Fast becoming one of the most interesting “heavy” bands on the planet, CANCER BATS have left a trail of destruction wherever they roam. Be it as their alter-egos BAT SABBATH or themselves, they’ve been constantly unmissable live and each new album is met with eager ears across the alternative music spectrum – ‘Dead Set On Living’ is no different;

Basically, ‘Dead Set On Living’ is an aggressive and swift kick in the nuts. In a way it’s more of the same from CANCER BATS, but that’s not really a negative point in their case: they’re an uncomprimising band, and they’ve done well here to evolve their sound but do so carefully enough not to give the fickle out there any excuses.

Stomping into action with opener, ‘R.A.T.S.’, ‘Dead Set On Living’ starts as it means to carry on with towering guitar work, crunching rhythms and great vocal work from Liam Cormier, and as it flows through a relentless 40 minute salvo of the excellent crossover metal/punk/hardcore that has come to be expected of the band, there’s rarely a dull moment.

Consistency is everything for band’s like CANCER BATS – any lapse in the high octane and heavy duty sound sticks out like a sore thumb – but here they’ve made an album full of tracks that not only sound fantastic on record, they’ll sound equally as great when played live – and herein lies the charm. The songs sound entirely organic, arrive without pretention and sound like they were written and concieved by people who love metal as much as their fans do. There’s no bullshit with CANCER BATS, and it makes them all the more likeable.

What it is about CANCER BATS is the way that they fuse styles together – there’s no lack of crossover metal/punk/hardcore/whatever bands in the world, but there’s something about the balance they’ve acheived that puts them head and shoulders above many of their peers. Every time the band snaps into a chorus (case in point – ‘Road Sick’), you can shut your eyes and imagine the songs being pelted out at dangerous decibel levels, and tracks like ‘Rally The Wicked’ and ‘D.S.O.L’ itself are just relentlessly brilliant.

As ‘Dead Set On Living’ pulls to a close with ‘New World Alliance’, it practically dares you not to come back for another listen, and ‘Dead Set On Living’ will no doubt further cement the fine work of the band so far. There’s no reason that it won’t keep existing fans interested as well as bring a whole new set of headbangers to the party. Certainly up there with the best so far this year, it’s an essential listen for punks, metallers and everyone in between.

TOM AYLOTT