Steamhammer / SPV
All Access Review: B+
|Kill Devil Hill|
Ever wonder what a confluence of Pantera’s groove-mongering madness and Dio/Black Sabbath melodic black magic would sound like? Welcome to the gothic darkness of Kill Devil Hill, brainchild of veteran metal warriors Rex Brown, carpet-bombing bassist for the former, and Vinny Appice, bludgeoning drummer for the latter two outfits. Intense, ominous and unrelentingly heavy, Kill Devil Hill – also featuring vocalist Dewey Bragg and guitarist Mark Zavon – could be the bastard child of Alice in Chains and Soundgarden, were it not for the obvious doom-metal parentage of early Ozzy-fronted Sabbath. How proud they must be of their demon offspring.
Tuning up with the violent opener “War Machine,” Kill Devil Hill unleashes a dense swarm of malevolence that almost swallows the hornets’ nest of activity kicked up in the murderous “Voodoo Doll,” where the foursome play puppet master with shifting dynamics. The woozy, drug-sick “Gates of Hell” and “Up in Flames” revisit the twisted psychedelic carnival of “Black Hole Sun” while Bragg’s ocean-deep, anguished phrasing summons the hoary, hopelessly addicted ghost of Layne Staley. And with grooves as thick as molasses and monstrously huge guitar riffs, “Rise from the Shadows” comes off as the prodigal son of “Iron Man,” while the serpentine “Hangman” slithers through a jungle of tribal beats before confronting the gallows with supernova vocals and menacing guitars. As black as night, Kill Devil Hill has all the personality of a gargoyle come to life, and its appearance on the metal scene just might herald a new era of evil.
- Peter Lindblad