Birthing The Giant
posted on 9/2006 By:
Given the current state of the emo-born hardcore scene, it is debatable as to which band is sitting on the throne. Whoever the ruler, there is no doubt that the successors are lining up fast. Such is the case for Ontario’s well intentioned, yet, PG-13 rated, rock ‘n’ roll hell raisers, the Cancer Bats. A band, maybe best described as the next bunch of dudes in line vying for a spot on the Volcom (or other skate giant) sponsored stage at Warped Tour. With them they have brought Birthing the Giant - their allegedly, highly anticipated record and are ready to…. well, take a number.
When it comes to a music of this nature, it is hard to take the band - so willing to describe its own music as a blend of ‘this, this, this and that’ - seriously. Especially when their purported mix – typically spun to their advantage by means of calling it ‘unique’ – is essentially, not only one of hordes others, but a blatant piece of trendy rock a-la-mode. Essentially the record boils down to little more than a bunch of up tempo punk rock tunes as interpreted by the Silverstein and Alexisonfire crowd - laced with gang chants ala With Honor - offset by a half-hearted, watered down Black Label Society riff and rounded out by an occasional Obsession era Eighteen Visions cock-rock snarl. Pretty much the punk, emo, hardcore, southern, rock ‘n’ roll hybrid it claims to be. Each is structured to end on the same speedy, standard note that it began on, breakdowns follow choruses, sing-alongs follow breakdowns and it doesn’t waver too much in between. They do come up – here and there –with a crafty breakdown or catchy sing along but they do little to liven up the rest of the otherwise dull record. There is no question that the heart is in the right place, it is even imaginable that the energetic nature of the music lends itself quite nicely to the live show and perhaps adds some of the gritty rock ‘n’ roll flavor so unconvincingly presented on the album.
It would be wrong to say this is the worst thing to see release this year, or anywhere near it. There are a couple sporadic measures where the band unleashes a solid riff and manages to make its music genuinely exciting but only at best, in that ‘guilty pleasure’ sort of way. The song structures and musicianship may be there in some form but apart from the lack of innovation, which isn’t prerequisite for music of this sort, the band just doesn’t quite capture the edginess or intensity of rock, hardcore, punk, any of it. There isn’t a track that stands out as either particularly good or bad. Each seems – on a whole – as flat and uninspired as the last.
The truth is, if decadent cocaine abuse had killed every member of The Bronx or had the boys in Maylene and the Sons of Disaster met their ends at the hands of some Alabama locals, “Deliverance” style - the Cancer Bats may have had something going for them. But times being what they are, what you are left with is a collection of fast paced rock ‘n’ roll songs attempting to be all things at once without being particularly good at any of them.
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