Cancer Bats are one of those bands that flew under my radar for a really long time, not for any particular reason that springs to mind, they just passed me by. It wasn’t until I saw the band live that I took notice and started paying attention to what they were all about and I’m glad I did..
“Dead Set On Living” is Cancer Bats fourth studio album and the one most likely to break the band in new ways. “Dead Set On Living” is an album born out of an event that affected the band, forcing them to deal with certain things that happened but also appreciate what they have in the process.
‘R.A.T.S’ propels itself out the gates as if it’s being chased by hellhounds, with a gut wrenching refrain of ‘There’s a special place in hell for people like you.’ Liam Cormier is clearly working something out of his system right from the get go, it is a tantalising taste of things to come that reels you in and then punches you in the face before sending you on your way.
“Dead Set On Living” is an album driven by emotions and powered by big songs, it contains some of the most hook heavy groove laden songs the band has ever turned its hand to, whilst at the same time remaining distinctly Cancer Bats, even an appearance of Dez Fafara (DevilDriver) and Kate Cooper (An Horse) on the track ‘Bastards’ adds some diversity without taking anything away from what the band is trying to accomplish.
The first single ‘Old Blood’ gives fans of the band something familiar to cling to, showing that even though the band is evolving they still know who they are. ‘Road Sick’ also tells of the band’s love/hate attraction to a life on tour and serves as a testament to the sacrifices and rewards of being in a band.
On the flipside you have ‘Breathe Armageddon’ with its muscular riffing that is hard hitting and ‘designed for a mosh pit’ beatdown, in a manner that only Cancer Bats can provide the audience with. Make no mistake, if the band drops this during their 6 show, 5 venue pentagram tour in London in April the place will go down in a bombardment of flailing limbs and broken bones.
Cancer Bats have proved time and time again over the course of their career that they are the real deal, they lay their influences, hearts and everything else on the line bare for the world to see, “Dead Set On Living” further forces this point with songs that shoot straight from the hip to hearts and minds of the world.
With this album Cancer Bats have taken everything that made them such an explosive band, distilled it, refined it and have in turn moulded that into the best album of their career, showing signs of growth and maturity whilst maintaining their snotty punk attitude. I wouldn’t surprise to see “Dead Set On Living” at the top of many people’s albums of 2012 list.