It isn’t everyday that a new band comes along and its two biggest stars consist of the rhythm section, opposed to maybe the guitarist or even the singer. As Kill Devil Hill include former Pantera and Down bassist Rex Brown and ex Black Sabbath and Dio drummer Vinny Appice behind the kit however, this is more forgiveable. Kill Devil Hill; who also include vocalist Dewey Bragg and guitarist Mark Zavon in their ranks, is the latest project from Rex after departing Down in recent years, and is a pretty safe project for fans of Rex’s previous work.
The problem with Kill Devil Hill and Rex’s involvement is that both Pantera and Down will cast a shadow over it. Reviewing this project, it would be ideal to ignore these previous bands and look at this purely on its own merits; but Kill Devil Hill’s sound is far too similar to overlook them. KDH sound like a combination of Down-like sludge with some hint of Pantera groove, as well as some Alice In Chains eeriness thrown in to the mix. Even Dewey’s vocals are a blend of Anselmo’s southern tinged growl and Layne Staley’s melancholic and at times vulnerable tones, with Rex’s very recognisable bass sound.
So an unsurprising album it has to be said. It does have a few really good fun songs, especially when the album is at a faster pace. Definite highlight “Voodoo Doll” for example is pretty huge and instantly memorable, and even brings Furyon to mind. “Old Man” is similarly anthemic, although perhaps benefits from following the sadly dreary “Time + Time Again”. This is one problem; the slower numbers usually do not grab you, and at their worst are simply boring and very forgettable.
A very unsurprising album, with nothing new to show in particular. Not a bad album by any means, nor a spectacular work either. A great example of a steady album, nothing more, nothing less.