Cancer Bats - Searching For Zero
Album Review

Cancer Bats – Searching For Zero

Somehow mixing sounds of thrash punk, 70’s rock and melody throughout, Cancer Bats have returned to form in latest record Searching For Zero – not that they ever lost it. Having spent the past year relaxing, writing and recording, the Canadian four piece have come back with more punch than we’ve seen before, and more emotion than you thought could be capable on an album such as this.

Following their more recent tour, quite a few close friends of the band died, in quick succession. After a year like that, no one could possibly know what to do next. But Cancer Bats battled on, invited Ross Robinson to help with production, and now we have an emotionally biting album.

Front man Liam Cormier screams like never before, ripping words from the pit of his oesophagus as he laments that “Too many friends died this year” on ‘Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake’. It is this bold truthfulness that divides Cancer Bats from their peers, no convoluted metaphors when speaking about something as frank as death.

But the album isn’t all doom and gloom. There are nods to Black Sabbath on tracks such as ‘Buds’ and ‘Beelzebub’, and opening track ‘Satellites’ is a flurry of gang vocals and Scott Middleton lashing his guitar. And the album is not without the classic Cancer Bats ragers.

‘Devil’s Blood’ opens with near 50 seconds of blistering noise. A mash up of all the band destroying their respective instruments, Cormier included. Yet, somehow in the mix, drummer Mike Peters and bassist Jaye Shwarzer seem to keep time within the chaos.

This, the recently released single ‘True Zero’ and ‘Cursed With A Conscience’ are probably the best tracks on the album. The latter is a slow burner, bass and drums leads the charge before Middleton joins the fray. It comes to it’s peak as Cormier bellows “I’m just a pacifist, I never fought any wars / I’m just here smiling to keep my head afloat” over a walking bass line, and you can hear the turmoil in his voice.

After what can only be considered a tough year for all involved, Cancer Bats have braved through and the result is their strongest record yet. It’s a shame what it took for the record to become what it is, but Searching For Zero is a fitting tribute to those that mean so much to the band. Cancer Bats can be proud of that.

Venue: Searching For Zero
Support Band: North Church Records, BMG Rights

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