Album Review: Cancer Bats – The Spark That Moves


Label: Bat Skull Records

Release Date: 20th April 2018

Genre: Hardcore/Punk/Metal

SURPRISE! The cat is out of the bag, Cancer Bats are back with an unexpected new album that you must hear!

Coming out of nowhere in the attempt to do things their own way, Cancer Bats have self released their 6th studio album The Spark That Moves on their own label, Bat Skull Records. Tired of waiting and dealing with the bullshit of teaser singles and traditional lead-ups, they have followed up 2015’s Searching for Zero with an exceptional display of hardcore sludge metal punk delight.

Although they worked with long-time Cancer Bats collaborator, Eric Ratz, on this record (who produced their albums Hail Destroyer, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones and Dead Set on Living), a lot was different about the process of bringing The Spark That Moves together. With drummer Mike Peters now living in Winnipeg, the band had to learn to adapt to a new way of writing, no longer being able to all work in the same room and dealing with distance and different scheduling, Cancer Bats had to think of another way to bring the record together. Despite the changing in the way they record, not a second on this album feels like the band aren’t firing on all cylinders, united together. The Canadian 4-piece are an absolute beast, still showcasing that they can produce neck breaking mosh anthems that blend genres together and never let up quality for a second.

Frontman Liam Cormier’s perfected melodic growls are in full effect from the moment this album kicks off with ‘GateKeeper’, an exciting return for the band as they give it 100% with head-bangers delight riffs and thundering drums. Immediately we know exactly what kind of form Bats are on, a statement of intent and a sign of what’s to come, the band hit you with their honed skills of blending anthemic metal, punk and hardcore.

Skulls will be broken in the live environment as the drum fill of ‘Brightest Day’ leads into the frenetic vocals of Cormier. Pounding at the listener and then breaking it down into sludgy chundering guitar parts, Cancer Bats remind you exactly why you love them. And just when you think you couldn’t love them more, ‘We Run Free’ hits your ears. A song that may just be the band’s finest moment, it’s heavy perfection that takes as much inspiration from Foo Fighters as it does Black Flag. It’s relentless yet still has the possibility of being a radio anthem, featuring everything from euphoric vocal hooks to white hot guitar solos, this song must be included in the band’s live set for years to come.

The way The Spark That Moves seesaws between hardcore and full on 90s metal goodness is never bettered than on ‘Space on Time’. With parts that sound like Metallica, Pantera and The Bronx, Cancer Bats seamlessly take influence from everything that’s good in music and blend it all together to produce something beautiful.

By the time you’re halfway through the record, there shouldn’t be a single doubt in your mind about the quality of the rest of the songs. What follows are some absolutely remarkable moments from the guys in the band. ‘Headwound’ is a phenomenal show of Cormier’s vocals as they take on different forms and show complete versatility. ‘Fear Will Kill Us All’ is Mike Peters’ time to shine on the drums as he puts in a jaw-dropping, relentless performance.

Keeping up the pace and quality of the record yet failing to leave me in awe, the next 3 songs roll by and pave the way for the refreshing and stunning closer, Winterpeg. Ending on a standout performance from the man who lead the charge in the production of the album, this song features lots of bassy goodness from none other than Jaye Schwarzer. Aided by the guest vocals of Propagandhi’s Chris Hannah, Winterpeg is a stunning closer to a record that never once let up or for a second loosened it’s grip.

The way that the 4 piece have worked together throughout this record is an impressive show of force. Not being able to craft these songs in the same room yet sounding more like a team that ever is an eye-opener to how talented they are and the way their minds work as one. The rhythm section on this record are near perfect and run wild through brick walls to constantly progress the chugging, relentless beats that Cormier insanely lays waste over.

Cancer Bats have done things their own way on The Spark That Moves, proving that they’re not just Kings of hardcore but also punk and metal. They’re becoming a band that are no longer jacks of all trades, but masters.

The Spark That Moves is released today. Don’t hesitate and listen to it ASAP!

Recommended Track: We Run Free

Keep up to date with the band via Facebook and Twitter

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