Cancer Bats

Hail Destroyer

Written by: PP on 14/06/2008 14:32:20

Question: What do Toronto, Ontaria based Cancer Bats and UK based Gallows have in common? Answer: Both are among the most relentless, craziest fucking bands when it comes to a live environment, especially in small, intimate venues without a barrier between the band and the crowd. What else? Both bands have written a bunch of decent songs that are amplified in quality when attached to their manic live shows, but struggle to find the same energy and devotion in the studio, and thus fail to translate that greatness onto record. Welcome to Cancer Bats\' sophomore album \"Hail Destroyer\".

It\'s not that \"Hail Destroyer\" doesn\'t have good songs, because it\'s filled with those. The record is in your face all the time with its curvy guitars and Liam Corvier\'s thick, passionate scream. They just don\'t sound as convincing as they do live. The songs are short and are packed with an intense punch, but through the 38 or so minutes that the album lasts, they vary very little from each other, causing one to feel like being in the middle of a massive breakdown for the duration of the record.

The riffs range between old school hardcore (\"Smiling Politely\") and modern three-chord hardcore punk (\"Pray For Darkness\"), but rarely enter the catchy zone at all. This is all good in a live show when all you want from the band is to crush everyone around them by jumping into the crowd and starting their own circle pit even while playing their instruments. But on record, especially when you\'re listening to it on headphones, you get the vibe that the band is aggressive just for the sake of being REALLY aggressive. In other words, they sacrifice too much song-writing capability in favor of pure moshpit indulging hardcore. A few more catchy choruses definitely wouldn\'t hurt Cancer Bats or their credibility.

That\'s a shame, because the band makes it clear that they\'re able to write Comeback Kid-esque layered, catchy music straight from the beginning. The opening title track\'s \"Hail destroyeeeeeeer\" screams stick to your mind like glue together with the medium-paced chord assault. \"Harem Of Scorpions\" also demonstrates how breakneck pace old school hardcore with a bit of finger-tapping can work nicely on a studio record (having Rise Against vocalist Tim McIllrath on guest vocals doesn\'t hurt either). With enough listens, most of the songs start to display similar characteristics, things that\'ll draw you back to the record (also check out Alexisonfire back up vocalist Wade on \"Deathsmarch\"). Like I said earlier, it\'s not that Cancer Bats write bad songs. It\'s just that the overwhelming amount of aggression they display during their live shows works great in this environment, but not so great on record. In the end, I\'m much more inclined to seeing these guys live than I am to play their record. Contemplating the rapid decline in CD sales, that might end up actually helping the band.

Download: Hail Destroyer, Harem Of Scorpions, Pray For Darkness
For the fans of: Gallows, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Comeback Kid
Listen: Myspace

Release date 22.04.2008
Distort Records

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