Cancer Bats – Birthing The Giant

Reviewed: November 2006
Released: 2006, Abacus Recordings
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Erin Fox

At first impression, BIRTHING THE GIANT is a record that’s very reminiscent of the type of reckless hardcore spit out by Every Time I Die, but a closer listen reveals a hint of down south attitude that gives the record a semi-unique bent. Whether you’re using Nashville Pussy or Lynyrd Skynyrd on bad meth as an analogy, Canver Bats successfully fuse hardcore punk with a down-home feeling .

Plenty of blues-injected riffs and the devil-may-care barking of frontman Liam Cormier gives Cancer Bats an appeal that would be appropriate for a futuristic roadhouse. A slinking, sludgy chorus works for the band during “French Immersion” and the very Pantera-like riffing exhibited during the verse sections of “100 Grand Canyon” merges nicely with the cut’s gang-punk chorus.

Yup, there are breakdowns here as well, but these types of tricks are more geared toward tempo-shifting than those of the chugga-chugga, meathead variety. “Ghost Bust That” is one of the wittier titles that’s surfaced this year, but that doesn’t save this track from being a bit too banal for mass consumption. There’s rough edges in these parts that could use a touch of polish, son.

Cancer bats dips into an old school sound sometimes, but also has the ability to turn things around with some groovy riffing that would have Ted Nugent blushing. For the record, men who wear loincloths on stage in front of tens of thousands of people don’t actually blush that often. It’s these moments where Cancer Bats is most likeable.

Sorry to say, there’s a downside to BIRTHING THE GIANT as well. It’s really a struggle to listen to this album more than a couple of times in a row before half of the songs start wearing a bit thin. If the band had eliminated some of the same-sounding feel from cuts like “Butterscotch” and “Firecrack This,” (um, got the joke the first time, didn’t enjoy it the second.) they would make major headway toward having a remarkable record on their hands.

However, there’s a certain amount of merit here and while BIRTHING THE GIANTS is not a great record by any stretch of the imagination, it’s pretty damn good.


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Track Listing:
1. Golden Tanks
2. French Immersion
3. 100 Grand Canyon
4. Ghost Bust That
5. Grenades
6. Shillelagh
7. Butterscotch
8. Death Bros
9. Firecrack This
10. Diamond Mine
11. Pnuemonia Hawk

Liam Cormier – vocals
Mike Peters – drums
Scott Middleton – guitar
Andrew McCracken – bass