Well, another year of great music and another year of great year end hometown holiday shows for fans that are sure to exceed artist’s normal sets and send everyone off into the holidays with a blast. Khemmis have done just that and in a uniquely exciting way for the fans with two sets on December 28th and 29th at the Larimer Lounge. Not only did they play two sets, but they played “A Night of Doom Metal” on the 28th where they selected their lowest and slowest songs and on the 29th “A Night of Heavy Metal” with their fastest and heaviest songs from their catalogue.
Night one was exactly what it sounds like, it was slow, low and heavy. Green Druid opened the show and immediately sent booming waves of doomy, fuzzy guitar riffs through the audience. The riffs became slower and slower, more and more people were grooving and head banging. They may have only played three songs but it was the heaviest and longest three songs I’ve heard in my life.
After Green Druid was beloved Denver Doom Metal outfit Dreadnought. Dreadnought had a completely contrasting feel to their set compared to Green Druid. Dreadnought believes in a strong between mother nature and music, it was evident with their use of nontraditional sounds of the flute, saxophone and piano intertwined throughout their doomy set. Dreadnought still kept it heavy and slow regardless, however there were a handful of twists and turns to keep the audience on their toes and the night moving. One of my favorite aspects about this band's live show was the contrasts between the heavy sections and the light sections, it kept the listener guessing for what was coming next. Songs would take different paths but always pass through a signature heavy section where Kelly Schilling screeched and howled her way through the verse, accompanied a fast thrash guitar rhythm held together with thumping bass, all followed by a “break” where the keyboardist’s voice would poke through like sunshine on a cloudy day.
Then came the final act, what everyone was waiting for, the almighty Khemmis.
Khemmis took the stage and dominated from the very first note that was played. The band came out to a song called “A Conversation with Death”, after that the rest is history. The show quickly turned tides from a sorrow-laden cover track into a slow, sludgy riff fest for the remainder of the night. Khemmis’ vocal and guitar duties were performed perfectly, ripping solos and putting their soaring and haunting voice above and beyond for everyone to enjoy. It’s incredible to see a band live up to their studio album’s sound and not only live up to it but, improve on it. Khemmis took cuts from all of their albums for this special two-night rendezvous. I heard a lot from their second album “Hunted”, fitting the mood of the night just right and by their reaction, the crowd couldn’t have agreed more. In classic Colorado fashion, Phil Pendergast came back for an encore and said “do you guys want to hear ‘The Bereaved?’ That’s a good weed song to end on,” it couldn’t have ended more perfectly. With all that being said, this was an incredible show not only for the Denver metal and doom scene but for Denver itself since it was such a unique experience, it would be hard to find a lot of other bands doing what Khemmis did with their New Years set. To keep it short and simple however, all I have to say is keep an eye on all these bands in 2019, they have big things in the works.