Cancer Bats

Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones

01. Sleep This Away
02. Trust No One
03. Dead Wrong
04. Doom to Fail
05. Black Metal Bicycle
06. We Are the Undead
07. Scared to Death
08. Darkness Lives
09. Snake Mountain
10. Make Amends
11. Fake Gold
12. Drive This Stake
13. Raised Right
14. Sabotage

[Distort | 04/13/10]

I always wondered where Cancer Bats got the idea for their name. What is a cancer bat exactly? Is it a bat made of entirely of cancer? A bat with cancer? Or does it feast on cancer, as its fruity bretheren does on mangoes and pomegranates? Om-nom-nom.

I guess that’s a long-winded way of saying that I don’t quite get Cancer Bats. I guess it follows, them being Canadian and all…ah, I kid with the Canadian gags, but whatever it is, I can’t quite put my finger on it.

I think maybe it’s all to do with the amount of hype I heard about them before I actually gave them a listen. A few friends were going nuts about them, but when I first gave Birthing the Giant a spin, I wasn’t blown away as I expected to be. It was good, but not amazing. Same with Hail Destroyer two years later.

I can’t quite pigeon-hole their sound either, which usually helps me to relate to a band. They have the look and punk feel of a hardcore band, but they’re so damn meaty you want to stick a fork in them. Figuratively, of course. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, as progression is a virtue.

Trouble is, Cancer Bats aren’t really a progressive band. In fact I think they’re pretty standard. Again, this isn’t to their detriment, because they write some damn catchy music; I just wish there was a bit more to it. It’s hard to pick out gems, and whilst there are some – Dead Wrong, Fake Gold and their cover of the Beastie BoysSabotage to name a few – they don’t stand out as much as I want them to, or feel that they should. I guess what I’m trying to say is (gasp, shock, horror) they’re a bit samey. You know when you’re at a show, and there are the songs people go tits for? And then there the ones people know, but couldn’t name if they tried? This is how I feel about much of their material.

But here’s the thing; there isn’t anything wrong with Cancer Bats; I certainly wouldn’t kick them out of bed. I just think that after three albums, the music should be a little more imaginative overall. I really didn’t want this review to sound as negative as it probably does, because I really do like this band, and indeed this album. It’s very well produced; everything is just-so. The songs are pacey and fun. I think I’m just situated firmly outside the hype zone, and for this reason I’m beyond falling in love with Cancer Bats.

Cancer Bats – Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones gets:

3.5/5 – Pretty good.

– CG

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