Like any remotely interesting hardcore band these days, CANCER BATS don't play it straight-up. The Canadian punks have a strong southern metal and sometimes sludgy influence, sounding a little like CORROSION OF CONFORMITY if the MIKE DEAN years melded with the PEPPER KEENAN era. Their newest album, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones, is an enjoyable dose of punk-metal that won't make anyone forget CONVERGE or DISFEAR, but can give hope to hardcore followers lamenting the genre's decline.
Cancer Bats set themselves above most hardcore acts musically by virtue of SCOTT MIDDLETON's guitar riffs. The storming thrash progressions of "Trust No One," "Scared to Death" and "Dead Wrong" are hard to resist, and the almost stoner metal seethe of "Sleep This Way" and "Doomed to Fail" keep the album from sliding into predictability. The first single, a solid cover of the BEASTIE BOYS' "Sabotage," plays out like most faithful covers of great songs–good enough for an enjoyable listen, if not for repeated listening as long as the other one still exists. Despite their metal divergences, the band falls victim to some of the usual trappings of modern hardcore, particularly a filler-heavy album and lyrics that read like a sixth grader's notebook (The otherwise excellent "Trust No One" is almost wasted by its clumsy prose, and come on, "Black Metal Bicycle?") But at best, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones shows a promising band with potential to breathe some life into metalcore.
Rating: 2.5 Alasondro Allegrés out of 5