I should have figured this out sooner. The influence of John Petrucci on Khemmis is unmistakable. It’s not just that the lead guitarist can approach Petrucci’s technical ability, he has a fundamental sense of the supremacy of the song. The focus of the music is Phil Pendergast, his voice the cynosure. The lead guitarist knows this. In the same way Petrucci never overplayed, which is as important to his virtuosity as his divine technical prowess. Many lesser guitarists are interchangeable in precisely the way they value themselves: their ability to shred. Rarer are those who, being able to shred, then ask: what is my role in the song?