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July 23, 2024

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Cheerleaders For Imperialism (Slap A Ham)

By: Jeb Branin

Although I have been a fan of HELLNATION for years they have never in the past blown my mind as completely as they have on their last two releases "Fucked Up Mess" and now "Cheerleaders For Imperialism". It isn't often that a band continues to push themselves to new pinnacles after a decade of slugging it out in the underground. Maybe the fact "Cheerleaders For Imperialism" is such a unique project is one of the reasons it comes across so raw and so in-your-face that it bloodies your nose. The CDs uniqueness is due to many factors, not the least of which being the circumstances surrounding its creation... To enumerate just a few... It was recorded in San Francisco (a far cry from the band's Kentucky home) just prior to their embarking on last year's European tour. The drums were borrowed. They only had one cabinet for both the bass and guitar. They were minus a bassist so used a hired gun in the form of Spazz' Chris Dodge. Three of the songs were written in the studio, although because the album is a reflection of a tour set it consists mostly of re-recorded HELLNATION classics, most of which sound more ferocious here than on their original releases. I could go on, but you get the point... this is not your average LP. In a recent interview band kingpin Ken described the project as a "Peel Sessions" of sort, and that description is dead on. Just like many "Peel Sessions" the performance on "Cheerleaders..." has an urgency that grabs you. I might be going a bit far to say this is the best HELLNATION album ever, but then again I might not. It is certainly going to be a favorite.
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