I have heard a lot of metal over my 29 years of listening to little else genre wise. I have seen the birth and death of genres and sub genres and even witnessed things come back full circle as the twenty teens (?) churn out the likes of Visigoth with their traditional take of heavy metal that was the audible catalyst for me at 13 years of age to go down this route as a fan.
Khemmis are a band that embrace that "older" or more "traditional" feel to metal in 2018 that has been popular over the past few years. Described as doom, in the same conversations that still include Pallbearer as thus also, I find Khemmis similar in sound to the Arkansas quartet with a more "catchy" nod to their sound.
What's clear about "Desolation" is that it is well written. There's little wobble to these structures folks, although we may have gone a little over the top in terms of the decor once the main build has been finished. For 6 tracks we get consistent, melodic, capable and memorable heavy metal (not much doom here - sorry Mr Internet) which pleases the still present teenager in me. 42 year old me wants a bit more of a challenge though. When something is well written you should be getting lost it in - like a King Crimson record for example - if you can see the quality of the song writing then it shouldn't be so easy to get distracted (in my book at least). Whilst I enjoy a lot of what I hear on "Desolation", I don't love much of it.
The production, whilst probably delivered as intended does make things seem a little too clean for a "doom" record, For example- when they kick in - far too much attention are given to the leads and the rest of the instrumentation gets little opportunity to support them. Only on closing track, "From Ruin" do they get this mix right in my opinion. It's an odd review to be writing, because although I don't hate anything on "Desolation", the continued hype and fervour on the internet for Khemmis just has my expectations set way too high.
Capable musicians and solid songwriters sums up Khemmis perfectly but they just don't light the blue torch paper for me I am afraid.