Cancer Bats

Birthing the Giant

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Gaining an American release about three months after it came out in the Cancer Bats' Canadian homeland, Birthing the Giant is about as close as contemporary post-hardcore punk has yet come to the insurrectionary furor of the early MC5. The Cancer Bats are less explicitly political than the Five, for all that lead-off single "French Immersion" makes use of the word "revolution" in its chorus, but there's definitely a seething anger to singer Liam Cornier's I-hate-everything lyrics and sore-throat vocals. Guitarist Scott Middleton has exactly the right ratio of garage rock distortion and hesher-metal riffage throughout songs like "Grenades" and "Diamond Mine," and the rhythm section has the ragged-but-right looseness that the best punk requires. There's absolutely nothing new on Birthing the Giant, but the Cancer Bats make excellent use of their influences throughout. [Note: the Canadian edition, on the Distort label, has fundamentally identical packaging and the same 11 songs, but in a slightly revised running order that front-loads the album with its poppier songs.]

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