Cancer Bats Sing In The Pain On 'Searching For Zero'
Surely it’s accepted by right-minded metal fans that Cancer Bats are a band that do no wrong. They’ve released consistently brilliant records, become your favourite metalcore band’s favourite metalcore band and established themselves as one of the craziest live bands ever.
Since their 2012 release 'Dead Set on Living', the band have worked non-stop, touring extensively, playing their own music and the occasional sets of Black Sabbath covers. But it isn’t an easy life, and the past couple of years, described as ‘heavy’ cast dark clouds over the band. The one light to emerge from this is 'Searching for Zero', their strongest work yet.
The treat of this album is that you never know what you’re going to get next. The Toronto lads could give us a straight up hardcore CD and it would be great, but instead they open with "Satellites", the most accessible song they’ve written, complete with pre-choruses and a melody you can sing along to. Performing Sabbath covers has taught Liam Cormier to sing clean vocals, although ‘clean’ seems like an overstatement. All vocals are delivered with the vicious attitude and scorch that has existed since they birthed the giant in 2006. So don’t think that Liam had gone Oli Sykes on us.
Regardless, the new-found love of melody is more power to the songwriting. "True Zero’s" cries of ‘May I remind myself who I really am?’ will unite the crowd at any venue they come to before they destroy the building with ripping hardcore jams in "Devil’s Blood" and "All Hail", which show off some of Scott Middleton’s fastest riffs to date.
It would be easy to call 'Searching for Zero' a further collection of songs that will sound great live, but the ability to create atmosphere on record has risen as well. The Sabbath influence is most apparent in "Beezlebub’s" grooves that plod about with boots made of steel and worn leather, as Cormier sound like a cross between Ozzy Osbourne and Saint Vitus’ Wino. This vibe can also be heard on "Dusted", a definite shout for the darkest Cancer Bats song written.
So, 'Searching for Zero' has the perfect balance between being the most accessible Cancer Bats album and also the rawest, keeping listeners on edge by shifting gear for each song. It’s crazy in places, it’s sincere, haunting, but it always feels right. And it’s further proof that CB does no wrong.
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Words by Andy Davidson