Review Summary: More of the same...
Canadian hardcore outfit Cancer Bats have caused quite a stir over the past few years. Their debut LP 'Birthing the Giant' was greeted with open arms by the hardcore community for its straight up balls to the wall attitude and style. Although Cancer Bats don't necessarily bring anything 'new' to the hardcore scene, they have always made for an entertaining listen and have quite a decent replay value throughout their catalogue. So, its 2012 and has anything changed? Well, not really, but 'Dead Set On Living' is certainly not a flop by any means.
The opener 'R.A.T.S' gets the album off to a rather brilliant start. The track is a typical Cancer Bats song; the riff driving the song is extremely infectious and Liam's vocals are abrasive as ever. Unusually, however, Liam's vocals do not have a constant abrasive attitude to them. On some tracks like 'Bricks & Mortar', 'Road Sick' and 'Breath Armageddon' Liam seems to favor a more monotone 'talking' style upon his vocals. This is, unfortunately, where 'Dead Set On Living' can become rather trite. These monotone vocals performed by Liam are not terrible by any means, but tracks such as 'Rally the Wicked', 'Bastards' and 'Old Blood' feel so much more fitting when he decides to switch to his abrasive side in comparison to this.
The guitars and drums on this album are not necessarily anything new either. Even though this doesn't create much of a problem throughout the album, it would've been nice to for some variation to be placed within certain tracks. However, the riffs on this LP in places are certainly a highlight. 'Bastards' and 'Rally the Wicked' are the two most notable 'tour-de-force' tracks on the album, with their powerhouse riffs coupled with Liam's harsh vocals, these tracks make for an incredibly enjoyable listen. With regards to how well the album flows, it flows rather well, although, as stated before, there is no real variation throughout the album which makes for no so-called 'break' throughout.
So, does 'Dead Set On Living' break any new boundaries? Well, the answer is no, it doesn't. However, that is not to say that this LP is not a fun ride because, in places, it is hugely enjoyable. Overall, 'Dead Set On Living' features some of Cancer Bats' best work and coupled with the fact that every musician is on the top of their game here; this LP makes for an overall enjoyable listen. It's a definite 2012 party album...that's for sure.