Overall Score: 8/10 Songwriting: 8/10 Vocals: 7/10 Lyrics: 8/10 Pros: Punk, Heavy, Moshable Cons: Sometimes a break is needed from Cormier's vocal style
CANCER BATS have been causing a stir amongst fans of heavier, punk-inspired music since their inception in 2004. Their live shows have always been an absolute treat to be present for, but things looked shaky during the pandemic, when founding guitarist Scott Middleton announced he was leaving the band to focus more on the studio based side of music, looking to develop his production skills, as well as focus on health and family.
So, where does this leave Liam Cormier (vocals) Mike Peters (drums) and Jaye R. Schwarzer (bass) in 2022? Well it seems it leaves them recruiting touring guitarists and heading into the studio to record their seventh full-length album Psychic Jailbreak, a brilliant celebration of everything that made everyone love the band in the first place.
Radiate launches straight out of the gate and is guaranteed to incite pits all over the globe, even if the verse does sound rather a lot like METALLICA‘s scrapped song Temptation. The Hoof is as punk as they come, before settling into a full groove for the chorus. It’s the ode to touring that is Lonely Bong that really makes us pay attention, especially with the references to venues in the second verse.
Hammering On is probably the closest thing to a ballad CANCER BATS will ever record, which simply means Cormier doesn’t sound quite as angry and features a rather surprising appearance by folk singer BROOKLYN DORAN on backing vocals. It’s easy at this juncture to wonder what Psychic Jailbreak would have sounded like with Middleton on guitar rather than Schwarzer, as so far, it’s hard to notice anything really missing from the band. It seems the remaining members managed to keep hold of that bottle of lightning.
Crocodiles and Shadow Of Mercury are more of the expected CANCER BATS brand of hardcore punk and Keep on Breathing perhaps even more so, with the singalong chorus of “keep on breathing/ don’t let the bastards win”.
Pressure Mind sees the band add a chug to their musical arsenal before unleashing all holy hell again, while Rollin Threes gives Peters a chance to flex his talents with some pretty fast consistent drumming that he is either dreading or relishing playing live.
Finally, the title track is a fine example of saving the best til last as the song insists on melting all faces in earshot and proving that CANCER BATS are capable of releasing some of the finest 37 mins of music most people could hear.
Psychic Jailbreak is available now via Bat Skull Records/New Damage Records
For more information on CANCER BATS, like their official page on Facebook.