BIG Riffs. Poor Production.

Cancer Bats have always been pretty damn consistent on the album front - whilst they do excel in the live environment, the development and variation across their discography has always remained impressive. Their last record Dead Set On Living seen the band bring in more of the big riffs and stripping down the more hardcore element to their sound. With Searching For Zero they’ve gone even further with it, as each track just oozes riff after riff. A key aspect to this album which had fans excited as soon as it was announced was the fact that Ross Robinson was being brought on board to produce. His track record is formidable (even if most of it was some years ago now), but unfortunately here you’ll be two or three songs in and you’ll honestly begin to wonder whether you’re listening to the demos by accident.

The production is shoddy to the point where it is difficult to believe that once it was all said and done they all actually sat there and agreed that this was the best it could sound. The reason why this becomes such a pressing issue is the fact that beneath the poor production, this is some of the most interesting material Cancer Bats have ever created. They’ve not held back with exploring new avenues and some of the riffs are absolutely huge especially on tracks like Cursed With A Conscience and Buds which both have this excellent Black Sabbath-esque Doom vibe. Of course, as ever, the band also show that they’re still able to deliver a flurry of chaos as Devil’s Blood hits you like a true Cancer Bats smack in the mouth.

Ross Robinson will always be famous for getting the likes of Slipknot to reach their dark and aggressive edge in their early days, so if you were expecting a similar kind of effect here you’ll be left disappointed. Perhaps Cancer Bats are further down in their career to allow Ross Robinson to truly help shine them in the same kind of light, but if the idea was to fabricate a ‘raw’ feel to it then they were alarmingly off the mark. This album is a grower though. If you’re struggling with it after the first couple of listens, come back to it a week later and it’s likely that you’ll feel differently. There is just something about Cancer Bats that makes them such an infectious listen, and with Searching For Zero, even with the poor production, it is no different. There is absolutely no doubt that these tracks will really come to life once they get the chance to smash them out on tour, and with those co-headline shows with While She Sleeps coming up there’s no better opportunity than to see so for yourself.