Thursday, March 29, 2012

Forgotten Gems: Killer Khan-Kill Devil Hills

Independent/Private Print

This album has only been in my collection a short time and already I have grown to love everything about it. "Kill Devil Hills" came my way thanks to a friend I trade with every so often. Had I know about these guys earlier I would have tracked down more music from them. Bands like this are all about playing metal for metal's sake and really letting other fans know about great music like this is the reason why Forgotten Gems is such a fun article to write. This North Carolina band was originally known as Holy Moses and played doom metal from various reports. Formed in 1994 by singer-songwriter Killian Khan the group released two albums under that name ("Latitude Zero" and "Rock 'n Roll Forever"- 1995 and 1996 respectively) before switching to Killer Khan. From the looks of it "Rock 'n Roll Forever" was re-released as Killer Khan and somewhere between album number two (which I have not heard either) and "Kill Devil Hills" the style changed as well. Said to be influenced by bands such as Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Dio the sound here is so eighties in nature that I had to check the date a few times to make sure there wasn't some sort of mistake. Not so as hard as it is for me to grasp this really was released in 1999. Frankly folks this is classic eighties metal in spirit and sound. The most interesting thing about the group though has to be Killer Khan himself. All I can say is that if Ozzy had a son who fronted a traditional heavy metal outfit this is what it would sound like. Now don't give me the speech about how Ozzy really does have a son because little Jack Osbourne is anything but metal. Sorry to disappoint all the mall metal kiddos. No, this guy sounds more like Ozzy's offspring than Jack does. Either that or he could perfectly front a Ozzy Osbourne tribute band. Killer Khan (the band) might have a Judas Priest/Dio vibe going for them (really though this album sounds like a lot of different eighties hard rock/heavy metal bands rolled into one big & beautiful collection!) but Killer Khan (the singer/guitarist) sounds like Ozzy himself during his early solo years when he didn't have to rely on studio tricks. Following this excellent little gem the band seemed to vanish so if anyone knows more about the group please drop me a line. "Kill Devil Hills" is just a fun listen and should be more known. It is no-frills hard/heavy metal with a sound rich in tradition. Before retro-loving heavy metal bands came along in the last few years Killer Khan was already marching to the beat of true metal. As someone who loved the scene the first time around I highly recommend this album to anyone that misses groups who used to wave the banner of heavy metal proudly.

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