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'Dead Set On Living'
(Hassle Records)

Phil Kane

phil kane

cancer bast dead set on living

This sounds massive and if you like your rock loud as fuck then Cancer Bats and 'Dead Set On Living' will probably spin your wheels right off. The band mixes the traditional sound of Heavy Metal with the groove of the likes of Down and Pantera. A recent stint doing a Black Sabbath tribute thing may also be responsible for slowing things down a bit giving 'Dead Set On Living' a big bass heavy, dirty, groovy sound that could easily loosen your Granny's two week old faecal plug.

Seemingly re-working their last album, Cancer Bats have gone for the don't-fix-what-ain't-broke approach. Sticking to their tried and tested formula there are no poor tracks, everything being good and solid with ripples of dissonance running throughout giving the album a bit of extra tension.

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So for existing fans, the band's new stuff will have the cosy familiarity of a favourite easy chair albeit with a spring threatening to pop through the stuffing. Proclaiming 2012 to be the 'year of the riff' Toronto's Cancer Bats have unleashed 'Dead Set On Living' to prove the point in no uncertain terms.

What lets the album down is that it all sounds a little samey and comes across as no more than the impotent bluster and blow of an angry youth that is as mad as hell about the unfairness of everything. This seems to be due to the vocals more than anything else as they get tiresomely screamy which is a shame because on the rare occasion when they are done clean they pack a lot more punch.

Front man Liam Cormier roars with righteous rage at life's shortcomings but rather than sounding like some sort of clarion call, it all comes across as no more than the ineffectual ranting of a tiny cog in the huge corporate wheel of life.

As a fully paid up member of the farty army I already know life's a bitch. I know the Yankee dollar screams too loud, I know no one gives a fuck and I know how it feels to have the repo man take my car and for my ma to keep ironing creases in my jeans, I just don't need someone screaming incoherently in my ear about it.

Despite it kicking you in the nuts and battering you around the head, this new album offers nothing particularly new and will probably rely more on the patronage of existing fans. It simply does not have a good enough reason for someone to just take a punt.

'Dead Set On Living' picks up where the last album left off but instead of running onwards and upwards it runs on the spot. Cancer Bats manage to retain their swagger and grunt but for those who have not come across the band before, 'Dead Set On Living' might not be the best way to get acquainted.



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