As stealth releases seem to be becoming more frequent over the past 2/3 years, hardcore punks Cancer Bats are the latest outfit to join the tribe of dropping an album at the public’s feet with a moments notice. But that’s not the only change in the Canadian’s record release brainwave; not only is The Spark That Moves self-released, but the quartet have done it all under their own label: Bat Skull Records. It’s fair to say then that this album is much more than just another cog on the wheel, it’s the creation of a whole new engine for the band.
A shock-like release makes sense here for Cancer Bats too, if you’re a hardcore fan of the band you’re almost certain to jump on its bandwagon, and the truth is: throughout its 11 song run time, The Spark That Moves does nothing but cater for Cancer Bats’ pre-established audience – in the best way possible.
The maniac, fret tearing pace of ‘Gatekeeper’, ‘We Run Free’ and ‘Heads Will Roll’ give you barely a second to catch your breath while the gritty, pungent tone of ‘Brightest Day’ and ‘Rattlesnake’ bring a squeamish, mosh inducing side of hardcore which sits absolutely perfectly within the walls of Cancer Bats’ unforgiving kicks of rhythm.
Perhaps the best achievement that The Spark That Moves grabs flaunts so effortlessly is its ability to take a straight up, spit on the walls hardcore ripper and turn its chorus into an irresistible party groove. There’s so much rough bounce in the choruses of ‘Can’t Sleep’ and ‘Winterpeg’ that you couldn’t be blamed for mistaking this for peak Every Time I Die, this is chaos in the most care-free form.
Don’t you dare be mistaken though, there’s no over reliance from Cancer Bats on making themselves more accessible, in fact, there’s no focus on it at all. There’s scorching riffs at every corner, punky bellows at every doorstep, but the build into truly sizeable choruses adds to the bands rough and tumble size tenfold, see ‘Winterpeg’ for what is possibly the best, most thorough structure the band have ever written.
The Spark That Moves is everything that fans of Cancer Bats could have wanted it to be, the band aren’t breaking new ground here – but they are continuing to look down upon their peers with consummate ease. An adrenaline rush from the first second to the last, Cancer Bats have struck gold here, and if anything – this adds further credence to the idea that we can trust bands in their independence. You’ll struggle to find a better hardcore record than this in the next 12 months.