|Cancer Bats are a hardcore punk band from Toronto, Ontario, Canada that formed in 2004. They have released four studio albums and six extended plays. The band is composed of vocalist Liam Cormier, guitarist Scott Middleton, drummer Mike Peters and bassist Jaye R. Schwarzer. Cancer Bats take a wide variety of influences from heavy metal sub-genres and fuse them into hardcore punk and punk rock. Including elements of sludge metal, and southern rock. The band has also been compared to metalcore bands of the 1990s like Converge and Hatebreed.
Cancer Bats originated in May of 2004 with singer Liam Cormier and guitarist Scott Middleton, former member of Toronto, Canada metal band At The Mercy Of Inspiration. The two wanted to form a project that combined their favorite parts of bands like Refused, Black Flag, Led Zeppelin and Down, among others. The lineup was rounded out with the addition of Andrew McCracken on bass and Joel Bath on drums. The four-piece wrote and recorded songs for a demo self-released in January of 2005.
Soon after, Mike Peters replaced Bath on the drums, and the band began playing shows throughout southern Ontario, playing live shows with bands like Every Time I Die, NORA, Alexisonfire, Haste the Day, It Dies Today, Bane, Comeback Kid, Buried Inside, Attack in Black, Misery Signals and This Is Hell.
They've birthed a grimy hardcore giant and hailed a more metal-centric destroyer, but in 2010, Cancer Bats are dropping their heaviest, deadliest, and most brutal offering to date with Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones. Its title derived from the nicknames of each of the four Bats - drummer Mike Peters, guitarist Scott Middleton, vocalist Liam Cormier, and bassist Jaye Schwarzer, respectively - this record represents the full emergence of the band's purest and truest sound. With 2006's Birthing The Giant and 2008's Hail Destroyer, the Bats were writing as a trio and enlisting the help of a touring bassist for live dates, whereas here and now, the Cancer Bats machine is a strong, stable unit comprised of four steady pieces.
That's not to say their earlier albums were anything but blistering collections of balls-out rock, because, as anyone who's shared some blood, sweat, or beers at a Bats show will attest, that sure as hell isn't the case. Hail Destroyer was the album that found the band coming into its own, and as Cormier explains, they've used it as a jump-off point for further refinement. "We're really happy with what we did there," he shares, "and used it as a blueprint for what was next." What was next was a lineup forged in fire coming together and making an album representative of what Cancer Bats do best. Says Cormier directly: "This record is truly the four of us, and we're totally fucking stoked on it - top to bottom."
Like its two predecessors, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones emerged from Toronto's renowned Vespa Studios. While they've engineered all three, the duo of Kenny Luong and Eric Ratz first treaded the waters of production on Hail Destroyer. The pair, like their brethren in the Bats, has since come into their own as a unit, allowing both parties to confidently converge with this latest release - the peak of the partnership so far. The album shows a sharpening of the band's musical blades - a tighter rhythm section, a gnarlier teeth - grinding guitar tone, and a vocal performance that truly encapsulates the passion Cormier brings to the stage. "This is definitely the best representation of our live sound," says the singer proudly, also noting that the record benefited from plenty of pre-production, and subsequent care and attention to even the most minute of details. "We made sure that all of the parts were properly fused together, and that every small section was the
way it should be."
This is more than evident on tracks like the single "Dead Wrong," a blistering taste of brutality with a vocal performance capable of commanding anyone within earshot. Similarly, the road-tested "Scared To Death," with a dirty, driving drum beat and drastic dynamics practically reaches out of the stereo and forces heads to bang. What's more, Bats haven't lost their ability to empower and encourage listeners through their lyrical content. Indeed, this is the Bats at their best, with plenty of ferocity and fire.
"We just wanted to spice up our set list last summer, but the cover kept going down so well that we thought, 'Maybe we should record this…'" explains Cormier about the appearance of the Beastie Boys' classic "Sabotage" on the album. "The recording went so well that we thought we'd shoot a video for it. That went so well that someone suggested we put it on the record," and after a hint of hesitation, the rest was history. The track is as much fun as it was on the Beasties' Ill Communication, though in true Bats fashion is even more, well, beastly and blazing.
And blazing is the term that best describes the current incarnation of Cancer Bats. Since Hail Destroyer, they've charred the pages of Kerrang!, Alternative Press, NME, Exclaim!, and countless other top-tier publications. They've ignited the concert going kindling from stages at SXSW, Taste Of Chaos, Download Festival, Edgefest, Leeds, and Reading, and alongside heavyweights like Rise Against, Billy Talent, Alexisonfire, Bring Me The Horizon, and Bullet For My Valentine Still, the ultimate goal is just to share their music with people that are passionate about it.
"I'd just love for everyone to be able to hear this thing," states Cormier about the band's latest. It's definitely the Cancer Bats, so if you weren't a fan before, Cormier doesn't see this one pulling you to the dark side. Simply stated: "If you hate our band, you'll hate this record." Luckily for ravenous Bats fans, though, the inversion is also true, meaning many will be frothing at the mouth in anticipation.
Two-time JUNO-nominated CANCER BATS will release their fourth full-length album Dead Set On Living, on April 24, 2012 via Metal Blade Records in North America. Once again utilizing the legendary Vespa Studios and producers Eric Ratz and Kenny Luong, Dead Set On Living brings yet another dimension to the Bats' menacing style of thrash-tinged hardcore rock. The brand new video for the first single, Old Blood, can be seen now on metalblade.com/cancerbats. Pre-orders will be coming soon!
"Were so stoked to be back in the Metal Blade family! We got to know so many amazing people at the label when we were a part of Black Market Activities and now it's so rad that were part of the Metal Blade Roster! So many awesome people work at the label and they put out so many sweet bands, I couldn't me more stoked" - Liam Joseph Cormier Cancer Bats
Cormier adds: "We really strived for that raw, off-the-floor vibe this time around, it's really the bridge between our live show and what we put on record."
Tracks like "R.A.T.S." (Featuring guest vocals from Rob Urbinati of Sacrifice) and "The Void" are laced with the gritty, sludgy groove that first emerged on cuts from 2008′s Hail Destroyer, while the blistering first single "Old Blood" roars with the riot-inducing speed and aggression so familiar to the band's fans. The blazing "Bastards!" also features vocal boosts from DevilDriver's Dez Fafara and An Horse's Kate Cooper. "We've been very lucky to experiment as much as we have," Cormier offers, crediting the band's loyal following for their fortune. "I love that we can have thrash songs, hardcore songs, and the more Queens of the Stone Age or Kyuss kind of groove-based tunes."
Thematically, the album offers a strong focus on the bilateral relationship of dark and light, destruction and construction, life and death. The title track, for example, refers to a close friend of the band who ended up in the hospital in serious condition; only to have the experience cement his will to survive. "Road Sick," as the title may imply, finds Cormier struggling with the hardships that come with a career spent on the road. "Our lives are all about touring, but that song is more universal," Cormier reveals. "It's really for anyone away from their loved ones, dealing with that situation."
Still, whereas 2010′s Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones had a much darker tinge, DSOL strikes a tighter balance between the opposing forces and brings listeners closer to the light at the end of the tunnel by encouraging them to push through peril. "We all reach these dark places where we feel angry or alone," says the singer, "but that gives us a reason to pick ourselves up and strive to make something better."
Since first turning heads with 2006′s Birthing The Giant, Cancer Bats, made up of Liam Cormier (vocals), Scott Middleton (Guitar), Mike Peters (drums) and Jaye Schwarzer (bass) are one of the hardest working bands in the music industry. The band spent close to 300 days away from home in 2011, and will likely come close to that in 2012.