Review Summary: Cancer Bats pull out their old deck again.
Like the surprise of this very release, “Gate Keeper” hits you in the face like a sledgehammer, equipped with all the associated stylings of the band: pinched harmonics, bouncing grooves and Liam’s squeezed screams. It's a great way to grease the engines and get things started, and yet, a persistent niggle begins to reveal itself the further you delve into this thing, becoming apparent pretty quickly Cancer Bats have taken a step back, progressively speaking, this time. Searching for Zero
was a well-crafted reinvigoration that saw the band separating themselves from a stagnant sound in dire need of some rework; using Ross Robinson’s input to develop a hardcore record with all the characteristics of the band, only this time with a hefty lashing of experimentation and low-fi sounds. Here, it’s reverted back to the same path Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones
and Dead Set on Living
Of course, that’s not to say I didn’t have a hell of a time listening to these songs, on the contrary, I enjoyed this much more than the aforementioned LPs; keeping to the same tight, no BS, runtime of its predecessor and serving up a record designed for its fans
. And despite disappointment for the derivative blueprint this time, it’s not a completely reminiscent lean on the past. Liam occasionally mixes up his performances on songs like “Headwound” and “Space and Time” – where he takes on a melodic approach using this ominous, elongating style of singing than his usual raspy scream – which breaks up the record nicely. While little touches in the form of the piano introduction to “Fear Will Kill Us All” carries over a sprinkling of spice from their last effort. I’d also be lying if I said I wasn’t smiling from ear to ear hearing the Hail Destroyer
styled riffing's of “Rattlesnake”, “Brightest Day” and “Gate Keeper”. It might not be the most wholly original album produced by the band to date, but it captures the essence of the band in a way that’s celebratory. Ultimately, the bottom line being, if you’re a fan it’s hard not to be pleased with The Spark That Moves
SPECIAL EDITION: N/A