Cancer Bats - The Spark That Moves (Cover Artwork)

Cancer Bats

The Spark That Moves (2018)

Bat Skull/new damage

As I type up this review, two things hit me. One, I can’t believe Cancer Bats have been around for 13 years. Second, this album is great. Having been a fan of the band since I first came across them on their debut album “Birthing The Giant”, they came out at a great time to be putting a fairly unique spin on hardcore, mixing in screams, southern riffs, and overall bringing the heavy. They followed that with Hail Destroyer, which took what they made good on their first delivery and amped it up. It’s a heavier, more focused effort. Then, admittedly, I lost interest in the band over the next almost decade. That would have rung true up until a year ago, when the band surprised released their 6th album “The Spark that Moves”, to an unsuspecting fanbase.

The title certainly holds merit, as there is a new spark if you will, to the band. Opening track “Gatekeeper” starts with some menacing feedback, before launching into Liam Cormier’s trademark scream, and the bands take on southern metal. Following with “Brightest Days”, the Bats bring the mosh over the chorus, with gang vocals abound, it has the sound of a band reborn. Certainly helping the cause is producer John Paul Peters, who let the band do what they do best. If John Paul Peters’ name sounds familiar, it is because of his work with Propagandhi recently, who’s lead vocalist Chris Hannah, who is featured on the crushing album closer “Winterpeg”.

It is clear that the band entered the studio intending to make an album THEY wanted to make, taking all the elements of what made the band great in the first place, and streamlining it into these 11 songs. “Bed of Nails” sounds like it could have come off a Queens of The Stone Age record, and just as the listener can take a breath, the band rips into “Headwound”, which is heavy, fast, and melodic all at once. Being that the band has been around as long as they have, and celebrating 10 years of “Hail Destroyer”, I would imagine this record will be well-received by their following. I would also anticipate an uptick in listeners, as people who haven’t checked them out in a while, should absolutely jump on Spark. While it is only early in 2018, I can see this being on some lists in December, as well as put the band in running for their 5th Juno Award nomination.