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Dre Okorley 04/14/12 10:28 AM

Cancer Bats - Dead Set on Living
Cancer Bats - Dead Set on Living
Record Label: Metal Blade
Release Date: April 16, 2012

Stoner-rock fans always channel their inner whiplash/Black Sabbath muse. While the restless satisfied themselves with cumbersome Dio versus Ozzy debates, Toronto natives Cancer Bats lived out the portmanteau Bat Sabbath in sacrilegious homage. Don't be too fooled by the alter-ego, though, since much of Dead Set on Living borrows a fair share of consistent rock via 2008's Hail Destroyer, devilisms, and rugged Southern rock tailored for hardcore fans. And if that's not enough mixed range, DSOL abbreviated backwards is near wordplay for the sludge popular LSD -– perhaps it's just a coincidence. But certainly Cancer Bats 2012 wants us to know that DSOL crams more than just a rigamortis a la slapstick humor album title.

The choicest opener, “R.A.T.S.”, is just as concerned with storming dynamics and crooked metal riffs as it is its avenger theme. Vocalist Liam Cormier bursts into a bone picking anthem of fierce pledges: “There's a special place in hell for people like you. There's a place in hell for all the shit that you've done. There's a place in hell for every filthy rat.” Although we get showdown vibes similar to that of a kid gone Hulk-smash on faceless bullies, we still don't know what the phrase “R.A.T.S.” actually stands for. Sure, the band gets occasional thrills from cryptic phrases and symbolism; 2010 release Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones combined bizarre personal nicknames and disjointed music, and the streets of London will have a pentagram imprint courtesy of their forthcoming tour promo of the record. It's those quirky antics that make the album's following track, “Brick and Mortar”, a satisfying dose of backcountry rumble, crunching guitars, and feel-good beats. As crude snarls swipe the background spotlight, it's an erratic contrast to the more subdued hardcore pace of "Road Sick”.

Cormier's sassy-mouthed neurosis, flashy riffs that noodle, and deafening snares is DSOL's schtick. Only the production chants louder, even moreso than the quartet's gang vox on “Old Blood” (a number bordering on Every Time I Die's “calmer” personality). This being the band's third foray with the production duo Eric Ratz and Kenny Luong, DSOL proves that three time's a charm. It covers every footstomping, guitar-twirling hook, edging it into the tightest of metal punk frameworks. "Breathe Armageddon" and "Bastards!" capture the most memorable choruses and catchphrases, partly due to Cormier's wayward heathenism and psychedelic guitars. Amidst the album's frills, it lends itself to build on at least one omen-beckoning moment. “The Void” features that dark, shadowy voice whose mission is to damn everyone to hell.

The album isn't absent of bores, but then again, DSOL isn't structured around flowery melodies. Once “Rally The Wicked” reaches the line “falls onto deaf ears” (two seconds in), no better statement could have foreshadowed its hookless, monotone chugging. Even Cormier seems drained of the usual hellraising quips on “New World Alliance”. “Time has come for us to make a change,” he resigns half-emphatically, and the ten remaining seconds rest on the laurels of phantom keyboard effects. Regardless, DSOL speaks the dirty rocker punk kvlt language that could put Pantera and Gallows fans side by side.

Recommended if you LikeAn improved and consistent Cancer Bats; subtle ETID and Gallows; Southern rock

Additional InformationCancer Bats is:

Liam Cormier - vocals
Scott Middleton - guitar
Mike Peters - drums
Jaye R. Schwarzer - bass guitar


spawnofz 04/14/12 12:15 PM

Cannot wait for this album to come out; if it's more in the vein of Hail Destroyer then count me in...not to say I didn't enjoy Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones. That album just felt a little lacking to me.

Dre Okorley 04/14/12 12:28 PM


Originally Posted by spawnofz (Post 106337172)
Cannot wait for this album to come out; if it's more in the vein of Hail Destroyer then count me in...not to say I didn't enjoy Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones. That album just felt a little lacking to me.

Another site compared it to Bears, saying it's practically the same album. You can listen to the stream and make your own comparison: https://www.facebook.com/cancerbats/app_190322544333196

Supernovacaine 04/14/12 12:39 PM

i like this quite a bit - delightfully sludgy

Drew Beringer 04/14/12 12:49 PM

album rules, nice review Dre

brandon_260 04/14/12 04:20 PM

This album is so far beyond Bears. Almost on par with Hail Destroyer, for me at least.

AReiss 04/14/12 04:54 PM

Spot on, Dre. Only point I disagree on: I really like Rally the Wicked.

Deborah Remus 04/14/12 09:48 PM

I like everything they've done so I agree that it's both improved and consistent. I also love how good their album openers always are. "R.A.T.S." is right up there with "Sleep This Away" and "Hail Destroyer" for sure.

jesse_hitz 04/15/12 12:27 AM

It's a great album, It's not quite Hail Destroyer but pretty damn close.

MattyBroxx 04/15/12 12:03 PM

I like what I've heard so far, glad that sludge sound is back

spawnofz 04/15/12 03:33 PM

After listening to the stream I am in love. Pretty sure this will be one of the many CDs that stays in my car all summer

Dre Okorley 04/15/12 06:31 PM


Originally Posted by AReiss (Post 106347332)
Spot on, Dre. Only point I disagree on: I really like Rally the Wicked.

Thanks, and I was kinda waiting for the "But I love Rally the Wicked" response, haha.

deanster321 04/17/12 02:30 AM

On first listen, it seems like they've done a good job of combining the hooks and songwriting of Hail Destroyer with the riffs and general gnarliness of Bears.

cubine 04/21/12 10:14 PM

I've always thought of this band as sort of a poor man's Every Time I Die and thus haven't paid much attention but this album is badass. Really digging it.

njiata603 05/03/12 05:41 AM

Bats rule. This sold really poorly though, I don't know why they can't catch a break in the States.