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Cancer Bats - Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Thursday, April 8, 2010 @ 11:38 AM


(Good Fight Music)

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If you're insane enough to launch a new label in this day and age, you could do a lot worse than having Toronto's Cancer Bats - a band that straddle the fence between hardcore, hard rock and metal with surprisingly deft balance - lead things off.

In Cancer Bats, the folks at Good Fight Music - who formerly were partners at Ferret Music, home at one time or another to Killswitch Engage, In Flames and Chimaira, and who's Good Fight Management division currently handles Behemoth, Cannibal Corpse, Children of Bodom, Job For a Cowboy, etc. - get a chance to kill a few birds with one sonic stone while at the same time avoiding just jumping on the whatever-core train of trendiness.

Sure they introduce Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones, the quartet's third album, with a time-honored cop out - the cover version, in this case The Beastie Boys "Sabotage" - for maximum exposure, but it's a roughshod, rollicking take that beats back any hint of hip-hop with its wall of ragged guitar and frontman Liam Cormier's clenched teeth bellow. The rest of the Bears delivers much more of the same - only without the familiar ring.

A bunch of scruffy beardos - save for Cormier - Cancer Bats make music that pretty much matches their unkempt visage. They take catchy, crunching hard rock hooks, play them with the abandon of an old-school hardcore band - mercifully omitting the rote breakdowns and bullyboy belligerence - and, in Cormier, boast a vocalist with the iron-lunged intensity of Lamb of God's Randy Blythe who similarly seems to find no reason to clean things even when the tempos ebb - as on "Raised Right" - or more melody emerges - like "Drive This Stake" or "Darkness." They're like Canada's answer to Motorhead, only without the warts.

It's actually refreshing to hear something as blissfully raw, unbridled and honest as Bears - which bucks just about every convention of what's popular these days. Kudos to the fellas for resisting the lure of Autotune, scream-and-sing vocal gymnastics and all the other trickeration that has become so common and just rocking the fuck out.

Tracks like "Dead Wrong," the swaggering "Scared To Death" or the raging "Snake Mountain" and "Fake Gold" may be ugly and abrasive, but they'll stick with you a hell of a lot longer than just about any flavor of the week - and probably kick your ass a lot farther as well.

* * * * (four out of five stars)

Purchase your copy of Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones now in the KNAC.COM More Store. Click here.


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