No matter how you look at it, it’s been a killer year for Cancer Bats. When they rolled into south-est London for a warm-up show before hitting Hard Rock Hell, we sent Hugh Platt down to confirm they’ve earned their hype.
“In case you didn’t know, we’re from Canada,” Cancer Bats frontman Liam Cormier drawls through a grin so wide it looks like it’s about to crack his face in two. “And we’re gonna squeeze out every last drop of maple syrup for you guys tonight!” When Cancer Bats tear into a song, the crowd doesn’t just go apeshit, it goes full on baboon-and-chimp-and-gorilla-and-King-motherfucking-Kong-shit. The Kingston Peel is straining at the edges, packed with disjointed limbs, human sweat and spilt beer.
So much more than just another hardcore band, it’s been nothing short of a triumphant year for Toronto’s Cancer Bats. Their second album, Hail Destroyer, has been rightly received by fans and critics as one of the albums of the year, and wherever they’ve taken their southern-fried riffs and gutter-punk rabble rousing, they’ve been met by fervent adoration. From their mid-afternoon Concrete Jungle slot at Reading & Leeds’ Festivals, to their stint as the warm-up band on Funeral For A Friend’s November tour, right on through to tonight’s sweatbox shenanigans, Cancer Bats don’t just convert people to fans when they play live, they turn them into zealots to their cause.
Watch the video to ‘Hail Destroyer’ by Cancer Bats
You can split your life into two distinct time periods – there’s the time before you’ve seen Cancer Bats play live, and the time after. That pivot point in the middle, that brief hour where your eyes and ears get their first, virgin exposure to them, that’s your moment of revelation. For Thrash Hits and so many others tonight, we can only envy those getting that rush for the first time.
It’s apt they close with ‘Hail Destroyer’, an anthem to embracing destruction for the new growth and regeneration that comes in it’s wake – in 2008, Cancer Bats have cleared the decks, Scorched Earth-style. What they build from the rubble is going to change everything.