(Live Review) KHEMMIS + SUPPORT - Reggie's, Chicago 4/28/23
By: The Beard & Little Johnny
Conjurer, Wake, Mother of Graves
Tonight, The Beard & Little Johnny attend stop #13 and bands #78-81 on The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023. After a quick stop at Lo-Rez Brewing for a pre-show brew, then a dinner at Reggie’s and a second beer, we headed in. The Beard grabbed a seat at the far wall, while Johnny headed stage side front. Once more into the abyss.
First band up tonight was melodic death/doom from Indianapolis ...
MOTHER OF GRAVES
Death vocals, but with both keyboards and some melodic aspects. Traces of prog, a la Amorphis vocally, and either rougher Katatonia or lighter My Dying Bride were immediately evident in their music and sound.
A decent pacing for doom, but only 25% of traditional death speed. Poor Johnny needed to do a slow motion mosh which frankly just looked odd. Mother of Graves had a sound that was not bad considering they have only been around since 2019 and probably did not get much touring during the Covid 2020-2022 period. They had a very cool respectful vibe towards the crowd and all the other bands. Kind of a “nice” death/doom group.
I enjoyed their set, which was drawn primarily from their Where the Shadows Adorn release. Mother of Graves was a death sound the Beard could get into.
Next up was Canadian black metal act ...
Wake has been around since 2009 and has six releases to draw from, including their latest, Thought Form Descent. Pretty brutal vocals by singer Kyle Ball. This is one of those bands where songs “might” be about Satan, but they also might be about the virtues of sociopathic cross-stitching. There is really no way to tell.
Music was a thunder of noise with a bottom end that kind of made my head throb listening to it. Wake - trust me I am indeed awake ... but not loving this. I caught the name of one song “Sink Into Oblivion.” Sounds good, (not the song), just sinking into oblivion where I am not hearing this growling mess of blackened death metal.
I am not sure where Johnny stands, but The Beard is not a fan.
I would, however, love to see a black metal band get up there with that voice, and the whole “eviler than Hell” image and then say, “This is from our new album Flowers are Pretty” It’s called “Butterflies Make Me Smile.”
Never break character and then play a normal guttural, undecipherable black metal song and see if anyone notices or cares. Now THAT would be entertainment.
As far as Wake's set? Thanks to their final number (which had some traces of a roughed-up version of Grand Declaration) by Opeth to it), I can at least bump them up to a 70/100. Overall, though truly not a fan.
Third up tonight were blackened sludge from the UK ...
This was melodic death which is to say melodic music punctuated by Lucifer singing about being caught in a bad Verizon phone contract.
Mixing in the slow aspects did give the music a degree of depth and feeling though, plus they followed Wake so slotting in this case was favorable.
For the style, as The Beard continued to listen, this band was actually talented, but I am not sure how Johnny sucked me into yet another black/death show. Tricky little imp.
I will have to say the Beard kind of liked how Conjurer put their songs together. There are movements in pace and feeling throughout the songs rather than just high-speed death. Additionally, Connor Marshall on bass is giving it everything he has while whipping that hair around like a living extension of himself, (which actually is exactly what hair is I guess so…duh). For a band with only two releases, these guys are damn good, and the Beard found their set entertaining. Additionally, Johnny found a pit to play in, which on the band’s final number Connor Marshall jumped into (bass and all) and just played while the moshing was going on around him. There’s something you don’t see very often even in metal.
Entertainment is the rule of the day and without question Conjurer were most definitely entertaining. Always a point generator for the Beard is humor. Near the end of the set, guitar player (Dan Nightingale), said in full English accent, “We are Conjurer from the UK. We’re going to play two more songs about the sea and then fuck off.” Points when you make me laugh.
Giving Conjurer 84/100
Headlining tonight was Colorado’s best stoner/doom band right now ...
This was only the second night of the current tour and Khemmis was debuting some new material from 2022’s Deceiver release. Always a blast to get brand new stuff live early in the tour. Often there are song innovations going on right there as the group adapts them to a live version.
As always, Khemmis' older material and hits were stellar. Phil Pendergast and Ben Hutcherson always seem to have a natural chemistry and symmetry playing and singing together, and the addition of David Small to bass (replacing long time member Daniel Beiers) was not any detriment to the sound.
Khemmis and Pallbearer have a similar vocal sound, especially noticeable during the slower numbers and portions of their songs. Both bands touch vaguely on the classic Candlemass sound which just goes to show the tendrils of the doom style wrap around everything like the Kraken pulling down a ship into the deep darkness.
Khemmis is both doom and stoner and they do it about as well as anyone right now. From top to bottom, a strong set of music to end the night. Best number, “Above the Water.” Super version this evening. The Beard can give an easy.
This concludes stop thirteen on The Reviews Never Stop Tour 2023. Remember to read ALL the Beard & Little Johnny Reviews right here on The Mighty Decibel each and every Wednesday and check out hundreds of videos from all the shows and bands we have covered this year by checking out our TikTok page and searching.
Thebeard0728, or #thebeardandlittlejohnny
From The Beard and Little Johnny, until next time ...