Cancer Bats have come to destroy
"The Cancer Bats have come to destroy. Fueled by a burning desire to rage harder, play louder and have more fun than any other band." For gods sake, can't the people who write press releases come up with something more original? I think every press release has a sentence echoing the one above. It just creates a tut and a roll of the eyes in the reviewer. At least in Cancer Bats case they have the initial musical punch to back up such a claim.
In an age when the name of your heavy band can be as weedy as 'In Twilights Embrace', 'My Chemical Romance', or 'Taking back Sunday', Cancer Bats really stands out for the simple reason that it's different, not necessarily good but I don't think people will forget such a mantle in quite a hurry. This Toronto 4-piece play a mix of hardcore and southern metal, if Hatebreed and Down happened to be in a transporter malfunction on USS Voyager and fused both bands together then Cancer Bats would probably be the result.
There are some BIG riffs on this album, they're certainly not Down hand-me-downs. Guitarist Scott Middleton seems to have an understanding of what it takes to write a chunky and catchy Sabbath-esque guitar hook. This is evident in the first ten seconds of opener 'Golden Tanks'. It's an up tempo track that slows into a floor-stomping grinding riff that is just...well....fucking brill. The riffs keep coming, 'French Immersion', 'Grenades' and 'Shillelagh' all have some great guitar work. It also helps when the production is excellent. The huge bottom end is emphasised without sacrificing the top end edge, it all helps to make those big ideas sound even bigger and hit home like a brick to the head.
This album does depend on how much you can withstand the idea of hardcore. Vocalist Liam Cormier tends to shout his way through this CD. He hasn't got much idea about melody which gets a little irritating because the music aches for somebody who can get the most out of these tunes. The longer this collection goes on the thinner the ideas get. 'Diamond Mines' and 'Ghost bust that' are instantly forgettable and the urge to keep playing the first half of this disc is sometimes overwhelming.
There are some good tunes on 'Birthing the Giant', a lot of great guitar riffs and a killer production. The hardcore elements are well integrated but only serve to be likable for a couple of song before the stop button is pressed. The vocals are a lot of shouting without any attitude or intensity, it seems like Cormier feels like he must shout rather than deciding whether he should shout. The second half of this disc gets very tiresome as the tracks start to melt together, and the big riffs that helped define the songs in the outset start to dwindle in quality. This is an album by a band who could have a great future. Mixing styles is commendable but I feel they need to go one way the other. Southern Metal or Hardcore? The way it stands at the moment each genre is dragging the other one down.