[18 August 2008]
Toronto’s Cancer Bats are a raging, angry band. Hail Destroyer is their second album, and it combines punk fury with metal precision. There’s none of the sloppy, loose playing associated with most punk and hardcore—this is a tight, cleanly-produced album. Guitarist Scott Middleton also handles the bass on this disc, and he and drummer Mike Peters provide a hard-charging backdrop of down-tuned chords and galloping beats for vocalist Liam Cormier’s furious ranting.
Cancer Bats sound like a hardcore band filtered through the lens of guys who have spent time in heavy metal. There are no metal-core or pop-punk trappings here—no blazing guitar solos, no catchy melodic choruses. It’s just chugging, relentless aggression. And that’s the problem. There is very little variety to be found on Hail Destroyer. Without any riffs or melodies, one song bleeds into another as Cormier shouts about one thing or another in a high-pitched, throat-shredding howl. It’s the perfect soundtrack for getting into the pit and fucking some shit up, maybe, but it’s not good for much else.