Album Review: Kill Devil Hill – Kill Devil Hill
Posted by Reggie
It’s not too often I buy a CD from a brand new band on the weight of the bassist. But when it’s Rex Brown it’s awfully hard to just pass on at least sampling it. Kill Devil Hill is the new band featuring Rex Brown (bass), Vinny Appice (drums), Mark Zavon (Guitar), and Dewey Bragg (vocals). I know better than to think Rex Brown is going to recreate Pantera, so if you are expecting a continuation of one of metal’s most important metal acts you may as well stop reading now. Kill Devil Hill’s self-titled debut album was released 22 May 2012 and here is what I thought of it.
On my initial listen, I found Kill Devil Hill to be impressive, but not on an extraordinarily creative sense. Of course, they are talented, but what drew me in to this album was its simplistic grooves and finger-snapping rhythm. There is nothing overly complex on this album. The first track, War Machine, is probably the heaviest on the album which is perhaps why it’s the first track – you want to make a good first impression. Even then, I wouldn’t classify War Machine to be much more than simply Hard rock. Hangman is the second track and is the point where vocalist Dewey Bragg really started to sound like Layne Staley (Alice in Chains). Basically, what I read online about Bragg having a strong vocal resemblance to Staley was validated on Hangman.
I like the fact that you can hear Rex’s bass. Often the bass is drowned out by other instrumentation, but on Kill Devil Hill, it is a more prominent driving force. The tone and vibe of the album is borderline stoner rock meets grunge (specifically Alice in Chains), but mostly it’s just Rock music – good Rock music. A few other songs that caught my attention were Strange, Voodoo Doll, and Rise From the Shadows; all of which are groove-driven and follow what appears to be a Kill Devil Hill recipe for rhythmic metal.
Kill Devil Hill is what I would consider “Chill” metal; the kind of music you listen to when you fire up the grill, open a tall cool one, and chill-out to some non-threatening metal. Lyrically, it’s understandable which is good and not so in-your-face. It’s nice to have bands like this to listen to when you want to take a break from Black, Death, or Thrash metal – the more abrasive metal subgenres. Kill Devil Hill fills that void nicely.
I have a feeling Kill Devil Hill is going to receive a similar level of flack as the other band with a former Pantera member, Hellyeah. Though, I think Kill Devil Hill will be better received than Hellyeah, there are some similarities between the two bands. One of those things they have in common is that neither sounds like Pantera. Kill Devil Hill is its own beast and should be listened to with an open mind. I think you will find that Kill Devil Hill is a groove-driven album and a great listen when you want to take a break from the harsh side of metal.