Album Review: Cancer Bats - 'Dead Set On Living'

20 April 2012 | 11:42 am | Staff Writer
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One of Canada's most beloved hardcore bands, Cancer Bats, are back with their fourth studio album, 'Dead Set On Living.' The reason why Cancer Bats are so well received is their combination of different genres into the one sound. Their last record, 2010's 'Bears, Mayors, Scripts & Bones,' is a great example of the bands tendency to mush together, punk, hardcore, metal and southern, stoner, sludge rock. On the new record, all of these elements are still present, however with less mush, generally, if a song starts out as a punk song, it remains that way until the end with the next song doing the same thing but with say, sludge rock.

Opening track R.A.T.S is an immediate stand out thanks to its sexy and groovy opening riff, the laid back drums and heavy bass line pave the way for chugging guitars, which aren't necessarily "heavy," and Liam Cormier's "Dennis Lyxzen" like screams. As the chorus explodes and Cormier screams "There's a special place in hell for people like you" you know that you are in for another dark ride that will probably rip your head off.

Second track Bricks And Mortar takes a turn towards southern style trucker rock with verses made especially for serious head-banging. The guitar riffs in these first two tracks alone are wicked enough to destroy your brain but the fact that they never let up the whole way through the record is deliciously enjoyable.

The straight forward punk moments of the album seem a little lacking, such as Road Sick, which features great aggressive chorus lines but is a far cry from its follower Breathe Armageddon, a dynamically powerful southern rock gem. Another album stand-out is the title track which is a relentless assault from start to end, Mike Peters pounding drums are mainly responsible for this with slight breaks every now and then for piercing guitars.

The first single released from the record, Old Blood, is one of the most energetic moments on the album taking the hardcore route before things become a bit more metal on Drunken Physics. The album ends with a guest vocal appearance from Devildriver's Dez Farfara on the thrash metal number Bastards, and the gloomy closer New World Alliance.

The interesting thing about Cancer Bats insistence on attempting this range of genres is that there isn't a single one that they don't do well. The fact that they have chosen to keep each style a little more separate from the others this time round is actually a good thing in a way, and makes 'Dead Set On Living' one of their finest releases.

1. R.A.T.S
2. Bricks And Mortar
3. Road Sick
4. Breathe Armageddon
5. Dead Set On Living
6. The Void
7. Old Blood
8. Drunken Physics
9. Bastards
10. Rally The Wicked
11. New World Alliance