Cancer Bats – Dead Set On Living: Album Review

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I hate to typecast (and don’t take offence to this) but when many people think of Canada they think of drunken ice hockey fanatics and people with accents who end words with “eh” (well at least they do in my mind), it’s easy to forget that hardcore punk-rockers Cancer Bats are from Canada and have been absolutely killing it since debuting their first full-length Birthing The Giant in 2006. Hail Destroyer is the darling of Cancer Bats career, the one album that fans keep coming back to and comparing all material against, a masterpiece of an album that to this day you can still be amazed by. How does Dead Set On Living due out April 17th stack up against the great back catalogue of Cancer Bats music?

Dead Set on Living sees Cancer Bats taking their sound to new heights, a serious contender to Hail Destroyer and definitely one of the best records to ever come out of the Cancer Bats camp. Opening with stadium-rock like number ‘R.A.T.S” ominous guitar feedback that builds up but sadly no lasers or smoke machines, which sees vocalist Liam Cormier screaming “rats!” a song that will immediately reach out to fans of earlier Cancer Bats material and even features guest vocals from Sacrifice’s Rob Urbinati. This track sets the bar very high for the rest of the album, my expectations at this point are quite high (not that they weren’t already).

Quite possibly the catchiest track on the record, ‘Road Sick‘ sees the guys throwing us a curve-ball. An upbeat punk-esque song that is unlike the first couple of songs heard before it. Infectiously catchy, crunchy power chords, prominent focus on lyrics and simple energetic drum-work. This is the kind of song you can’t help but smash your steering wheel too while you’re driving, extremely catchy and well-written. Another contender for catchiest song on the record is, ‘Drunken Physics‘ which features a foot-stomping bridge that I have no doubt in my mind will send the audience into a frenzy when played live and be responsible for some serious floor damage.

The production deserves a special mention not only for the fact that it sounds unlike any other rock/punk record being released today, but the fact that producers Eric Ratz, Kenny Luong have done such an amazing job taking Cancer Bats to the next level capturing every single aspect perfectly whilst getting the kinds of sounds out of Liam’s throat, Scott Middleton’s guitar, Mike Peters drum-kit and Jaye R. Schwarzer’s bass guitar we’ve never heard before. In-fact in true 90’s punk style, you can actually hear every the bass guitar instead of it being drowned out during the production/mixing stage. These are the kinds of anti-status quo sounds that no other band has the balls to try.

The Cancer Bats have proven for the last 6 years that they are dead set on releasing awesome music. The guys have taken something that wasn’t broken, in true punk style smashed it to pieces, slowly pieced it back together piece by piece and created something that easily stands beside if not above everything else they’ve ever released. Dead Set On Living is a serious contender for album of the year on everyone’s list, take note everyone else. Cancer Bats have just opened up a musical Pandora’s box on your asses.

Ps. I forgive you for releasing Simple Plan and Justin Bieber into the world, Canada.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.