Cancer Bats – Psychic Jailbreak (Album Review)

Cancer Bats – Psychic Jailbreak
Released: April 15, 2022


Liam Cormier | vocals
Jay Schwarzer | guitars and bass
Mike Peters | drums



“DNA, like a tape recording, carries a message in which there are specific instructions for a job to be done.”Arthur Kornberg.

It is undoubtedly peculiar to begin a review of a southern sludge hardcore band’s new album with a quote from a Nobel Prize-winning Biochemist, but this writer has a method to the aforementioned madness – read on.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is in simple terms a molecule assembled by building blocks called “Nucleotides” and can be found in humans and most other organisms. It contains hereditary material and our genes that make most organisms distinctive.

If one was to characterise Canada’s Cancer Bats as such an organism, this introduction may not seem so abstract. The nucleotides or building blocks can be viewed as the core members of the group who help construct the genes and hereditary material – in this case the Canucks’ “sound”, a tape recording installed with a message in their name.

What happens when an alteration occurs? For example, lead guitarist Scott Middleton resigned from the Bats in 2021, a distressing occurrence indisputably. However, after six full-lengths and a myriad of EPs, the now trio’s DNA and hereditary traits are still very intact; it is engrained within. Their seventh record Psychic Jailbreak is beyond testament to that notion.

‘Hail Destroyer’, ‘RATS’ and ‘Satellites’ are all devotees’ favourites of CB; these tracks also have another remarkable trait of similarity, phenomenally they are the respected opening song for three different LPs for the outfit. ‘Radiate’ is assuredly worthy of joining this list – this scribe can already see audiences screaming the words “Radiate radiate existence” with unbound energy; the Bats‘ DNA is certainly unblemished.

‘The Hoof’ is best described as: “How to create a portrait of Cancer Bats in a song”. Punk verses, sludge interludes and then an anthem to conclude which translates as a love letter from vocalist Liam Cormier to his passion for skateboarding – “My life was saved by skateboard”. Ironically the “Firecracker” is a skateboarding trick as well as a very suiting illustration of this cut.

Second single ‘Lonely Bong’ is therefore best depicted as: “How to define Cancer Bats characters in film with song”. A hilarious collection of skits and fun footage which also presents new touring guitarist member FEVER 333‘s Stephen Harrison (Nick Holbrook has also been enlisted); the track itself is arguably the best single the group have released. To almost summarise, it would land somewhere along the lines of an accelerated Witchcraft number with sprinklings of Goatwhore and a hint of Off With Their Heads, potentially.

JP Peters (Propagandhi) produced the release and understandably that helped direct CB to write a number quite inspired by metallic Canadian Punk icons which is wonderfully ‘Friday Night’, although that motivation is quite understood to fans and the band themselves. ‘Hammering On’ could be a forgotten track by High On Fire when they recorded the eponymous The Art Of Self Defense LP that has been reworked into a duet with the angelic Brooklyn Doran. This isn’t a fantasy, it is matter-of-factly fantastical.

Cancer Bats have released numerous split EPs in their career, ‘Crocodiles’ is the right direction for them to finally do one with Doomriders, a notion this scribe (and assumed countless others) would hope for. Then exquisitely ‘Shadow Of Mercury’ calls upon the now fallen Every Time I Die to a degree, perhaps more-so a “punkier” Entombed – regardless, it is a centrepiece and a true highlight.

The Ontarians’ actually have a tribute project entitled Bat Sabbath to the luminaries that were Black Sabbath. That element creeps into ‘Keep On Breathin’ though it is fused with Southern rockin’ styles of Michigan’s Wilson that thankfully encourages the party vibes. ‘Pressure Mind’ tends toward a Torche feel as a pleasant stir, if it were blended with the power of a Ducati Scrambler. To “treadwell” yet a little off course, ‘Rollin Threes’ revs with bursts of Disfear that are boosted with moments of earlier Coliseum.

The lead single is astonSHININGly the closing (and title) track and arguably Cancer Bats at their heaviest. Thankfully more Entombed worship is injected into this belter with a whisky shot of the debut full-length Maylene & The Sons Of Disaster crafted and their superb Southern breakdown moments.

As stated earlier in this article, DNA in actuality means Deoxyribonucleic acid and as discussed, Cancer Bats have under no circumstances misplaced their distinction built from their nucleotides and genes – it has conceivably mutated marvellously. So in conclusion, DNA in this scenario will also mean = “Do Not Avoid” when it comes to Psychic Jailbreak.

Cancer Bats – Psychic Jailbreak tracklisting:

1. Radiate
2. The Hoof
3. Lonely Bong
4. Friday Night
5. Hammering On
6. Crocodiles
7. Shadow Of Mercury
8. Keep On Breathin
9. Pressure Mind
10. Rollin Threes
11. Psychic Jailbreak

Rating: 9/10
Psychic Jailbreak is out Friday via Batskull Records / New Damage / Cooking Vinyl Australia. Pre-order Here
Review by Will Oakeshott @TeenWolfWill

About Will Oakeshott (88 Articles)
Funny bloke, writer, Journalist, Vocalist, bit of acting, music, comedy and dad joke lover. Love: music, beer, bodyboarding, movies, books.