Kill Devil Hill – Revolution Rise (Century Media)

Wednesday, 30th October 2013
Rating: 7.5/10

Somewhere in the potentially lucrative Alice in Chains/Down/Pantera crossbreed sits Kill Devil Hill, who made a rather quick move from SPV over to Century Media in barely over a year. Perhaps the band knew that by sticking with the long-time German label they’d run the risk of being relegated to dinosaur act given their labelmates…who knows. Either way, with the Century Media promo tank behind them, plenty of us having been well-versed in the sonic layout that is Revolution Rise, an album that is unflinchingly radio-ready, but rooted in at least the right metal spots.

When scratching our bald dome as to why the band has yet to achieve a commercial breakout, DR surmised that it might be because the rhythm section has two bonafide all-stars (Rex Brown and Vinny Appice), not the two sexy spotlight positions: vocalist and guitarist. If that’s something preventing Kill Devil Hill from infiltrating FM radio, then it’s a shame, for a boatload of these songs have ripe hooks, more refined (and coherent) than what Down is coughing up, performed with a little bit of the eerie drawl Alice in Chains has come to perfect. Like, how is “No Way Out” not on a WWE soundtrack for Wrestlemania, ya know?

Vocalist Dewey Bragg is probably the fly in the ointment for some, but he’s really the most appealing aspect of the band and Revolution Rise. While some jams are a bit too numb-skulled for our own liking (“Leave it all Behind,” “Where Angels Dare to Roam”), it doesn’t take much of an effort to warm up to Bragg’s chorus choices on “Why” or even “Stained Glass Sadness,” which at first blush, had all the makings of a dud, but gives Appice some much-needed percussion time. ‘Tis a bummer Dio’s former drum handyman isn’t more of a household name – Kill Devil Hill should be all over Coors Light commercials and Monday Night Football intros.  (And no, that’s not a bad thing in this context.)

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