"Kill Devil Hills" (Killer Khan; 1999)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Anybody who misses that dark yet somehow slick heavy rock sound that Ozzy made famous with his "Diary of a Madman" era need miss it no more. KILLER KHAN has claimed that sound as their own and is currently pumping it out with unabashed abandon with their new release, "Kill Devil Hills."

What's interesting about KILLER KHAN is that the band, thankfully, seems to have missed the last fifteen years of the evolution of rock. There is nothing on this CD except a couple of guys with guitars, a bass, some drums and a vocalist (who also happens to play guitar). It's heavy rock in its purist, most traditional form. And it kicks some serious ass.

It doesn't hurt that vocalist Killian Khan sounds almost like Ozzy himself. He's got his own style, don't get us wrong. But if you closed your eyes and imagined you were listening to an early Ozzy CD or a late Black Sabbath record, you might be surprised.

KILLER KHAN cites BLACK SABBATH, JUDAS PRIEST, OZZY and DIO as influences and that influence is heard throughout. Killer Khan is classic hard rock music that hasn't been poisoned by the rise and fall of grunge and hardcore. It's just pure heavy metal - killer stuff that you've just got to hear.

Okay, maybe they could tweak the production a little but who the hell cares? This record kicks some serious ass!

KILLER KHAN is: Killian Khan, vocals and rhythm guitar; Richard Downs, lead guitar; Paul Arntz, bass; Jeff Ausdemore.

"Rock 'n Roll Forever" (Killer Khan; 1997)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Those who have never heard a Killer Khan CD would be hard pressed to tell whether "Rock 'n Roll Forever" or "Kill Devil Hills" were recorded first. And that's a good thing. If there's one thing that can be said about Killer Khan is, it's that the band is consistent  - and fans of the band and fans of the sound will be pleased.

Actually, according to the band's website, "Rock 'n Roll Forever" was recorded in 1997 and "Kill Devil Hills" in 1999. The copyright date on "Rock 'n Roll Forever," however, is listed as 1996, 2001, so maybe there's been a little re-mixing or perhaps additional songs added to the new re-release.

Interestingly, virtually every word of the review for "Kill Devil Hills" also applies to "Rock 'n Roll Forever." The Black Sabbath / Dio / Ozzy inspirations are still very apparent, the fretwork very Tony Iommi-ish and the production slightly raw (but, surprisingly, perhaps a little better here than on "Kill Devil Hills."

Killer Khan are very successful at writing and performing the music that brought Ozzy to superstardom. The songs are solidly written and feature blazing guitars (both in riffs and in lead) and the vocals are haunting and very appropriate for the sound. Imagine early solo Ozzy ("Diary of  Madman") and you come close to the sound that Killer Khan has mastered.

A solid, hard-rocking collection for fans of the classic Ozzy sound, "Rock 'n Roll Forever" comes highly recommended, especially considering the dearth of those bands willing to present this type of music. Killer Khan don't just present it, they continue it, and the end result is as much a tribute as it is a unique success.

Killer Khan: Killian Khan - vocals, rhythm guitar; Richard Downs - lead guitar; Drake Osborne - bass; Jeff Ausdemore - drums; Galen Murray.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 03 Apr 2022 15:56:16 -0400.