While not nearly as popular as the Canadian quartet should be, Cancer Bats are one of the best examples of great, modern hardcore punk. The band plays a mix of post-punk, hardcore, and metal that pushes further into metallic territory than most of their peers. They’ve always been upfront about their crossover, appearing on numerous metal and hardcore tours alike, signing with metal-centric lable Metal Blade, and showing off their eclectic influences. But beyond having the best Beastie Boys cover ever recorded, they also play some damn great tunes of their own.
The latest jam they’ve unleashed is the song “Old Blood” from their upcoming album Dead Set on Living. The song starts off in usual Cancer Bats fashion with a punchy drum line, chugging riffs, then transitioning into a slightly melodic verse, and finally a chorus with their trademark bluesy twang and swagger. Singer Liam Cormier’s screams fit in perfectly with the tone of the song. His range seems a bit static throughout the song, and almost a little higher pitched than usual, but by no means is it a poor performance. He’s backed on the chorus with “YEAH! YEAH!” gang-shouts from the rest of the band, and sticks to that delivery method for the majority of the track, save for a few measures where he uses his almost-talking-not-quite-screaming vocal during what seems to be either an extended verse or bridge of sorts.
Overall, the track is good. It’s lacking a bit in terms of melody, but the riffs and lyrics offer enough hooks to keep you interested. The message of the lyrics is pretty par for the course, with a positive-yet-aggressive “fuck everyone else, live your life” attitude that permeates throughout much of the hardcore genre.
As far as the video, it’s nothing too special. The filter and blur effects are cool, and I dig rehearsal-space videos, but much like the track it’s nothing fancy, though certainly does the job well.
If you dig Cancer Bats (and you should!) this track will leave you pleased. It’s not reinventing the genre, and certainly not much of a musical evolution for the band, but they’ve already got such a good sound, why go and change it?
Dead Set on Living comes out April 24th, via Metal Blade records.