Cancer Bats

Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones

Written by: PP on 02/06/2010 20:07:38

There are some bands in the music industry that will always be faced with the very real problem of how to accurately capture a spectacular amount of live energy and aggression properly on record. Gallows have always suffered from this problem alongside fellow Brits The Ghost Of A Thousand, and Cancer Bats are, in my opinion, another band that rarely comes close to providing us an equivalent adrenaline-spike on record as they do in a small club environment. Their debut album "Birthing The Giant" was pretty good nonetheless, displaying a ferocious, yet straight-forward hardcore spirit that was hailed by fans and critics alike, mowing a pathway to international venues for the band. "Hail Destroyer", in comparison, was a mostly bland and repetitive hardcore/punk album with only a couple of tracks worth writing home about. They say the third album is the make-or-break album, but for Cancer Bats, "Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones" settles somewhere in between, offering a safe and heard-before type of hardcore sound with added ferocity thanks to charismatic vocalist Liam Cormier.

If you had a chance to check out "Hail Destroyer", then welcome to part II of that album, except in slightly improved form in terms of individual tracks. The band still draws heavily from Rock'n'Roll energy in their otherwise simplistic hardcore expression, much like the British bands I mentioned above, and Cormier is still the spotlight of the band with his throat-ripping screams. But also like the previous album, there are too few highlight tracks to make it truly worthwhile for the listener.

Groove-laden "Dead Wrong" is hands down the best song on the album. It has a scream-along chorus and a riff that'll incite circle pits at live shows - offering precisely the sort of energy "Hail Destroyer" was lacking. See "Snake Mountain" for a similar example. "Black Metal Bicycle" is another highlight despite ridiculous lyrics, because it provides the perfect platform for Cormier to scream in the faces of people occupying the front of the stage which creates the intimate atmospheres Cancer Bats are renowned for in small club venues. Luckily, there are more of these on "Bears, Mayors..." than on the previous album.

But despite the improvement in song writing, the album is plagued largely by the same problems as their previous effort. One, there's far too much filler. Way too many songs that just arrive as angry hardcore tracks in your left ear, and go out of the right ear a few minutes later without making an impression. Cutting the album length down to just 30 minutes would've packed a punch, but in its current state, the album overstays its welcome, and feels a little one-dimensional once you reach the final track. Two, for anyone having seen these guys perform live, you're always going to miss the accidental shove, the elbow in the back of your head, the sweat-drenched, stinking atmosphere that characterizes the Cancer Bats experience.

Download: Snake Mountain, Dead Wrong
For the fans of: Johnny Truant, The Ghost Of A Thousand, Gallows, This Is Hell
Listen: Myspace

Release date 13.04.2010
Distort Entertainment

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