Cancer
Shadow Gripped


3.0
good

Review

by brettgoespunk USER (21 Reviews)
November 4th, 2018 | 15 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Cancer prove that their career has not come to a Gory End... yet.

Besides Bolt Thrower and Benediction, there weren’t that many bands out of England that were making any real traction. Save for Cancer, of course. With their first album, To the Gory End in 1990, Cancer established themselves as a super solid act in the scene, and in 1991 they released their seminal album, Death Shall Rise. Following those releases, Cancer started to fall off. They eventually signed to a major label in order to distribute their records worldwide, but the music was not at all up to par. In 2013, Cancer reunited, and 5 years later we have Shadow Gripped.

The hype for this album was slim to none, not that fans don’t care about the band anymore, but I hardly saw any promotion. I follow Peaceville, and I may be wrong, but I barely remember seeing any promotion for the huge comeback album for Cancer. The band’s Facebook page is barely active, very minimally managed, and hardly advertised the new album at all. It is almost crazy how little I heard about this album, and to be honest I forget how I even stumbled upon the fact that it was getting released. Needless to say though, I was intrigued and excited to a certain degree. Their old classic style logo was making a reappearance, and the signing to Peaceville Records made the whole debacle seem worthwhile. Upon the first few listens to the record, however, it proves to be a bit of a letdown. Everything sounds good in its own right, but it feels as though it is missing a passion or drive to create anything above par, or average for that matter. I don’t think that Cancer have phoned it in by any means, though. The riffs hold their own pretty well, and they bring a certain catchiness in some places that is much appreciated. John Walker’s vocals sound, honestly, as good as ever. His range has significantly lowered, but that register sounds good with his voice, and stands well against his powerful vocals of albums like those first two classics.

Tracks like “The Infocidal” show that Cancer are still capable if channeling what made their music so great back in the 90s. The riff in the middle section, the melodic solo, and everything about the entire first minute(ish) is a fantastic showcase of everything that makes this band a name to remember. “Crimes So Vile” is another track that stands out above the rest. Its lyrics discussing rape are very intriguing and topical for a band like them to write about. The intro track, “Down the Steps” serves as one more to top it off. It is a great way to kick off the record. The main bouncing riff in the verses is insanely catchy for a death metal song. Unfortunately, the rest of the album doesn’t hold up to these songs. Many of the tracks presented on Shadow Gripped fall short of being great by either trudging along for a bit too much time, or just being mostly forgettable. Tracks like “Organ Snatcher” and “Thou Shalt Kill” are two tracks that are perfect examples. These sound like they are trying way too hard to have that sort of gory edge to the OSDM of the 90s, with the former even having that almost off-time drum beat happening in the intro. It would be foolish to simply disregard the entire album just for this factor, though. I wish I could like this album more than I do, and it isn’t something I will totally ignore forever, but the entire album isn’t worthy of relistens. If the goal is a fun throwback-y death metal album from a classic band, then I applaud a job well done. If the goal was a new magnum opus… There is some work to be done for certain. If they continue down this path, I feel that their career will fizzle out very quickly once again.



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user ratings (14)
Chart.
3.1
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
brettgoespunk
November 3rd 2018


271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Been a while. Stopped writing for Sput after my PWD review got featured and then unfeatured the next day. But I figured my new audience with Suburban Rose Magazine wasn't ready quite yet for a Cancer review.



Edit: Love ghost negs thanks bro

StrikeOfTheBeast
November 4th 2018


5566 Comments


Might check out. Their early material is really solid.

Digging: Behemoth - Demigod

brettgoespunk
November 4th 2018


271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

its fun enough to take spin through

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2018


9384 Comments


Stopped writing for Sput after my PWD review got featured and then unfeatured the next day.


Really?

Dewinged
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2018


15044 Comments


I wonder what was the reason behind ghost negg'ing this. It's a well written review. Have a pos brett. Haven't checked this guys in a loooong time, but I might spin it.

Digging: Elizabeth Colour Wheel - Nocebo

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 4th 2018


9384 Comments


Can't speak for that neg (and I'm not either, becoz I rarely rarely) but there's a clumsiness in the writing above.

Besides Bolt Thrower and Benediction, there weren’t that many bands out of England that were making any real traction. Save for Cancer, of course. With their first album,


Consider rewording and moving some periods and commas around to bring back some flow. You can still have a blunt-ish, conversationalist writing personality but it will both read smoother and more cohesively.

The hype for this album was slim to none, not that fans don’t care about the band anymore, but I hardly saw any promotion. I follow Peaceville, and I may be wrong, but I barely remember seeing any promotion for the huge comeback album for Cancer. The band’s Facebook page is barely active, very minimally managed, and hardly advertised the new album at all. It is almost crazy how little I heard about this album, and to be honest I forget how I even stumbled upon the fact that it was getting released.


I can see your point, but how does this pertain to the quality of the album you're reviewing? Is it just more conversationalist filler for your readers who now know that there was very little PR for this release? The rest of this paragraph however is pretty much on point and makes some really good specifics (lowered register etc).

Its lyrics discussing rape are very intriguing and topical for a band like them to write about.


Why is it topical? Expand and explain why it's important/fascinating for a band to pick a lyrical subject matter.

Other than that it looks like a tidy review for a middling album.



brettgoespunk
November 5th 2018


271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

thanks for he pointers. the beginning of that paragraph was basically just me trying to not conform to the by the numbers writing style i’ve always felt was needed to be respected on this site. I just wanted it to feel more natural, but it was also a good segue, I feel, into the point that this album is good and a big comeback but for some reason it won’t get the attention it deserves to a degree

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2018


9384 Comments


trying to not conform to the by the numbers writing style


Yeah no worries, I can understand trying to stick out of the pack but the ‘by numbers’ style isn’t the only way to become a respectable writer.

combustion07
November 5th 2018


6479 Comments


Didn't know this dropped already. Will jam with low expectations. Good review. POS

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2018


24951 Comments


"Besides Bolt Thrower and Benediction, there weren’t that many bands out of England that were making any real traction. Save for Cancer, of course."

**cough CARCASS, PARADISE LOST, ANATHEMA, MY DYING BRIDE cough**



Digging: Akasha - Canticles of the Sepulchral Deity

TheSpirit
Contributing Reviewer
November 5th 2018


24951 Comments


Pretty good review though! I never was **too** into this band, and honestly most OSDM groups trying to make a comeback fucking suck, so I will avoid.

brettgoespunk
November 5th 2018


271 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"**cough CARCASS, PARADISE LOST, ANATHEMA, MY DYING BRIDE cough**"



Mostly I was talking about straight up OSDM bands with mostly no other influences.

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
November 6th 2018


9384 Comments


That’s the thing about sweeping sentences, they always seem to miss a few sticky details

WretchedCacophony
November 6th 2018


1098 Comments


Review is okay, but it gets the point across.
Unfortunately, it's a milder continuation of where they left off in the early 90s, yet still a fun listen. Someone posted this album on youtube with pretty poor quality so other than the officially released tracks, I'd like to hear this album

upintheair
December 6th 2018


447 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This would have been the ideal 4th Cancer album instead of 6th. Black Faith and Spirit in Flames are objectively awful.



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