Khemmis – Down in a Hole

Posted: 8 August 2020 in Singles and EPs
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Magnetic Eye

Christopher Nosnibor

While reviewing Hymn’s new album, Breach Us for Whisperin’ and Hollerin’, I found myself undertaking a massive detour: having decided that for a few brief bars, Ole Rokseth’s vocals bore some resemblance to Layne Staley’s, and unsure of the spelling of Staley, fatally turned to Google, after which I squandered little short of three hours reading biographical details of the late singer.

And lo, lurking in my inbox was Khemmis’ cover of Alice in Chains’ ‘Down in a Hole’, the first track to be aired from the Dirt (Redux) album forthcoming on Magnetic Eye Records via their ‘Redux’ series (which has previously reimaged albums by Pink Floyd, Hendrix, and Helmet -although the title is a little misleading. There’s no real restoration involved here: this is a covers album, where a different band tackles each track to reconstruct the album not through remixes, but rerecordings.

I’m shamefully ignorant of most of the artists on here, although Thou are clearly a strong opening act, covering ‘Them Bones’, and label regulars These Beasts and Forming the Void also appear.

Anyway: Khemmis express that they were keen to ‘stay true to parts of the song, particularly the chorus, but that we also needed to make it our own.’ Sidestepping the TV karaoke cliché where every week the judges commend the contestants for making a well-known song their ‘own’, Khemmis have actually fulfilled their ambition by bringing layers of atmosphere and expansive guitar harmonics to the verses while retaining the integrity of the choruses. And while there are guitar flourishes aplenty, it’s apparent that this cover is born out of a genuine appreciation of the original.

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