Kill Cheerleader – All Hail

When Guns N’ Roses unleashed Appetite for Destruction in 1987, with bare knuckles they knocked out the glam metal pop behemoth that had taken root. Unbelievably, it is 20 years later and Kill Cheerleader would have you believe that they are the modern day Guns N’ Roses and Emo is the behemoth about to taste the knuckle sandwich.

In their glory days, Guns N’ Roses was the most dangerous band in the world – a band that moved units largely because of their street credibility. Kill Cheerleader know this and take every opportunity to tell you that they, too, are trashy, dangerous lusty lushes straight out of the gutters (of Ontario). Their press boasts that the group was banned from clubs (in Toronto) for their “off stage antics”. In their publicity shots someone is always holding a beer and one guy is slouched over like he’s passed out. They wear bandanas and leather.

They lay it on thick – maybe a little too thick.

But ultimately you have to listen to the music. So how is the album? All Hail is a good hard rock album featuring driving rhythms, simple chord progressions by loud guitars, and solid performances by the band. The music is tinged with a metal influence not found in much of current rock music as recorded by bands like The Strokes. These guys have nothing in common with The Strokes mind you, and singer Ethan Deth sounds more like Rob Zombie than Axl Rose, but everything else about the music is pretty much as advertised.

The first 3 tracks “Sell Your Soul,” “So Young,” and “Deathboy” are on the mediocre side (“So Young” sounds just like Billy Idol’s “Rebel Yell”). But the album picks up at track 4 with “Lady of the Night”. The following track “No Feelings” is also strong. The drug-themed “Go Away” is dispensible. Number 7, “Find Your Own Way,” is another solid rock song with a middle section that distinguishes it from the other good tracks. The remaining tracks are largely forgettable.

Is Kill Cheerleader the new Guns N’ Roses? No. And not for lack of trying but because a band like Gn’R that explodes and changes the musical landscape and influences a legion of bands has the good fortune to be the only one doing the right thing at the right place at the right time, like Black Sabbath before or Nirvana after.