Home > Bargain > Kill Cheerleader – All Hail

Kill Cheerleader – All Hail

Spinerazor Records, 2006

It is a rare situation when I buy a dollar bin album that I already own.  I even recall originally buying this record for $13 or so online because I wanted it so much.  I winced at the price a bit at the time, and I winced even more harshly at the cover art, but I knew this was quality rock ‘n roll when I bought it a few years ago.  And would you believe that this copy, which was more than ten bucks cheaper, was still wrapped?!  I nearly fainted.  This truthfully was an act of saving a great disc from the inevitable landfill in the hopes of handing it over to a friend.  I suppose this review is my defense of getting a dollar bin-deemed record twice.

I could just leave the music description of the band as “a derailed train hitting a Baptist church” or siamese twins engaging in carnal contact, but I’ll keep the metaphors to a minimum when I say that Canada’s Kill Cheerleader resemble a hair metal band without all the schlock.  Ethan Deth (aka Ethan Rath of Crystal Castles) and his leather-wearing cronies blaze through most of their songs with guitar layers, drum thwacking rapidness, and disdain for anything sedentary.  One of the standouts of the record (and there are a good amount of them) is “Lady of the Night”.  Something about a bass intro, meshing with a lashing guitar, and the sneering Deth demanding his lady of the night to come back to him reeks of rock ‘n roll.  A particular favorite part of the songs comes during the mid-song double guitar solo, which helps split the song into half chorus/verse, half instrumental.

“No Feelings” and “Find Your Own Way Home” also pack in a lot of quick riffing and grim rawness.  In “No Feelings”, Deth’s vocals take on the tone of simmering anger that only bursts during the chorus, yet it’s the blitzing guitar work at the end that seems to truly convey the song’s emotions.  “Find Your Own Way Home” sounds more like a punk song given its speed and the vocal shouting, yet it fits the tone of the lyrics given that this is one of those anguished see-you-later songs.

“Don’t Call Me Baby, Baby” wins the best title for the record, but man does it deliver on the powerful sonic juice.  Granted, it’s an unfortunate story that details the unhappiness a girl is feeling towards her wayward boyfriend, but yet again it’s that wailing guitar solo and extended instrumental that makes this song an encompassing mass of blissful energy.  (sigh)  How can one truly describe songs that just get one utterly amped up?  Can you feel my conviction through the screen?

For all their bombast, Kill Cheerleader do enjoy their quiet moments.  “Go Away” is a nice break from the action halfway through the album, and though it slots well as a rock ballad the “na na na’s” and sometimes whiny vocals might not make this one’s favorite spin.  Still, its later verses aren’t so pitifully quiet to kill the momentum that the record surged forth from the beginning.  “No Lullabies” is nearly whispered at the end of the record’s onslaught, reminding me of some kind of conglomeration of Guns N Roses ballads.  Finally, for whatever reason, Kill Cheerleader wanted to end the record by plinking away on a piano in “Hurt the People You Love”.  Letting us down easy, I guess.

These guys have a few tunes on their otherwise desolate MySpace page, but I think Youtube will serve you better for your headbanging fix.  For a pretty good live video of the band, check out “Sell Your Soul”.  For a video that I thought was taken off the Internet, check out the official “No Feelings” video.

I cannot express to you how much joy this record brings me.  It has that retro metal element but also some fantastic modern takes on rock that keeps it from being too monotonous or predictable.  I also really like the fact that Deth’s vocals are rarely in your face, so it gives each song a garage rock feel while primarily focusing on the music.  Even the slow songs are appealing with their slight tugs on a metalhead’s feelings regardless of how well the lyrics are crafted.  I suppose … I suppose this is a record that Motorhead fans, who like that consistently beautiful blend of hard rock, metal and edge, could truly enjoy.  It makes you want to hear the next record, which will hopefully sound like the first, and then there will be more devil horns thrust into the air, and then…

But no, this is it.  Unfortunately Kill Cheerleader is no longer and merely put out this one record.  It’s already known that Ethan Deth (Rath) has gone onto Crystal Castles, so perhaps that path of chaotically catchy electronic music was more his thing than hard rock.  Seems a shame, but at least this record exists to give some rock fans out there some satisfaction.  Well, this one definitely gets the Golden Dollar.  This one’s a keeper…. er, twice.

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