Demo:listen: Khem

Welcome to Demo:listen, your weekly peek into the future of underground metal. Whether it’s death, black, doom, sludge, grind, thrash, heavy, speed, progressive, stoner, retro, post-, punk/, -core, etc. we’re here to bring you the latest demos from the newest bands. On this week’s Demo:listen we gaze into the curling flames of Sweden’s Khem.

Khem’s demo, Hatehammer, is three tracks of outrageously hateful, face-clawing black metal. The two-ish members behind Khem wish to remain anonymous, likely owing to the fact that not only is their music violent and acerbic, but they rip through songs with titles like “Culling Life” and “Hammers of Hate” with alarming zeal.

“Currently we are just two,” explains our contact within the band. “The demo was recorded as a trio and guitars/bass were split between our drummer and the third person. I strictly stick to vocals.” This mysterious third person is not mentioned again, and we here at Demo:listen know better than to ask after them.

According to Khem’s vocalist, Hatehammer was “self-produced and made within the home of one of [the members].” We would say that’s shocking, because this demo sounds incredible, but we know nothing about this band, or “the home” in which it was allegedly recorded. For all we know that home has a state-of-the-art studio in its basement. But it’s not about equipment, is it? It’s about what you do with it. For their part, Khem sound like they decided to douse themselves in gasoline, hit record, light up, and play through their three tracks as quickly as they could before they perished. Because there’s a frenzied and maniacal intensity to these songs that you seldom hear on studio recordings, demo or not.

Perhaps that’s because our contact within the band has been waiting some 5 years to release Hatehammer. Noticing that Metal-Archives had their birth year as 2012, we wondered how to account for the five years between then and their demo’s release.

“Aside from the usual obstacles such as sickness we had a very smooth recording process, it’s rather at that point I decided to form a band called Khem.” Fair enough. But now it’s got you imagining this sickly, affluent hermit with a killer studio in their basement, who’s recruiting black metal musicians to help with bringing about their hostile revelation, even going so far as to kill one of them, that mysterious third person, when they failed, for whatever reason, to cooperate.

Regardless of the facts and identities behind its creation, Khem’s demo is one of the strongest releases you’ll hear all year. And, as far as I know, tapes are still available from the band. Which were put out by Änglaslakt Productions, incidentally, that same Swedish label who released fellow Demo:listen-ites Ultra Silvam’s demos. (We’ve been assured, however, that there’s no connection between Ultra Silvam and Khem.) Now Khem are working on fresh material, and have intentions of playing live. So you’d best get into them now before everyone else does.

Check this space next and every Friday for another killer demo.