Cancer Bats -
Cambridge Barfly, 16th may
Hardcore - and it's many variants - seems to be reaching new heights
of popularity at the moment, from the huge commercial success of hardcore
punks Gallows, to the critical acclaim of Dillinger Escape Plan's recent
album "Ire Works". While many "hardcore" bands seem
to be forgetting their roots and veering off into commercial screamo
territory, it's reassuring to see these bands making a name for themselves.
Probably the most exciting band to come out of this scene recently is
Cancer Bats, a four-piece Canadian outfit boasting influences from Led
Zeppelin to Black Flag.
While wearing their punk credentials on their sleeve, the musicianship
in this band is truly staggering: throughout the set, the band remained
tight as hell, at times making it difficult to tell whether we were
listening to a CD. Opening with the title track of their new album "Hail
Destroyer" got the somewhat lazy crowd off their arses, with Liam
jumping into the crowd and getting kids to scream down the mic. The
raw, brutal nature of their songs translated perfectly to the tiny venue,
and brought out an up-front, visceral quality that many other bands
would find hard to match.
Probably the best song of the evening was "Sorceress": a brutal,
punked-up slice of thrash, with Scott Middleton's squealing guitar providing
the perfect backing for the kids to go mental. The sheer quality that
Cancer Bats have reached, from getting every song note perfect, to the
copious amounts of energy they put into their show really set them apart
as a band to whom their music is everything. It's a shame that the crowd
weren't as into it as the band themselves were however, but that never
once stopped them from putting on an incendiary performance.