No.6. Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer.
Before we start with why you should get this, I'm not feeling so good (I think it's ebola, my wife says it's a cold) - so if it's a bit funny-funnier than usual, I apologise in advance.
If you took the political consciousness of Rise Against, the intensity of Swedish proto-punks Refused and the straightforward but swirly, twirly guitar sound of Mastodon and added them together, the result would be Cancer Bats. And they will kick your ass.
The title and opening track, “Hail Destroyer,” kicks off the album with a gritty guitar riff followed by vocalist Liam Cormier shouting, “Tear us Down,” a combination that will have you wishing you had a shotgun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other. Although Cormier’s voice has drawn comparisons with Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley, the two have distinct differences. The main one being that Buckley is ....erm....shit. At times he actually sounds more like Rise Against’s Tim McIlrath (who is featured on the second track “Harem of Scorpions”) than Buckley, which is a good thing.
Cormier’s vocal work on Hail Destroyer marks a significant growth from that found on their previous effort, Birthing the Giant, where production and instrumentation covered up the front man’s weak points. Now, he has taken fearless control (or reckless abandon) of the mic, and the result is dramatic improvement.
Aside from Cormier’s vocal work, Scott Middleton’s (I like to call him Steve-don't ask) guitar playing is what carries the album. It is his expert work that unites the different sounds into workable songs, whether that means chugging through “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair,” shredding through “Pray for Darkness” (easily the heaviest and fastest track on the album), or unleashing a flurry of squeals that conjure images of deep-Alabama in “PMA ‘Til I’m DOA.”
The songwriting on the album, while not fantastic, is actually very fitting; it’s aggressive, concise, hard-hitting, and has that “fuck you” mentality that makes you want to reach for the nearest Molotov cocktail. In other words, the next time you’re getting ready to partake in a sport that requires physical contact, or just a round of bare-knuckle-boxing, pop this album in. It’s safe to say that even Gandhi would want to jump in a mosh pit after hearing these guys churn out the twelve brutal tracks on Hail Destroyer.
The album flows seamlessly from one track to the next, and even standout tracks like ”Harem of Scorpions,” “Bastard’s Waltz,” and “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair,” which all showcase a different sides of the Cancer Bats, still fit with the flow of the rest of the album.
Obviously this album isn’t for everybody, but it’s the kind of album that has the ability to convert wary listeners to hardcore/punk music. So, while it is not going to be the most technically diverse or artistically valuable album you ever heard, if you take it for what it is, a really fun, get-you-pumped, Southern-flavored (even though the band is from Canada) hardcore album, you’ll really enjoy it. Plus, you’ll have something to listen to on the way to your next fight.
Here's a couple of my favourites from the album