Maybe a better name for Kill Devil Hill would be “The Comeback Kids”? You have legendary drummer Vinny Appice who had to deal with the dissolution of Heaven & Hell and the death of longtime bandmate Ronnie James Dio in one corner and in the other you have Rex Brown, former bassist for Pantera and Down who has had some hard times recently. Then there’s guitarist Mark Zavon who has spent some time as a member of both Stephen Pearcy’s band and Ratt and vocalist Dewey Bragg, one of the vocalists for Pissing Razors. Whatever you wanna call ’em, it’s the music that certainly does the talking in Kill Devil Hill which manages to combine all their previous outfits and add some fresh new flavors on top. There’s some Sabbath flair, some Pantera aggression, and just some all around great hard rock a la Soundgarden and Alice In Chains.
“War Machine” is a metal anthem if there ever was one and while one could argue that Bragg is the second coming of Layne Staley (Don’t call it heresy until you hear the guy), his screams of “War” at the the end of this one are oddly reminiscent of a frontman Rex Brown is very familiar with and a little song called “Fucking Hostile”. The album switches gears almost immediately to AIC mode with “Hangman” (Especially the chorus…Layne would be proud) while “Voodoo Doll” could easily be the band’s breakout single with lush melodies that would fit in on any local alternative radio station (Do those exist anymore?).
“Gates Of Hell” would’ve fit great on the 2009’s Heaven & Hell redux while “Rise From The Shadows” sees Brown take it a step further and channel Geezer Butler during the intro. “Strange” has a solid hard rock groove and displays why Kill Devil Hill works so well because the band don’t cater to any one genre. On Kill Devil Hill, these four veterans of the scene don’t just do metal or hard rock or alternative. They do it all and they do it really well.
Kill Devil Hill is out May 22nd on SPV/Steamhammer.