Cancer Bats
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Cancer Bats

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"Punk/Thrash Metal Outfit Spreads Love"

They have a name that would strike fear into the hearts of smokers and chiropteraphobes, but don't worry, the Cancer Bats are just here to have fun. They're also here to unleash their screeching melange of punk and thrash metal, which audiences have received as ferociously as the four-piece outfit doles it out. Their 2006 release Birthing the Giant - particularly singles One Hundred Grand Canyon and French Immersion, currently top rotation videos on MuchMusic - has catapulted them from Toronto hardcore urchin status to "It-dom" in the world of hard rock. The band started in 2004, when front man Liam Cormier and guitarist Scott Middleton decided to fuse sounds from Black Flag, Turbonegro, and Nashville Pussy, among others. Alexisonfire pulled the band out of obscurity, Cormier claims, by referring the band to Rise Against, who in turn took them on a European tour. "We've definitely gotten a big help from Alexisonfire, to help us speed up this process," he says, "To think two years ago that down the line we would be touring Europe for like a second time, it's pretty crazy, especially with a band as big as Rise Against." From big stadium rock - they have a gig at the Molson Amphitheatre with the aforementioned bands and Billy Talent tonight - to kitchen parties of 30 people, Cancer Bats' successful gigs have yielded a fanatical following, sometimes a little too fervent for the band.
"We were in Coldbrook, N.S.," Cormier recalls. "And this kid was totally gothed out like Marilyn Manson. Wicked kid and he was like, 'I would be honoured if you would kick me in the chest,' I was like, "Whoa, dude, you don't want me to kick you in the chest.' So metal. I ended up drawing a huge Cancer Bats symbol. Kicking that kid in the chest is like the same thing as signing a girl's boobs. I look at that as pretty disrespectful. I'm never going to do it. We're all on the same level."
Politesse is a big issue for the metalheads, which is the credo of their pseudo-gang within the band Be Sweet or Die. United by their BSOD tattoos, the Cancer Bats want to spread love despite their raging tunage. You better be nice... or else. "It's definitely spread to everyone in the band and we all have BSOD tattoos. If somebody's not getting sweet though, they're gonna get knocked the fuck out. They gotta step up. If someone's being sour, you gotta stomp that," Cormier warns. "Who am I kidding? I've never been in a fight in my entire life." - Metro Toronto


"Cancer Bats Can't Hardly Wait"

"If you're really passionate about something, it's going to break for you," says Cancer Bats' energetic front-man Liam Cormier. On the phone in an unidentified Toronto alley while sipping his daily caffeine fix, Cormier's excitement about Cancer Bats's forthcoming full-length is palpable. Titled Birthing the Giant; the album has seen its fair share of setbacks and schedule changes, resulting in considerable hype for its pending release.
"It's been in process for a long time, and that's where the title of the record comes from," Cormier explains. "It's been incubating for the last nine months." A balls-out sonic juggernaut that combines Southern Rock riffs with a classically hardcore vocal approach, Birthing is one hell of a record; had it shown up back when it was first expected, however, it's unlikely that the result would be so powerful.
"I think it would have been awful," Cormier says. "There was a point last summer where (guitarist) Scott (Middleton) and I were thinking we needed to get a new drummer. He and i used to write all the songs together, with me on drums and him on guitar. Whatever. We'll just bang it out.' In hindsight, that would have been the worst goddamn record ever."
Quite simply; Cancer Bats were never intended to be a serious band. Originally a side-project for Middleton, who played full-time in At the Mercy of Inspiration, the line-up they began with started to show its weaknesses when ATMOI disbanded and Cancer Bats became a full-time outfit. "We just focused on it more and really started progressing with what we were doing, and the guy that we had playing drums kind of wasn't progressing as fast or as much as we wanted him to." Cormier explains.
" I was writing all the drums parts and then having to show him."
Luckily, the solution to their drummer woes literally showed up in the form of Mike Peters, formerly of Winnipeg's Figure Four." He came back from tour and just emailed asking if we were looking for a drummer," Cormier says. "I was totally just like, 'Yes. When are you moving to Toronto?" And he was like, I'll be there in three weeks.' He totally quit school, moved to Toronto, and it was awesome."
With a new line-up now cemented, the band were once again ready to enter the studio. Through working with Distort, the local Ontario label made famous by the success of Alexisonfire, the band managed to hook up with producer Gavin Brown (Three days Grace), whose busy schedule pushed back the record even more.
"He is a mainstream rock producer, but he comes from punk rock and hardcore. So we'd play a song for him and he'd be like, "This makes sense 'cause Minor Threat did it," says Cormier. "At the same time, he brings other things like, 'Hey, Neil Young does stuff like this,' and we're like, 'Ah,word! Instead of just having a bunch of interesting parts, he helped us do our best to make cohesive songs. We didn't want to be writing songs to just have songs, and then realize, 'Oh, this totally sucks. We should probably go back to that part that totally rules."
Ultimately, Birthing the Giant benefits from Brown's production, simultaneously highlighting the grimy and accessible nature of their sound. " I couldn't be happier with how things turned out, even though it is so late," Cormier says. "This record was supposed to come out twice. We should probably give (birth to) something that's worth the nine-month waiting period." - Exclaim!


