Maryland Deathfest XII, Edison Lot / Rams Head Live / Baltimore Soundstage, Baltimore, MD May 22-25, 2014

June 7th, 2014
by Infamous Butcher

Maryland Deathfest XII DAY 2

CANCER

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I’ve been waiting a long time for this one! All old school death metal fans have a reverence for England’s Cancer. Between 1990 and 1993 Cancer put out three of the most classic death metal albums ever made, TO THE GORY END, DEATH SHALL RISE, and THE SINS OF MANKIND. Their straightforward, brutal but catchy tunes like “Into the Acid” and “Hung, Drawn, and Quartered” stay burned in the brain for life! I was lucky enough to catch Cancer on tour with Disincarnate in August 1993 when they were touring for THE SINS OF MANKIND. They were fucking killer and I always wanted to see them again. Late last year it was announced that Cancer would be re-forming to play some festivals and that they would only be playing material from their first 3 albums. How fucking awesome is that?!? I almost shit when I saw they were added to MDF! This is what MDF is all about baby!

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People were very fired up for Cancer; virtually everyone I talked to on Friday had Cancer on the top of their list of bands they were excited to see at MDF. The chants were rabid for the band as John Walker, Carl Stokes, and Ian Buchanan took the stage. John addressed the crowd and said, I’m a little old now, I can’t hear you – which prompted a bloodthirsty scream from the crowd! Then they tore into “Death Shall Rise” and it was savage, raw, ugly, and brutal, as old school death metal should be! Crowd immediately went berserk with intense moshing and headbaning. I was right up at the barrier banging my head and singing, I felt like I was 21 again! Cancer hasn’t lost anything, they sound almost exactly the same as they did in ’93 and I was happier than a little kid on Christmas morning! John’s voice was the same whispered, ghoulish growl that no one can replicate. It’s awesome and just downright creepy! As a guitarist he is a riff master, (“Into the Acid” anyone?). Carl has long been one of my favorite death metal drummers, on songs like “Hung, Drawn’ and Quartered” and “Blood Bath” he is superb without being flashy or extremely fast. And bassist Ian just holds it all the fuck together man! The set was very heavy on TO THE GORY END and there were no songs played from THE SINS OF MANKIND, but the mix of songs was go fucking great I didn’t mind at all. Highlights of the set included “Die Die” (one of the best choruses ever – SMASHING THROUGH YOUR SKULL!), “Tasteless Incest” (HUMAN DISGRACE!), “To the Gory End” (AS THEY MAKE YOU RIDE THE BLADE!), “Into the Acid” (love that fucking riff – YOUR INTESTINES BREAK AND SPRAY!), “Hung, Drawn, and Quartered” (Hammering drums by Carl kick this one off as all go into a frenzy – SLICED THROUGH MY TORSO AND RIPPED APART!), “Body Count” (was not rehearsed per Carl and had not been played in years, but still fucking brilliant) and the best death metal anthem of all time, “Cancer Fucking Cancer”! Closer was an awesome cover of Celtic Frost’s “Dethroned Emperor” which was a tribute to the late H.R. Geiger who passed away earlier in May. Everyone was blown the fuck away after the set!

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Later in the evening I got to meet Carl and Ian, chat a bit and take a picture with them. They were great blokes and I was thrilled to meet them. Carl said the reason why the set was so heavy on material from the first 2 albums was that guitarist Barry Savage was not able to make the trip. When TO THE GORY END was recorded, Cancer was a 3 piece and many of the songs on DEATH SHALL RISE were written when the band was a 3 piece. Carl also said a new album and a full scale tour were not in the works, just festivals since the band members have other bands they play in. Lastly, it is important to note that these 3 classic albums, long out of print, are set to be re-released on Cyclone Empire later this year! Pick up a copy of each if you don’t own them already! Cancer lives man! CANCER FUCKING CANCER!

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Cancer set list:

1.  Death Shall Rise

2.  Witch Hunt

3.  Into The Acid

4.  Die Die

5.  Tasteless Incest

6.  To The Gory End

7.  Body Count

8.  Blood Bath

9.  Cancer Fucking Cancer

10. Hung, Drawn, and Quartered

11. Dethroned Emperor

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