Review – Cancer Bats

Album: The Spark That Moves
Release Date: April 20, 2018
Gener: “With a name like Cancer Bats, it has to be good!” an advertising campaign Mason Adams never, but should have, voiced.

One Line Review:  Toronto-based Cancer Bats breaks major labels’ chains, in long-haired metal inspired Samson style, using bombastic sonic mana with the surprise self-worldwide release of their intimidatingly impressive, and aptly named new album, The Spark that Moves.

Full Review: If you want something done right, you should do it yourself.

When it comes to art, whether it be sonic, visual, or performance, this over-used cliché is doubly true, to use another over-used cliché.  Business owners want employees who “play by the rules” while life coaches encourage “following your own path” to one day be a big enough success to make other people “pay their dues.” This conceptual hierarchy, and the idea of accomplishing a goal by creating a project or product as “proof” of one’s worth trough decisive action in propelling success, is one that business pioneers,  life affirmers, and devastatingly motivated entrepreneurs, have in common.

After “playing by the rules” and “paying their dues”, Cancer Bats are fully prepared to “follow their own path,” including releasing a surprise new album.   Business pioneers, life affirmers, and devastatingly motivated entrepreneurs beware!

Over twelve years of circumventing the globe, creating a DIY tour ethic, and building an international fan base, Cancer Bats are self-releasing their sixth studio album worldwide The Spark that Moves, a sonic firestorm throwing molten rock on the unsuspecting, soon to be smouldering, masses.

Cancer Bat bandmates Liam Cormier (vocals), Scott Middleton (guitar), Jaye Schwarzer (bass) and Mike Peters (drums) are the performance and recorded equivalent of the apocalyptic four-headed beast of Babylon rising out of the ocean bringing with it the imminent destruction of music civilization enslaving the ears of all who listen.

Reaching their fans through energetic live shows and tightly performed tracks, Cancer Bats pride themselves on creating more than a fan base but a community, a legion, nay an army (too far?) of enthusiast who have transcended from fandom into friendom.  In the words of singer Liam Cormier “From all the years of touring, we know half of the room we play to by name, and that’s every night in every country.  I can’t wait to put the record, we release ourselves, in all of my friends’ hands when we go and see them around the world.”

And what happy hands they will be!

What Cancer Bats brilliantly create is a completely modern, fresh, heavy sounding record combined with technical virtuosity and nods to their musical influences without losing control of their over-all sound seamlessly creating an amazing auditory hybrid of styles, rhythms and melodies while retaining their group personality and style.

The Spark That Moves kicks off with “Gatekeeper,” Dennis Lyxzén fronting Pantera sharing the stage with Black Label Society, relentless, raging, and rocking.  “Bed of Nails” is the Foo Fighters song they wish they would have written for the Speed Channel’s demolition derby coverage, while “Space and Time” is the Alice Cooper opening for Rob Zombie track, with Ian Blurton and Dave Mustaine assisting on guitar duties, and “Headwound” could be placed on the non-existent German bare-knuckle boxing / MMA mockumentary Schadenfreude.

Musically, there are elements of thrash, metal (modern and classic), hardcore, punk, post-punk and Southern rock with unrelenting energy and melodic variations.  Vocally, Cormier switches from a hardcore scream to an effected hard rock vocal sound offering tonal differences often lacking in thrash / post-punk influenced records.

As a Fair Warning, every once and awhile, I hear a touch (just a touch mind you) of Diver Down or Ladies and Children First, era Van Halen.  Why?  Not completely sure, but I do…

Random misguided David Lee Roth references aside, Cancer Bats’ The Spark That Moves is a musical, technical, and energetic tour de force for music fans who “love it louder” than KISS.

Cancer Bats new record The Spark That Moves is out now through Bat Skull Records / New Damage Records available everywhere music is physically / digitally purchased, downloaded, or playlisted.  

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