"'Devilish' punk album hits stores: Cancer Bats release new album 6/6/6"

They're back - Cancer Bats are making another Maritime appearance, but this time they've got reason to celebrate. The band's debut full-length, Birthing the Giant, is set to come out June 6 (that's 6/6/6 for those paying attention).

Cancer Bats' guitarist Scott Middleton says the band couldn't be more excited about finally getting a proper album into stores after years of touring without an official release under the band's belt. "We had been trying to get it out all year. We didn't really realize how much work it was going to take. We also didn't want to rerecord all our material because when we write new songs we would like them to be better than our old stuff. We thought about throwing in an acoustic song, but let's save our White Album for another time." White Album, Birthing the Giant is not. The album closely follows the spirit of Cancer Bats' previous recordings, which are a series of CD EPs as well as a seven-inch on coloured vinyl with handmade sleeves - a real treat for those who got their hands on a copy. Its 11 tracks are vicious blends of hardcore, punk, and metal - largely thanks to the musical experience of many band members. Middleton played in Toronto metal act At the Mercy of Inspiration, bassist Andrew McCracken plays in the traditional hardcore band, Urban Blight, and drummer Mike Peters was recruited from Figure Four and also played in Rogue Nation.

Middleton stresses that the quality of the new album is much better than anything they've done in the past, but still carries the same desperate energy that sees the band playing every note as though it's going to be the last they ever make.

"Oh yeah, it's Cancer Bats, there's no doubt about it. The songs we write and play have a signature energy and feel. There will be some surprises in terms of trying new things - some songs are more melodic, some heavier and faster.

We tried a bunch of different stuff, there's a wide variety. Liam still sounds like Liam, he's not trying to sound like Coldplay. It's like this metal-hardcore-punk hybrid. You can listen to this and hear better songwriting." Once the album comes out, Cancer Bats are going to focus heavily on touring for the foreseeable future. Although they missed out on festival appearances such as the Warped Tour - which generally wants bands to have albums out upon applying - they're going to focus on hitting all the big cities and small towns across the country. Despite touring for close to two years, the band has yet to make a trip to western

Canada, something they're looking forward to.

They also hope to promote themselves through outlets such as Much Music and MTV Canada, where they recently made a live appearance.

A video for Birthing the Giant's first single, 100 Grand Canyon received heavy rotation on Much Music, which prompted the band to record another video, this time for the song French Immersion.

"Our last video got a lot of play on Much Music and we're happy about that. It's totally made a difference to us. Our first instinct isn't to go play Much Music or MTV, it's a little far removed from what we do - which is kind of ignored. But out of nowhere these stations are taking chances and being aggressive in programming.

I don't see a lot of bands like us being played in the middle of the day next to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. We haven't compromised anything to do that and it seems that Much Music and MTV realize that kids want to see something different. If they want to support Canadian talent and down the line play awesome band like Risky Business, then that's cool," says Middleton.
- Here Magazine


"Year of the Bats"

After you've given birth to a giant, what next?

"Two thousand and six was an incredible year for us. We wrote and recorded an album [we're] proud of, toured a large portion of the world and had an amazing time. We made two music videos that actually got a decent amount of airplay, recorded a session at BBC Radio One in London, and played live on MTV and in venues from tiny basements to arenas and festival shows. I certainly think that last year was the best year of my life- hopefully things are just getting started," says Scott Middleton, guitarist of Toronto's punk/metal juggernaut Cancer Bats.

After a self-released EP in 2005, Cancer Bats signed to Abacus Records to release their first full-length, with Distort Entertainment handling things in Canada. The album Birthing the Giant was released in September to critical acclaim and saw the band travelling to Europe with Friends Alexisonfire in late '06.

The European tour marked the second lineup change for the band, with bassist Andrew McCracken parting amicably after a welcome-home/farewell show in Toronto.

"During our last U.S tour, Andrew told us he'd be leaving the band. [His] dream was always to be a graphic designer and he's amazingly talented at that. We're totally supportive of his decision. Our new bassist is a guy from Vancouver named Bailey. He used to play in Figure Four and more recently with the band Shattered Realm. He's a great guy to tour with because he's a monster on stage and he loves to gamble." laughs Middleton.

While the band is typically associated with the punk rock community, it's obvious that heavy metal plays and integral part in Cancer Bats' makeup. Constant Pantera and Danzig comparisons, plus the repeated mention of southern-rock elements in the Bats' press, are, according to Middleton, a great compliment and completely warranted.

