Khemmis Ignite the Pit with Final Colorado Performance of the Year

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Khemmis Ignite the Pit with Final Colorado Performance of the Year

Khemmis performing at the Hi-Dive on Saturday, October 14

Khemmis performing at the Hi-Dive on Saturday, October 14

Khemmis performing at the Hi-Dive on Saturday, October 14

Khemmis performing at the Hi-Dive on Saturday, October 14

Jake Tharan

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Here in Denver, we are only as good as our metal. And our metal is damn good.

Denver doom wizards Khemmis supplemented a voracious crowd on Saturday, October 14th with a razing hometown performance held at the unrivaled Hi-Dive on South Broadway. Throw in assistance from Arizona’s Spirit Adrift and fellow Denver trio Abrams, and we had ourselves a bona fide rock n’ roll affair.

The array of colors from shop signs and popular clubs illuminate South Broadway on this late Saturday outing.  Approaching the Hi-Dive’s florescent-red display with the invitation “The Club is Open,” patrons are ID’d at the door by none other than Primitive Man’s drummer.

After attendees were permitted to enter, raiding the merch tables to purchase threads from the evening’s attractions was top priority: the new Spirit Adrift LP Curse of Conception did not last long on the shelves.

Shortly after the hour hand passed over 9 pm, Denver’s own Abrams took the stage to commence the noise.  Guitar, bass and sticks in hands, the trio began ripping into their staunch heavy rock.  Bassist Taylor Iversen threw his whole being into the performance, while guitarist Zach Amster displayed colorful 6-string phrasing.

With a setlist heavy on their latest record Morning, the most appropriate closer was the track “Mourning,” which was artfully delivered with participation from Khemmis vocalist Phil Pendergast.

Phil would return to the stage later, but not before desert doom donors Spirit Adrift entered the limelight.

Even though they’ve logged almost as many live performances as fingers on both hands, Spirit Adrift performed with the dynamic of a seasoned touring unit.  After all, what else would you expect from a group comprised of members from Gatecreeper, Goya, and Gale?

That group did not disappoint. Cuts from the new record dominated the setlist and they curated one hell of a show.  “Earthbound” signaled the arrival of Spirit Adrift as frontman Nate Garrett’s voice soared up through the chorus.  Garrett sings and plays with an assertive level of certitude as if convinced that he and his cast have created something marvelous – and indeed they have.

Spirit Adrift at the Hi-Dive

“Spectral Savior” served as a splendid coda to the set, as the extended outro to the track created an enthralling atmosphere.  Garrett’s pronounced leads deconstructed into oblivion as guitarist Jeff Owens preserved the flow and bassist Chase Mason’s 4-string backbone trembled beneath. As evidenced by the audience rushing to their merch table post-set, Spirit Adrift had constructed a poignant musical ecosystem.

Precluding any possibility of an anticlimactic concert, Khemmis entered the stage.

Following a confluence of the members onstage, the band began the fuzzy plod of “Above the Water” as a sold out Hi-Dive whipped their heads to and fro.  Their staple dual leads cut through the thick tones and fill the room, and then disperse to give way to the grating crunch of the verses. “Serpentine” stirred heavy crowd vocals as Khemmis sailed through the slow-moving number.

“Candlelight” was masterfully executed with conviction and the 13-minute opus “Hunted” careened around wells of sludge, rock n’ roll and layered doom.  “Three Gates” was the track that roused the audience into a pit as In the Company of Serpents vocalist Grant Netzorg lent his throat to the track.  Guitarists/vocalists Ben Hutcherson and Phil Pendergast closed out the set with melodic vigor on fan favorite “The Bereaved.”

Arguably the most energetic Khemmis show this city has seen, the band journeyed through seven songs and supplied Denver with a delightful experience.  It was a worthy musical exhibition to sate the appetite of fans until their next performance in the Mile High City.