No Image

(Bat Skull / New Damage)

01. Radiate


02. The Hoof


03. Lonely Bong


04. Friday Night


05. Hammering On


06. Crocodiles


07. Shadow of Mercury


08. Keep on Breathin


09. Pressure Mind


10. Rollin’ Threes


11. Psychic Jailbreak

The loss of a founding member is always going to sting. In terms of cataclysmic breakups, the departure of co-founding guitarist Scott Middleton from the CANCER BATS ranks last year was a big one. Along with vocalist Liam Cormier, Middleton had helped to steer the band through nearly 20 years of trials and triumphs. The prospect of recording a follow-up to 2018’s widely acclaimed “The Spark That Moves” without him may have been daunting for the remaining trio of Cormier, drummer Mike Peters and bassist Jaye R. Schwarzer, but “Psychic Jailbreak” is all the evidence anyone needs that CANCER BATS have negotiated a change in personnel with eerie skill. Schwarzer is the principal hero, having stepped up to take on bass and guitar duties, but really this is a story of perseverance and bonds of creativity and friendship. It is also an album of blistering, genre-resistant rock ‘n’ roll, custom designed to cause havoc in dark, sweaty venues, albeit with just enough variety and freshness to keep CANCER BATS‘ career ball rolling inexorably forward.

Still peddling the potent blend of punk rock, heavy metal and terse, edgy hardcore that made early records like “Hail Destroyer” so irresistible, the Canadians sound as righteously incensed as ever on the opening “Radiate”. It’s a belligerent, flailing storm of riffs and spat-out slogans, and as vital as anything in the band’s catalogue. Pleasingly, it is immediately topped by the grinding, doom-core strut of “The Hoof” (which sounds like ALICE COOPER jamming with POISON IDEA) and the seething, desert rock spikiness of “Lonely Bong”. Next, “Friday Night” noisily evokes a drunken brawl in the tiniest of punk rock clubs, while “Hammering On” slows things down to a surly, sludged-up crawl, as Cormier switches to sinister croon mode, duetting with maverick indie folk singer Brooklyn Doran and audibly reveling in the monstrous, swaggering power his comrades are pumping out around him. The album’s most joyously metal moment, “Keep On Breathin” is a riotous, rumbling Southern-rock bombing raid, with a heroically intense Cormier vocal and some of the purest SABBATH-ian riffage anyone will hear this year. In contrast, “Pressure Mind” has the muscular presence of prime ROLLINS BAND and a dash of CHEAP TRICK-like pop suss, while the title track is a three-minute, doom-punk skirmish with a bad attitude, a badass chorus and a mischievous, split personality.

Never mind the fact that every one of these songs is going to absolutely rip live: “Psychic Jailbreak” is an audacious comeback and one of the best records CANCER BATS have made. Proof, as if it were needed, that the best response to a setback is to get the fuck on with it and keep doing what you do. But more so.


COMMENTS

To comment on a
BLABBERMOUTH.NET
story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you’re logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of
BLABBERMOUTH.NET
and
BLABBERMOUTH.NET
does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the “Report to Facebook” and “Mark as spam” links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details.
BLABBERMOUTH.NET
reserves the right to “hide” comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to “ban” users that violate the site’s Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user’s Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a “banned” user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the “banned” user’s comments will only be visible to the user and the user’s Facebook friends).