A return to the hardcore pits

Unsurprisingly, surprise releases take us all by, well, surprise. I don’t like this modern tactic of releasing music as it doesn’t allow for the build up of anticipation and as such treats the output as just another modern passing fad. 

That being said I was happily surprised when this release was sitting waiting for my attention a couple of weeks ago, and is a welcome return to the bands hard and fast edge.

Feeling as if there is no time to be lost, opener ‘Gatekeeper’ comes straight for the throat with the band’s stomp well in step and vocalist Liam Cormier in full swivel eyed vocal power.  Following up quickly, ‘Brightest Day’ and ‘We Run Free’ are more of the same southern rock straddling that the band have become known for with their unique and aggressive twist.

The opening tracks are a nice reminder of how Cancer Bats have carried themselves, teetering on the edge of both the hardcore and metal scenes, but they are merely pointers for when the band take on their hardcore selves beginning on ‘Space and Time’ and running the last 25 minutes of the album out the band dig in like a tick that refuses to be moved.

The aggression that got the band first noticed on their debut album Birthing the Giant and follow up Hail, Destroyer is on full display, and does not abate at all. From the soon to be classic one-two of ‘Headwound’ and  ‘Fear Will Kill Us All’ all the way to the last track ‘Winterpeg’ that has Chris Hannah of Propagandhi turning in a solid clean vocal performance to counter Liam’s rasp, there is nothing on the album that doesn’t batter your ears or bring a smile to the listener’s face. Cancer Bats just have an uncanny knack of being heavy while also bringing a smile to your face.

This is what fans asked for after the rockier and murky production of their last album. Here, Cancer Bats are out to prove that they can do what pleases them, and this time that just happens to be a return to the hardcore pits  they first emerged from.


  1. Gatekeeper
  2. Brightest Day
  3. We Run Free
  4. Space And Time
  5. Bed Of Nails
  6. Headwound
  7. Fear Will Kill Us All
  8. Rattle Snake
  9. Can’t Sleep
  10. Heads Will Roll
  11. Winterpeg