Whoa, the CANCER BATS
are the blokes (that’s an English term, right?) that recently played six London shows in one day. You ask: Why on earth would they do that? Well, if you connected the venues on a map, it created a huge pentagram over London. Jack the Ripper would be proud!
But, enough about that, let’s talk about their new album instead. “Dead Set on Living”
is made up of 11 tracks, almost 38 jagged minutes of Metal mixed with Punk mixed with Hardcore mixed with Hard Rock. That sounds mean and nasty, like an album that would stumble onto your front porch drunk and piss on the potted petunias while French kissing your younger sister. And, at times, it’s just that mean. Other times, not so much.
Mid-paced opener “R.A.T.S.”
is four minutes long. Snotty and deliberate, crunchy and loud, the track moves along steadily until a drum breakdown at the two minute mark. The drum section lasts about 45 seconds, and it’s followed by a 30 second bouncy breakdown. Then the song closes with a final chorus. “Road Sick”
starts off speedy, like the road-burning punker I’ve been waiting for. Sadly, it slows a bit before kicking into a traditional rock tempo. Balls-out badness comes and goes here, but the song itself actually ends up being kind of melancholy.
Title track “Dead Set On Living”
appears to be an autobiographical tale of poor choices and poorer health. The lyrics actually offer some interesting insights, and the rolling post-chorus is head-bobbingly good. “The Void”
is the slowest track on the album, and surprisingly one of my favorites. The main riff is thick and burly, and Cormier
’s throaty vocals end up being a good match. A catchy little song it is.
The second half of the album features a couple of short burners. “Old Blood”
is a rude track that never really lets up. Momentum is key as the drums push the song along, and the added hand claps are a neat little twist. “Bastards”
may be the CANCER BATS
at their best. Potent and pushy, this compact song features a sing-along chorus that most radio-metal fans would find very appealing. Even the female vocals during the interlude section work … cheers!
Closer “New Alliance”
features a catchy riff, and the song acts like a rallying cry for the band and their fans. Much like JUDAS PRIEST’s “United”
, the catchy feel and anti-authoritarian vibe are sure to make the song a live-set staple.
I’m a little torn about this release. At times I felt the band were holding back some their punk-based fury for the sake of listenability, possibly in hopes of breaking to a bigger audience. While I can’t blame a band for trying to take a step forward, I still found myself wishing more of the tracks had gone straight for my jugular.