Bands like Alexisonfire and Gay For Johnny Depp at least allow scaled down and melodic aspects to their music to ease transitional or reluctant screamo fans into their genre. This is non-stop grinding anger with no pause for a breather and no time to dab your ears to check for a trickle of blood.
Liam Cormier’s snarl is full of character, despite not being the best screamer out there. Unlike some similar bands, you can actually make out the lyrics of the songs. In the bands favour, the lyrics are a satisfying mixture of self-pity and Rage Against The Machine style defiance. Track one, Sleep This Away instantly throws you in at the deep end with guitars set to blugeon and a vocalist seemingly blaming all his life’s problems on you.
This album is all about attitude; that’s punk attitude and not teenage girl ‘I speak my mind’ attitude. Lip pursingly badass palm-muted guitar leading to ringing chords, crashing cymbals and rolling snares and a red-faced singer with wrecked vocal chords; this has the whole package. Unfortunately with this package comes the apparently unavoidable clichés - midway through the album a song of the same name begins with the screaming of ‘we are the undead’. I mean...come on.
The pace of the album keeps the punk aspect alive, it feels like some of the songs are being played in slow-motion which gives off this attitude and puts emphasis on details of the song, particularly the strong drumming.
Darkness Lives shows Tom Morello style pedal effects which is a pleasant break from the persistant and relentless distortion of the electric guitar. The album ends on a powerful cover of Beastie Boy’s Sabotage with defined bass and headbanging satisfaction worthy of Rage’s cover album Renegades.
This is a Download Festival niche band for those with a lifelong dedication to the Misfits logo. For those people, this band provides angry, nasty noise that’s worth checking out. For me this sinks into the myriad of the defined neck-vein and blue in the face genre and provides nothing new. But if you’re not in the mood for thoughtful lyricism and soft subtlety and just want to let it out, let Cancer Bats be of assistance.
Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones by Cancer Bats is available now.