Cancer Bats - Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones
Canada. On the surface it looks so calm and beautiful - Mounties helping beavers across the road to the maple syrup emporium, friendly neighbours admiring each other's gun collection (but certainly never using them in anger), Celine Dion. The list goes on. But scratch beneath the surface and you'll find pent up aggression-a-plenty. Whether it's teeth dislodged on the ice-hockey rink, where the fights take precedence over the puck or Stu Hart's legendary wrestling dungeon where thousands of blood vessels are burst in torturous submission holds - there is a clenched fist behind the maple leaf.
Musically Canada's output has always been fairly good natured but more recently this hidden aggression has filtered into a generation of performers. Maybe this is a reaction from a youth raised upon Celine's warblings? Ontario has produced the punk rock of Fucked Up and the electro-antagonism of Crystal Castles. Plus our subject today - masters of hardcore – Cancer Bats, who return with their third album Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones. And whilst the production may have improved over the years the Bats have not mellowed in the slightest.
From the opening gambit of 'Sleep This Away' it's apparent this is an album devoid of compromise or commercial aspirations. It sinks its teeth into your ankle and proceeds to drag you through the woods at breakneck speed colliding with every branch, rock and barbed wire fence. There's no stopping for a picnic, no introspective navel gazing - just brutality and intensity.
This take no prisoners approach has been resolutely successful for them and fans of their previous work will instantly feel at home. Instead of making the mistake of taking the band in new musical directions Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones consolidates everything they do well into a shiny, yet blunt implement to beat you about the head.
The album ends with their razor sharp cover of The Beastie Boys 'Sabotage'. There have been some rumours spread that the band apologised for this version, especially the video - all of which are completely untrue and part of some online April fool's prank at the band's expense. Pretty obvious really, as it's an amazing cover with a hilarious video.
Crack open a Molson Dry (or even crack it over your head) and let these bats into your belfry.