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Album Reviews : Cancer Bats – Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones

By on May 19, 2010

cancer batsThe follow-up to 2008’s Hail Destroyer and a littering of split releases and EPs, the Cancer BatsBears, Mayors Scraps & Bones is a letdown for all but the most diehard fans, lacking any discernable song structure or direction, and showcasing awkward interplay between spoken and screaming vocals. Vocalist Liam Cormier’s screams come across as constipated and forced, while the guitars are incredibly generic, reminiscent of every shitty local hardcore band in existence.  It somehow manages to be headache-inducing, confusing, mentally exhausting and boring all at the same time.

Opening track Sleep This Away is one of the more tolerable tracks, with some semblance of song structure and direction, but fails to set the tone for the rest of the album. While Dead Wrong, Make Amends and Scared to Death provide some decent singalongs, the tracks lack such focus that the chorus pops out of nowhere, only to leave just as quickly.

We Are the Undead and Darkness Lives prove to be somewhat catchy, though only because the band repeatedly scream their respective titles every few lines. For a band with 2 other studio full lengths under their belt, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones sure reads like an amateur demo, with Fake Gold reminiscent of that constipated shitty hardcore band that somehow play at your local haunt every fucking week. Black Metal Bicycle suffers all the same shortcomings, but is so dull it’s not even worth complaining about.

It’s not all bad though, with some tracks offering sludgey singalongs and the occasional successful interplay between screaming and screeching vocals. Bizarrely reminiscent of Kings of Leon, the wailing screams on Scared to Death showcase an awesome sludge metal undertone, and slow track Raised Right offers the perfect cigarette-lighter-waving opportunity.

The spoken vocals are really the highlight of the album, with Doomed to Fail and Drive this Stake offering interesting lyrical content – the latter’s ‘time is just the ticking of a clock’ and ‘it’s not the destination, it’s the trip’ seeming like something out of an epic metalcore motivational seminar. Sabotage is also one of the more ~interesting tracks on the album (being a Beastie Boys cover), though it’s likely that hardcore Bats funs will lap it up, while Beastie Boys fans are left headdesking.

While this review would have you think that Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones is the equivalent of aural diarrhea, the album shows great potential in how it translates live. Even though Cormier’s vocals are painful to listen to, the guitars generic and the songs lacking focus, the tracks seem as if they’ve been written for the live show – something about the breakdowns and constipated vocals indicates that they’ll be made better with copious amounts of fat sweaty shirtless men in tow.

The Verdict: unless you’re a hardcore Bats fan, Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones will leave you feeling exhausted, confused and slightly constipated. The tracks lack focus and the vocals are painful, though perhaps a rum and coke and slightly sweaty mosh would change that. 6/10

Band: Cancer Bats
Album: Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones
Year: 2010
Genre: Hardcore, Metalcore, Sludge Metal
Origin: Toronto, Canada
Label: Distort Entertainment

Track listing:

  1. Sleep This Away
  2. Trust No One
  3. Dead Wrong
  4. Doomed To Fail
  5. Black Metal Bicycle
  6. We Are the Undead
  7. Scared to Death
  8. Darkness Lives
  9. Snake Mountain
  10. Make Amends
  11. Fake Gold
  12. Drive This Stake
  13. Raised Right
  14. Sabotage (Beastie Boys Cover)


Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.