Oh yes, Cancer Bats are back to save us from ourselves. Bringing us a second album of their brilliant hardcore and as you would expect “Hail Destroyer” rocks really, really hard. All the heavy riffs with both metal and punk influences in the blend are still in evidence but this album takes the band’s sound to a new level, with more melodies and more complex tunes than “Birthing The Giant”, thankfully still with the same level of serious riffage though.
While they retain their hardcore core intact there is a definite progression here; tracks like ‘Deathsmarch’ bring out the punk edge in their sound with a slower more obviously structured groove and gang vocals, but as always the huge sounding guitars power along behind it all, on a different note, ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair’ shows off their slow sexy side with a stoner rock rhythm that you can’t help shaking your arse to and of course they still have all out hardcore moments like ‘Harem Of Scorpions’, which is a phenomenal tune, the super heavy ‘Smiling Politely’ and ‘Pray For Darkness’ which moves at a stupidly fast pace and at one minute thirty leaves you gagging for more.
The real differences between this album and their debut are really just in the details; “Hail Destroyer” is slightly more polished and nuanced than the all out ear shredding that was BTG. Don’t worry though, in essentials they remain very much the same, this is a record that sounds more mature and finessed certainly, but not at the expense of the band losing their souls, they still rock just as hard and play as if it was their last time.
One of the best things about Cancer Bats is their ability to slay you with noise but still turn out a danceable, catchy tune to go with the riffs. “Hail Destroyer” continues this tradition. This time round though the record is even more well rounded and cohesive, the riffs are less obviously metal, they've mixed things up with more complex and inventive hooks and chords, and they rely less on the straight forward chugga noise and string bends that were spattered at regular intervals throughout the last record.
The result of all this subtle change is a more complete package, if you didn't think they could improve on the raw energy and brilliant tunes of the last album you will have to eat your words, as we have. “Hail Destroyer” is a brilliant sophomore album, Cancer Bats seem unstoppable and there’s no sign of them slowing down at all.