Kill Devil Hill: Revolution Rise review

Kill Devil Hill Revolution RiseKill Devil Hill are a classic hard rock supergroup from North Carolina but, to be fair, calling them a supergroup does this astonishing band a disservice, as that moniker falls staggeringly short of what this band is all about and furthermore, capable of.

You see, all too often a band will come together that is comprised of music’s biggest names, only to offer up a lackluster product that doesn’t deliver on preconceived expectations. Kill Devil Hill have easily cleared that hurdle by leaps and bounds, by producing an earthquake inducing album that is an emotional gut-punch.

Revolution Rise is the band’s second album and first for Century Media and, on top of being a supergroup that actually delivers the goods, Kill Devil Hill have managed to avoid the sophomore slump that plagues so many bands with the greatest of ease. The new record is a sweltering masterpiece that crackles with intensity and rhythmic syncopation.

Dewey Bragg’s soulful voice provides a poignant narrative that resonates with the vocal style of David Coverdale. You never would have guessed from his time in Pissing Razors that he had such a dynamic vocal range. It makes you wonder why he is not in higher demand.

The record was produced by Jeff Pilson of Dokken, of which bassist Rex Brown says “It is definitely one of my favorite moments in my career” and it only takes one listen to understand why he feels that way. He goes on to say “Buckle your seatbelts, we’re in for one hell of a ride.”

The lumbering rhythms and layered vocal harmonies of tracks like “Crown Of Thorns,” “Wake Up The Dead” or “Life Goes On” are reminiscent of Alice In Chains classics “Angry Chair” and “Got Me Wrong,” while the sledgehammer riffs of songs like “Why,” “Leave It All Behind,” “No Way Out” and “Where Angels Dare To Roam” showcase the band flexing their creative muscles and exploring their heavier side.

The haunting melodies in “Long Way from Home” are similar to “Peruvian Skies by Dream Theater, while “Stained Glass Sadness” and “Endless Static” emulate hard rock veterans like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Thin Lizzy and even early Van Halen.

“Long Way from Home” is yet another highlight is the untitled hidden treasure at the end of the album. It is a tender and heartfelt piano ballad akin to “Changes” by Black Sabbath or “In This River” by Black Label Society.

Here’s the bottom line- this album is all killer, no filler and is a stunning throwback to the classic rock sound of the 70’s and 80’s with stellar song writing, searing guitar work and soulful passionate vocals.

Rating: 9.5/10.

-Eric Hunker