Review Summary: Just plain fun.
Cancer Bats have always been true to their so-called 'roots' when writing music. 'Hail Destroyer' followed in similar fashion to 'Birthing the Giant', with its catchy hooks and riffs being the centerpiece of each album. Whilst being incredibly catchy and infectious, Cancer Bats aren't exactly anything new. On first glance, one might assume that they are just a watered down version of Every Time I Die, with vocalist Liam Cormier sounding similar to Keith Buckley, but lagging far behind in terms of lyrical skill. Therefore, 'Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones' may seem to be quite negative upon first viewing to a person unfamiliar with Cancer Bats. But, in reality, it is anything but that.
Admittedly, 'Bears' gets off to quite a dull start. In fact, the first 2 tracks on this LP are about as filler as you could possibly get. Whilst not being downright terrible, they offer very little; with the riffs being recycled from one another, not making for a very entertaining listen. It's only when you clasp your ears on 'Dead Wrong' you start to realize Cancer Bats' infectious ability. The chorus in this track is an instant highlight, with its chant of "Dead Wrong, Dead Wrong!" matching perfectly to Cormier's vocal style, it's extremely hard not to enjoy, no matter how unexciting the lyrics may appear. After all, that is the point with Cancer Bats: they are not a band of mind-blowing technicality, but a band content on having fun.
The second half of 'Bears' is where things really start to improve as a whole. 'Snake Mountain', 'Make Amends' and 'Fake Gold' are undoubtedly some Cancer Bats' strongest songs to date; with their well crafted riffs and powerful vocals from Cormier, one can't resist but to bang their head in delight. The riff from 'Fake Gold' is probably one of the best riffs Cancer Bats have created. With its unrelenting power and forceful tempo, it makes for a hugely entertaining listen and injects a bit variety into the LP. The cover of 'Sabotage' by the Beastie Boys is also another highlight....yeah, I know what you're thinking: "Cancer Bats covering a Beastie Boys song?!" But it truly works, somehow.
All in all, 'Bears' is an album that will please Cancer Bats fans, but will not change the minds of their detractors. It's definitely more of the same; there is definitely no any real change in sound; which may cause some to find this LP quite dull. Therefore, 'Bears' is by no means a perfect album, due to its lack of variety in places, but a downright entertaining one when executed to its ability.