After emerging as Canada’s hottest exports in recent years, the rise of Cancer Bats has been nearly unstoppable. After a successful run with While She Sleeps followed by a stellar outing at Reading and Leeds last year, the quartet have returned to the UK once among opting to take things back, and returning to play in smaller venues.
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Joining them is an array of bands that Cancer Bats borrow elements from. First up is Incite. With a dense, thrashy sound, the Phoenix, Arizona quartet quickly set their stall out with drilling bass lines, harsh vocals and rapid guitars. At first they offer very little in terms of variation but if heavy, head banging made thrash is your thing, then Incite have all the right ingredients. An appearance from Cancer Bats’ Liam Cormier hints at more jagged structure with Cormier bringing extra guttural vocals. Nevertheless as their 30 minute set rolls on, Incite show their strong points in the form of Dru Rome’s rapid fret play, Derek Lopez’s destructive drum work, EL’s chugging bass lines and Richie Cavalera’s powerful and domineering roars. Together, they prove to be a monstrous quartet that stick to their thrash metal roots. (3/5)
With a name like Lord Dying you have a rough idea of what to expect, and by no surprise the trio fall into the heavy and sludge metal genre. Early songs keep up the momentum left over from Incite but with added stringent riffs. It’s clear their formula of duelling guitars and clattering drums make for a mighty musical onslaught. With a southern rock tinge to their powerful riffage, Lord Dying prove to be a compelling force and depart before their style becomes repetitive. (3.5/5)
Having recently adopted Nottingham as their hometown via Woking, Palm Reader produced a underrated second LP in ‘Beside The Ones We Love’ last year. This lengthy run with Cancer Bats allows the five-piece to unleash their brand of controlled chaos to more audiences. With scattered and viscous guitars complimenting Josh McEwans’ screams, they quickly show their worth. ‘Beside The Ones We Love’ highlight ‘Stacks’ is delivered with precision as McEwans’ roars reverb throughout Rescue Rooms with spiralling guitars backing him up. Compared to the other supporting bands tonight, Palm Reader show their capability of writing structured and dynamic songs yet retain a consistent heaviness; both musically and lyrically. (3.5/5)
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From the moment the Canadian quartet arrive on stage, you know you’re set for a thrilling 50 minutes. Their hybrid sound of metal, punk, hardcore and doom is part varied and part consistent. ‘True Zero’ and ‘Bricks and Mortar’ deliver a thunderbolt of momentum from the start with energetic vocalist Liam Cormier making his mark with Scott Middleton provide a compelling display on guitar. Throughout the set he shows his musical dominance with tight solos and spiralling riffs.
Tonight’s set sees the band in a transitional yet celebratory mood as they delve into their ever-growing back catalogue. From fan favourite ‘Hail Destroyer’ to ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair’ to ‘Road Sick’, Cormier and company deliver a very favourable collection of songs that sends the Rescue Room into a whirlwind of swinging bodies and banging heads.
The set peaks with their always outstanding take of ‘Sabotage’ before ending the night with ‘Satellites’; anthemic “woah”s, fist pumping tempo, thick bass lines and stellar guitar work.
Whilst their recent studio output may have split opinions, Cancer Bats show they’re still an impressive live force. They take their melting pot of heavy elements and pour out a set that is exciting as the time they first emerged. (4/5)
Words by Sean Reid (@seanreid86).
Photos by Danielle Rose Photography and taken at O2 Academy, Birmingham on 22/01/2016.