Cancer Bats absolutely levelled Rescue Rooms on Tuesday as part of their extensive UK tour to celebrate their latest release ‘The Spark That Moves’, which was released by surprise on April 20th 2018, almost ten years to the day after they released their iconic sophomore album ‘Hail Destroyer’. Their exhausting 19 song set took songs from both those albums and everything in between, with special highlights being “Lucifer’s Rocking Chair”, “Hail Destroyer”, and their legendary cover of the Beastie Boys track “Sabotage” sending the entire crowd into a frenzy. Frontman Liam Cormier began the show in a coat and jumper, and challenged the crowd to produce enough movement to force him to take off each layer throughout the set – which they finally managed during “R.A.T.S”. Usual Cancer Bats drummer Mike Peters had been replaced for this tour – while he was at home in Canada for the birth of his child, but his replacement – dubbed as the Belgian Beast – left none wanting, especially after he learned an impressive 19 song set, I don’t think anyone could tell the difference (except for the imposing size of the Belgian).
The openers for the evening were Nepalese metal act Underside, and despite not knowing any songs I was suitably impressed and will be checking them out again next time they tour – especially with the masked dancer drawing most of my attention. The main support were from a place that even fewer people had visited according to Cormier later on – Glasgow’s own Bleed From Within, who were excellent, playing a set mostly composed of their most recent release ‘Era’, which is a flawless example of modern metalcore, and warmed up the crowd perfectly for the arrival of Cancer Bats.
According to Liam this was about the twelfth time they had played Rescue Rooms (surely a venue record?), and I hope they never stop coming back, as they absolutely demonstrated why they are hardcore legends and put on a show that younger bands can only dream of emulating. I had the chance to interview frontman Liam Cormier before the show and here’s what he had to say:
Did the 10-year anniversary of ‘Hail Destroyer’ influence ‘The Spark That Moves’?
There was a bit of hindsight with the timing of it, we were already working on music when I booked the 10-year tour so it made sense to use it as a deadline. We had a bunch of different ideas about whether to do it as a surprise or give it away for free because we didn’t have a label and so we looked to Run The Jewels and other independent hip hop records to do something different than all of our other releases. However, we did have to follow a slight deadline due to our distribution deals so we made sure it was on the 10-year anniversary weekend.
How long before release was it written and recorded?
We were recording it in January (released in April) but had it written like in the year before, but I had booked the Toronto 10-year anniversary show a year in advance and everything else fell into place around that.
What was the writing process like?
This time it was really different, usually we’re all in the same city but now our drummer lives in Winnipeg which is about a 3-hour flight away so it meant we had to do everything differently. We did a lot of the writing on the Bat Sabbath shows or we did a lot of it individually, with Jay and I just jamming a lot to get the songs started which meant we had a lot more solid ideas to bring to the rest of the band.
Are you going to do more Bat Sabbath shows?
We always enjoy doing it in between records, it’s just a really fun side project and hopefully we can do more.
What are your favourite places to play?
Big love for the UK, we play it a lot and spent so much time over here so we can’t really do a five-day tour, we feel like we have to play so many cities. We always want to go to Brighton, and Newcastle and in Scotland we want to play everywhere – I feel bad we didn’t get to go to Inverness which very few bands get to go to.
Favourite festival over here?
I loved Hit the Deck, I love the idea of lots of bands taking over lots of venues it’s just a really cool style, but I love how Slam Dunk has grown too, and the stage we’re on is amazing – I’m going to watch our entire stage for sure.
Do you like playing smaller venues?
We love doing all the small venues, as an independent band it is great to play all these different independent venues. Plus, we’ve played all the same venues all the time it is really good to change it up and play all the different venues in the same cities. If you’re always playing the same venue it can get a bit stale both for us and for the fans.
Do you not ever get tour fatigue?
We try and keep them short, around a month or so – we used to do three months and it was a bit too much but now it keeps it fresh.
Is it weird being cited as an influence by younger bands?
It’s really rad, and I still love all those bands that I’m influenced by and I’m glad that all those bands like Sick of it All are still around so we don’t feel like the old men in the scene. I’m loving some of the new hardcore bands coming up too like Turnstile and Angel Du$t.
Dream band to tour with?
We’ve been really lucky to tour with lots of great bands, but I would absolutely love to play with Deftones, one of my favourite shows ever was Deftones, Quicksand and Snapcase as a kid and to play with them would be absolutely incredible. I think they’re so cool and they’re still reinventing themselves with every release, and all of their sets now are just as ripping as when I saw them on Warped Tour as a kid.
Have you ever thought about going down the BMTH reinvention route?
It’s not for us – no beef, I think it’s really cool when a band does that, but we have lots of other side projects that we do which keeps us doing Cancer Bats. It’s really exciting for us and we love the style of band that we’re in.
Underside are from Nepal – how did having them support this tour come about?
They invited us to come to Nepal, and after emailing back and forth they asked if they could support this tour, and after we met them and saw them play, we really wanted them to do our European tour. Playing Asia was surprisingly similar to playing everywhere else – culturally everything is so different but the metal scene is still so strong and similar to Europe and North America.