Cancer Bats - Birthing The Giant
Guitar Driven good old Rawk 'n' Roll
11 songs (40:03)
Release year: 2006
Cancer Bats, Distort
Reviewed by Ross
Surprise of the month
If ever there was an album that should come with the instruction ‘Play Loud’, Birthing The Giant is most definitely one. From the first chords of Golden Tanks to the fading guitar feedback that closes out Pneumonia Hawk, Birthing The Giant is a great big wedge of Down ‘n’ Durty Rawk that demands serious headbanging. This is an album that confirms that music is there to Entertain. Okay, you have your serious thinking stuff like some of the Death and Black Metal; you have your fantasy, myth and legend stuff in some Power Metal; Birthing The Giant is definitely fun stuff where you should be up moshing and headbanging until you melt into a sweaty blob. Last album that had such a pleasurable effect on me was Dimmu Borgir Shagrath’s side project Chrome Division.

Birthing The Giant could be described as ‘Old School’, maybe ’12 Bar’, or perhaps just ‘Heavy Rock’; some may put it in the ‘Punk’ pigeonhole. If asked what category I thought they should be labelled, I’d just say “Yes!” ….That would be “Yes, all of the above; and then some.” Think illegitimate hybrid offspring resulting from a mating between Refused, AC/DC and Black Flag with some ‘Southern Rock’ and a touch of ‘Punk’ thrown in to add some colour and character. It’s certainly guitar driven with really heavy, and heavily distorted, riffs and enough squealing pinch harmonics to challenge Zakk Wylde. They sound like a band that are happiest playing live and Birthing The Giant seems to emit that certain adrenaline rushing sense of excitement you get when you go to a gig and discover a killer support act that almost outshines the headliners. They sound like they recorded live in the studio and very little extra production magic was applied, except perhaps a few extra guitar tracks; there’s something tangible in there that you usually only feel at a live performance but Cancer Bats seem to have captured that essence and injected it into the very core of the CD which is released via the laser in your player. Whatever recording method, studio, producer and equipment they used to create this album, they should stick with this formula for all future releases. Everything is recorded at the optimum level with nothing overpowering anything else. If you want to concentrate on the bass guitar, you can easily pick it out; concentrate on drums, no problem; same for vocals and guitars.

Cancer Bats are from Toronto, Canada and have been honing their skill in their local area since May 2004, they toured the US towards the end of 2006 and as I write this review (Jan 2007), they are on the road playing in a few of the Canadian Western Provinces. Apr 07 sees them start a 24 date European tour with Chicago band Rise Against. They self recorded and released two demo EPs before signing to small indie label Distort. Singer Liam Cormier has a voice just right for this style of music; like he gargles with JD and rusty nails and is rough enough to sand down the front of your speakers. Guitarist Scott Middleton doesn’t go for any fancy guitar widdly-wankery or elaborate solos preferring driving riffs and chugging chords to propel the songs along like some musical juggernaut. The rhythm section of Andrew McKracken on bass guitar and Mike Peters on drums keeps everything tight. Mike’s kick drumming doesn’t sound anything too much out of the ordinary until you concentrate on it and you find it is quite technical; it sounds like it’s played with a single pedal which is becoming a dying art, with most drummers preferring to use either the accelerator double pedal or two complete bass drums. Then there are other drummers that really kick the ass out of it (Hammerfall’s Anders Johansson) by surrounding themselves with six or more bass drums.

I could go through all, or at least some, of the tracks and explain what’s happening in them, but each track has a certain sameness yet a significantly different uniqueness to it. Some with a steady tempo throughout, others with subtle tempo changes that could easily sneak past you, some with tempo and speed changes that are well telegraphed, giving you that little break to take deep breath before plunging into an air guitar playing bout of face ripping madness. If you take a click over to the band’s website or their MySpace account you can hear some tracks and clips from the album. Each track has the power to grab your attention, pulling you in and giving a sonic charge to your adrenal gland. Birthing The Giants is definitely not an album you could put on as some background music as you busied yourself with something else.

Birthing The Giants is Cancer Bats debut album and with a bit of luck will get them noticed by a larger label. If it doesn’t, then I hope a bigger named band takes a shine to them and takes them on tour in the support slot. I also hope that they haven’t put their all into their first album leaving nothing in reserve to build on for future releases as is the case in many instances when bands produce such a blinding debut. Somehow I don’t think this will be the case with Cancer Bats as even though their musical style has a timelessly classic quality about it and in some instances you will have a déjà vu, that sounds familiar moment, their musicianship and professionalism batters it into music for the here and now. A thoroughly enjoyable slice of uncomplicated ear candy that re-affirms the sentiments of many a grizzled old Metalheads (like myself) that ‘Rawk ‘n’ Roll’ will never die.
Killing Songs :
All of them!
Ross quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Cancer Bats that we have reviewed:
Cancer Bats - Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones reviewed by Tyler and quoted 88 / 100
Cancer Bats - Hail Destroyer reviewed by Goat and quoted 74 / 100
1 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 3 replies to this review. Last one on Mon Aug 13, 2007 11:01 pm
View and Post comments