Kill Devil Hill
KILL DEVIL HILL
Kill Devil Hill features guys from three of my favorite metal bands (Black Sabbath, Pantera, Pissing Razors) trying their best to not sound like Black Sabbath, Pantera or Pissing Razors. Try all they want, there's no getting rid of elements they brought to other bands. In short, Kill Devil Hill feels like some sort of musical love child of Black Sabbath and Alice In Chains, only with that thick groove that Pantera built a legacy on.
To be very clear here, I'm not comparing this band to any of their more famous parts. This band is definitely unique as an entity, and outside of the booming sound of drummer Vinny Appice's drums, this is not likely to remind you too much of any of their famous bands. To the contrary, you simply feel the undeniable influence from their past. When you listen to a song like "Hangman", there's no denying the influence of the Alice In Chains album DIRT, and specifically the song "Rooster".
To me, the most interesting part of KILL DEVIL HILL is the vocal work of Dewey Bragg. This guy was a monster on guttural wails throughout WHERE WE COME FROM for his old band Pissing Razors, but is much more clean and moody here. Songs like the heavy Sabbath/Chains song "Gates Of Hell" show Bragg to be a singer of great depth and range.
Bragg is not alone here. Guitarist Mark Savon is the unknown of the group, but actually stands apart from the rest of the band with the sheer weight of his riffs and leads. In short, Savon provides a perfect layer of guitar tension and noise that Bragg ably works from. The music is all anchored by Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice and Pantera bassist Rex Brown. Is there any thought that a rhythm section could get much stronger? It's not likely. The thick bottom end commands attention throughout most of the material. Songs like "We're All Gonna Die" feature a monsterous groove for yet another song heavily influenced by the work of Layne Staley and Jerry Cantrell.
PITRIFF RATING - 85/100 - Kill Devil Hill is a strong band that could easily find an audience for the next decade to come. Their self-titled debut is especially strong, which is really not all that surprising when you consider their lineage. Quality metal from some well established metal veterans.