Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Cancer Bats
Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones

I saw Cancer Bats live at the Forum in Tunbridge Wells. They were intense. Brutal. Explosive. They turned that tiny, ex-public toilet stage into a miniature performance space for ants – it would have to have been at least three times bigger! So here they are in 2010, unleashing their third wave of dark, cynical, punk-rock fury. But, perhaps even Cancer Bats have seen the light at the end of the tunnel, showing off a sense of humour and a dash of hope with “Black Metal Bicycle.”

“Some people call me a nihilist, say I don’t believe in a thing. I know that can’t be true, ‘cos baby I believe in you.”

I love Liam Cormier’s voice. There’s nothing stereotypically “hardcore” about it. Instead, he alternates from angry-as-fuck metal screams, to hopeless Kurt Cobain growls and hard-hitting punk-rock fits of fury. And the best part is you can always hear what the dude’s singing, which gives his throat-squelching extra punch – because his lyrics are as intense and passionate as his delivery.

“My mother raised me as best as she could but I know I am my father’s son.” Some vocalists, everything they sing sounds made up. Unbelievable. An amalgam of TV shows, movies, other songs and stories they heard or read about – what you’re supposed to sing for that specific genre. Not Cancer Bats. Every song’s an experience. They’re knee-deep in this shit.

Burly, pitch-squealing guitarist Scott Middleton’s 100% rock ‘n roll. His riffs are like claws, bone crunching and neat to an almost obsessive-compulsive degree. The dude runs a tight ship, every second of every song sounds as well-composed, well-thought out and lung-rupturing as the second before – during the recording, I can imagine him losing sleep over his tone, an out of place chord or a riff he’s not digging.

There’s an unrelenting urgency to Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones – it’s heavy! Drummer Mark Peters makes sure that the action’s non-stop. And the combination of flavours – Cormier, Middleton, Peters and bassist Jaye Schwarzer – is intoxicatingly sobering. It's like being submerged. The songs are short, to the point and packed with added replay value. And their brutal assault on Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” is a trip.

Cancer Bats on MySpace
Official website
Order Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones from
Distort Records

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