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Music Review: Cancer Bats – Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones

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Designed exclusively to shatter your face, the Cancer Bats have emerged with Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones. This mammoth of deafening, throat-shredding intensity is the Canadian band’s third studio album and it will mess up your speakers and panic your pets with its astoundingly thunderous, vociferous battering.

Now a four piece, Cancer Bats prove that they’re in it for the long haul with 14 gut-wrenching cuts of pure hardcore goodness.

The Bats came into being in May of 2004. Vocalist Liam Cormier and guitarist Scott Middleton joined together wanting to form a band that combined the best qualities of their favourite acts and, perhaps coolest of all, they wanted a name that combined an illness and an animal name. Nobody really knows the other combinations the Cancer Bats might have gone with, but I tend to like Syphilis Lions. Fast-forward to 2010 and the band is still pumping out hard-hitting hardcore sure to stir the pits.

Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones is, to say the least, a pretty brutal record. Combative, eviscerating and gut-spillingly cool, this album wastes little time through its 45 minutes of strenuous rock. Even with all the unrelenting punishment, the Cancer Bats still seem to have fun with it all and never come across as glum or pointlessly temperamental. There’s also a slight tinge of stoner rock (“Raised Right”) that helps give the tunes a little more meat.

For the most part, though, Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones is pretty straightforward stuff. Album opener “Sleep This Way” grinds it out with charging, grinding, chunky guitar and exhausting drums. It’s a sign of things to come.

Other cuts, like the aptly-titled “Snake Mountain,” show the band’s tendency to lean away from gaudy displays of technical knack. While there’s no doubt that Middleton’s spiralling, winding guitar is going for the jugular with precision, the track never steps far away from its intentions to rock your face and shatter your skull. The tempo changes are killer, too.

And then there’s “Sabotage.” The Beastie Boys cover is three minutes of insistent glee. It charges out of the box like a bloodied hockey player looking for retribution and digs itself into your ears with smiling, winking eagerness.

Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones is a heart attack of a record, plain and simple. It’s a harsh piece of work that takes unyielding delight in the path of annihilation it leaves behind, solidifying the Cancer Bats as a Canadian hardcore act to keep a close eye on.

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About Jordan Richardson