Kill Devil Hill - Kill Devil Hill (SPV/Steamhammer)

Stay with this one, it's worth it...
Release Date: 
27 May 2012 - 11:30pm

So, another ‘supergroup’ for your delectation. Except this particular team up features two ‘minor members’ of big groups and 2 people you probably haven’t heard of so to tag Kill Devil Hill as such is probably to do them a massive disservice. If you come to this album with no preconceptions about what its going to sound like because of who is in the band, you’ll find a fair bit to like about it.

It’ll take a while though, for KDH gives up its treasures but grudgingly. First up standouts like War Machine and Voodoo Doll have all the moves, but after a while you’ll tire of them in favour of more demanding, sludgy workouts like Gates of Hell and Rise from the Shadows, where the band (that’s Vinnie Appice on drums, Rex Brown on bass, Mark Zavon on guitar and vocalist Dewey Bragg) take the time to stretch out and workover the inevitable Sabbath and Pantera comparisons with some muscular riffage and doomy, psychedelic vocalizing. I say inevitable because with Brown and Appice present those associations are unavoidable; maybe the band could have avoided moments like the little bit in the middle of Gates of Hell where they really, REALLY do sound like Pantera jamming on Mob Rules-era outtakes for shits n’giggles…but for all that It’s not a bad sound to be in possession of, and much of this album passes by in pleasant fashion as Zavon cranks out the doomy riffs and flashy solos in fine style while Rex and Vinnie do what they do best – lay down a lumbering, sludgy foundation that’s heavy as buggery yet strangely lissome and lithe.

If there’s one small weak link here it’s the vocals of Bragg, which can at times dissolve into a grungey, faceless sameness that lets the material down somewhat… a vocalist with more personality may be the piece that completes the puzzle here, with someone like Alabama Thunderpussy/Exhorder/Floodgate vocalist Kyle Thomas springing to mind as someone who would fit this band like the proverbial handwear. Whatever, songs like Old Man cry out for a bit more attack in the vocal department.

A good debut all things considered, and there’s certainly something here worth developing if Appice and Brown’s rockstar diaries afford the opportunity in the future. Nice work.