Cancer Bats

Searching For Zero

Written by: PP on 17/03/2015 22:33:29

Cancer Bats have come a long way since the grating metallic hardcore onslaught of "Hail Destroyer" and its predecessor "Birthing The Giant". Much of their original ferocity has been replaced with a more melodic flavor and more sensible approach to songwriting than just tear it all apart in a devastating manner akin to forcing your body through a man-sized cheesegrater. Already on "Dead Set On Living" three years ago we saw a shift towards a more groovy and southern-fried approach to hardcore, resulting in their most interesting and definitely their catchiest album yet, and in this scribe's mind the first one worth mentioning from a songwriting perspective not revolving around a senseless noise onslaught. That evolution culminates on "Searching For Zero", which effectively sounds like Cancer Bats trying to write "Grey Britain" (Gallows) while introducing an early Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster mindset into songwriting process at the same time. The end result? Their finest record to date and first one where the band takes significant stylistic liberties in experimentation of a new and more varied expression overall.

Now, fans of the uncompromising aggression levels of their early work may disagree with me here, but songs like "Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake", "Satellites" (which sounds like it Alexisonfire was an inspiration) and "True Zero" far outweigh anything the band has written in the past. They inject the songs with boatloads of melody - though without entirely abandoning the fierce screaming style of Liam Cormier - and take a few pages out of the Every Time I Die playbook while they're at it. Not from the organ grinder type of tracks, but the more rock'n'roll oriented material that band has to offer. And boy, does it work. Can the new Cancer Bats tracks on "Searching For Zero" even be mentioned in the same context as words like grating or ferocious? I don't think so. "Beelzebub", for instance, is among the slowest tracks they have written, and takes a grandiose, almost theatrical approach to southern fried hardcore. The keyword here being southern fried because Cancer Bats have really gone all in on the barbecue and smokey flavor in both their guitars and the vocal department. They've always had southern flair in their sound, but never to the extent they are displaying on this album. The purposefully dirty production further helps reinforce the rowdy vibe the record has, despite the tempo not approaching anywhere near the levels of their past output. Granted, "Devil's Blood" races by like a freight train trying to catch up on a late schedule at first, but even here the band pauses for small atmospherics and songwriting feats that their older style never allowed them to fully utilize.

At the same time, Liam's vocals continue to become more decipherable as we first saw on "Dead Set On Living" with less of a ravaging approach doing the band's overall expression much good. Where they sometimes were one dimensional in their sound, the added variety on "Searching For Zero" is a delight to this scribe's ears and suggests the band's isn't done quite yet experimenting with their sound. Here, they are successful and release another solid album that leaves old material in its shadow, even if it's still quite a distance away from the album of the year candidates.

Download: Satellites, Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake
For the fans of: Gallows, Every Time I Die, Maylene & The Sons of Disaster, The Ghost Of A Thousand
Listen: Facebook

Release date 10.03.2015
Metal Blade Records

Related Items | How we score?
comments powered by Disqus


© Copyright MMXXI