Kill Devil Hill are a new band formed by two of the best rhythm section players in the business – Vinnie Appice and Rex Brown. Vinnie is without doubt best known for his drumming with Black Sabbath, Dio and Heaven And Hell. He's been at the top of his profession for years and live he is a real powerhouse drummer.
Rex Brown was the bassist with Pantera for most of the band's life; he joined about a year after they started. He then went on to play with Down on their first two albums. On guitar we have Mark Zavon who has previously worked with Stephen Pearcy on both his solo work and with Ratt. The line up is completed by vocalist Dewey Bragg who was a member of Pissing Razors for a short period (and only one album).
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The album opens in fine style with 'War Machine'. A crunching riff kicks the whole thing off with Brown and Appice driving the whole thing forward. Bragg's vocals growl over the top of the whole thing and it's clear from the outset that this is a band that means business.
'Hangman' slows the tempo a little but the band lose none of their aggression and the tempo changes throughout the song show a band that are already pretty tight.
'Voodoo Doll' starts off slow and builds up as it goes along in a similar vein to a lot of AoR type songs. The difference is this has some real aggressive guitar work and Bragg's vocal lines are certainly a lot more Metal giving the song a real edgy sound.
As the rest of the album progresses it's pretty much the same – the songs either have big riff openings that settle into mid tempo rock songs or slower numbers that build over the duration of the song. Both styles are very reminiscent of a lot of the classic Metal/rock that is out there. But these guys are putting a modern spin on it with a more contemporary guitar sound and Bragg's vocal style.
Other stand out tracks are 'Mysterious Ways' which sees the band switch to acoustic guitars and play quite a laid back, but short, song. I also really like the final track 'Revenge'. It's a song that kicks off fast and aggressive, has a great solo in the middle and then slows down to a more doom Metal style which ends the album perfectly.
It would probably have been easy for Appice and Brown to reach for their little black books and call up some old friends and create yet another one of these so-called 'Supergroups', written a mediocre album and traded on the names in the band. Thankfully they didn't do this and they have come up with a band that shows great promise.
For me the songs formats were a little samey in the middle of the album but there isn't a bad song on the album. By mixing classic and contemporary Metal they have created something a little different which will draw listeners back for more and no doubt they will get even better.
Considering the band has only been together just over a year and are still finding their feet and style this is a fine debut album.