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Khemmis & Crypt Sermon at NYC’s St Vitus

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NYC metal mecca Saint Vitus Bar set the stage for an evening that could only be described as “heavy.” Making the trek to the venue that evening were locals Sanhedrin, the Philly faithful in Crypt Sermon and Denver doomsters Khemmis. The anticipation leading up to the show was palpable:Khemmis rarely make it over to the east coast; the band recently were awarded album of the year from Decibel Magazine and more and more people had become familiar if they hadn’t already. From the get go, Saint Vitus was filled to capacity.

Sanhedrin play a classic mash up of hard rock and metal somewhere between Blood Ceremony and Christian Mistress and their vocalist gives you the vibe about how you felt about your friend’s cool aunt back in the day; “she’s older, yet dangerous, look out, this kitty’s got claws!” In true DIY fashion the hometown band inspired feelings of NYC loyalty and their cassettes seemed to satisfy the hungry masses.

A known quantity and fixture of recent memory, Crypt Sermon and their larger-than-life doom metal, which hearkens back to the days of Candlemass and Solitude Aeturnus, made Vitus seem larger than its small capacity would let you believe. Vocalist Brooks Wilson faithfully fulfilled his duties as a powerful front man, a downsized Messiah Marcolin with a wonderfully patch adorned vest. Enrique Sagarnaga brought the fury from behind his drum kit and Steve Jansson’s guitar attack – with vicious solos swirling throughout various sections of the band’s repertoire – was his equal. While they played through most of Out Of The Garden Crypt Sermon introduced fans to a new number titled ‘The Reverend’s Grave’, fitting right in with the band’s prior material.

Khemmis closed out the doom infested evening with powerful and emotive riffs, bringing the audience to their rocky mountain highs. Hunted got tons of press from outlets like Decibel and many have glommed onto the Khemmis bandwagon, but their powerful debut Absolution is what originally garnered the band attention. The set was comprised of a mixed bag of their two albums which mesh together well and showcase the band’s cohesiveness in songwriting and frankly putting together a proper set list.

The evening came to a close not long after Khemmis played the final note of “The Bereaved”. The visually unassuming exterior of Vitus does not allow for normies to know what took place inside: A powerful hammer of doom, brightly displayed and swung with ample force by all bands performing. Khemmis may not make it to the Atlantic Ocean very often, do not miss the band when they make eventually make it to your nearest body of water.

-Thomas Campagna

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