Wednesday, March 11, 2015
Cancer Bats- Searching for Zero
Starting off, don't mistake me- I'm not 100% behind this release. I don't normally do "Two star reviews"- normally, it's 4 and 5 star, only. So, we're clear? Then, here we go;
Like or hate metal, this is it. Cancer Bats already were supposedly "Hardcore and Stoner Rock" as a hybrid. To me, that's not exactly a hybrid. Hardcore, already, is basically applying some Punk rock to a basically suburban Metalhead mindset, Stoner Rock, likewise, seems like suburban Metalheads trying out some seventies style debauched Psychedelia. So, a hybrid of the two? Basically, you cancel out the Psychedelia with the Punk- you end up with Metal.
So, this new one is flat out Metal. We're talking AC/DC meets Dio meets Judas Priest. Maybe you like Metal? OK, then. Me, I'm not so much. I put up with a lot of Metal because I dig guitars so much, but my aesthetics are from a different place. I dig the loud, sure. I dig the ridiculously over amplified, and the physical sensation of sound moving air. I also dig the notion of letting players play- let the bass player solo, let the drummer solo, let the guitar player solo, even let the singer wail, just so long as it fits the song. I even dig riffs that don't really have a song for context. So, I can deal with a fair amount of metal in my music- but ultimately, I go back to a particular kind of just barely post punk aesthetic, which I'm not too conceited to call "New Wave".
So, the constant pinch harmonics, with the riffs beaten into submission, with the shouted gang vocals with the scooped marshall tone, with the sabbath style tri tones, with the Verse Bridge Chorus song formula, with the fast bit and the breakdown? Yeah, all together it's fine, I guess, but leaves me pretty "meh" I'm left looking for the song behind the squall, and I'm not really finding it.
So, why am I talking about this? I'm sure you can find actual Metalheads to talk much more coherently about where this release falls in the Metal spectrum- Here's my point-
I go on ( and on) about hybrids on this blog. I do truly believe it's what makes rock music work- but sometimes, a hybrid isn't a hybrid, and Cancer Bats are just the most palatable variation on this particular thought- I don't really believe that there can be a real hybrid of Metal and Punk. One side or the other always wins out. Whether you're talking about Motorhead, who, despite everything, are really just a Rocknroll band, or whether you're talking about the three letter bands- COC, DRI, MDC, etc, etc- sooner or later, everybody becomes what they always were, and Cancer Bats have now become exactly what they are- a straight up "New Wave of (British) Heavy Metal" band. I hated that stuff in the eighties, and I still don't like it, all that much, now.