before heading back to cleans and another immaculate dual guitar solo. The Seer brings in more of the death metal vocals mixed in with cleans and slamming drum beats and chunky bass lines.

The penultimate track, Maw of Time has a glorious intro with squealing guitars and a thrashy drum rhythm. The vocals are clean predominantly but when they go heavy, they are seriously black metal. Vicious sounding and powerful before a solo comes in an elevates the track even further. As good as Desolation has been so far, the best is left for last with a near 10 minute epic called From Ruin. What a fantastic metal song this is.

A melodic sounding guitar rings out before a crunch of drums and bass add meat to the bones for the long intro. Powerful clean vocals with harmonised backing lead into a catchy guitar hook before we slow down into a clean guitar tone on its own. Vocals come and join in as we move through this melancholy section. The guitars solo that follows is uplifting to hear as you continue the journey with a powerfully sung section. The speed picks up after this into a thundering riff and beat with a monster of a solo. The track, and album ends with the same perfect little guitar hook from the intro. Wow!

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Desolation is a fucking awesome album. Damn, this is one of the best albums you will hear in 2018. If doom isn’t your thing, don’t worry about that because Khemmis have made an album  that takes from many genres and forms 6 tracks of near perfection. A must hear!

Desolation is available now at all the usual streaming services, like Apple Music and Spotify. You can pick up a physical copy from Nuclear Blast here. Find out more about Khemmis at their website, on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to give them a like or follow while you are there.


  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

Desolation by Khemmis (Nuclear Blast)
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