"If there's one thing I've always thought was great about old bands like AC/DC, Black Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin it's the importance of the riff, the relevance of writing a memorable song and showing off your 'shred-abilities' in a tasteful manner. A lot of people listen to my playing and think of Dimebag Darrell or Zakk Wylde, but really, J Yuenger from White Zombie, Pepper Keenan from Corrosion Of Conformity/Down, Entombed, Metaillica, and Guns N' Roses have had the biggest influence," he explains.

With '06 being the biggest and busiest year in Scott's existence as well as his band's, it comes as no surprise that '07 is packed with plans including tours with I Hate Sally, The End, Rise Against, and The Bronx. They'll begin recording their follow-up later this year, which includes a split single with New York's This is Hell. - Ottawa Xpress


"With bands like this, who needs NME? Brit-press darlings Cancer Bats fly to top of Toronto punk/metal scene"

Ever since British music mag and unstoppable hyperbole machine New Musical Express called Toronto's Cancer Bats "the best punk band in the world," singer Liam Cormier has been fending off disagreeable critics.

"It seems as though everyone now is like, 'Fuck you, you're not the best punk band in the world!" he says. "It's like, I know."

Though NME has a reputation for shameless, headline-grabbing overstatement (no, the Bats are not the best punk band in the world) it might not be an overstatement to call them the best punk band in Southern Ontario - and that's not damning with faint praise, given the number of crusty punks in the Golden Horseshoe alone. (Been to TO lately?)

The Bats' 2006 debut long-player, Birthing the Giant, is a piledriver of a record, a mixture of hyperkinetic hardcore punk vocals and writhing metal riffs. Ben Conoley of Punknews.org summed it up nicely when he said, "This album is fucking huge. I think I broke a sweat just listening to it."

Though that Bats have played three cross-country tours and released a demo and full-length LP all since 2005, Cormier says the band was never intended to get so big so fast.

"The whole history of this band has just been in a rush," he says. "We've barely had time to think things through. We had a demo that we got signed off of, and then it was like, "You've got to write a full-length,' and then we're like, 'Oh shit'. And then we had to start touring and then everyone's like, 'You guys need to keep touring, but you also need to write a new record, so do that real quick and get back on the road.' We're cool with it, because we love what we're doing. We can't wait to do another 12 months of touring. But still, it'd be cool to have a little bit of time."

Actually, after being featured in the NME and on the BBC recently, The Bats should just be grateful they aren't actually British, since the Brit hype machine has a tendency to build up and kill their own idols with extreme prejudice. At least in Canada the Bats have a shot at a career.

Rather than play straight-ahead screamo, or hardcore, or metal, the Bats take their inspiration from disparate sources: a little Pantera here, some Minor Threat over there, even a dash of their friends and sometime tourmates Alexisonfire. But according to Cormier, The Bats' musical miscegenation goes down a lot easier in Canada and Europe than in the USA.

"People in Canada are a lot more open to different genres," he says. "They're willing to take it all in, whereas in the US it seems there are kids who listen to only one style of music... I think it's just that the US is bigger, so the scenes are more developed. In Canada, you don't have as many bands from any one genre- so you may be a diehard NOFX fan, but if you want to go to a punk show, you might have to listen to the Cancer Bats." - See Magazine


"Holy Cancer Bats, Man!"

When I call a band to conduct an interview, I usually tend to end up talking to at groggy musician who a few seconds ago was napping in the back of a van, who may have played a bad show the night before in the middle of desolate Northern Ontario, and who probably doesn't even like journalists anyways.

With the Cancer Bats, however, the experience was a little different: when the phone was answered, I asked whether or not I was talking to a member of the Cancer Bats and was greeted by a sonorous, "Fuck, yeah!" The interview progressed from there.

Ontario's Cancer Bats have built their success from the ground up, originally spreading the word about their band by spray-painting their bat symbol all over the alleyways of Toronto. When asked about the origin of their name, vocalist Liam Cormier explains that Cancer Bats are nothing more than "Scary Bats with cancer" - or perhaps, merely bats that give you cancer.

"Sometimes people ask, 'do you guys mean cigarettes?" he continues. "Uh...no. We're talking about evil animals."

That topic dispensed with, I moved on to a discussion of their album Birthing the Giant, so named, explains Cormier, because of the seemingly never-ending delays that plagued the recording. Eventually, however, things would work out for the best, as the album was released on the famed 06/06/06, a coincidence the band only realized after the date had been set.

"We all went 'holy shit!" Cormier Enthuses. "We didn't pick that date knowing it was the evilest day ever."

Although a show slated for the release date in Fredericton didn't produce any evil happenings one might expect, Cormier does think the show was especially amazing and wasn't sure whether or not the devil had anything to do with it.

Speaking of the devil, however, the Cancer Bats have started to become regular faces on MTV Canada, in both live interviews and performances. While some people, this reporter included, often regard MTV as a loathsome institution and a shell of its former self (back when it, you know, actually played music videos once in a while), Cormier and his mates see it differently.

"We weren't weirded out because we knew some of the people who worked there," explains Cormier. "It wasn't the big evil ordeal everyone makes it out to be."

Cancer Bats are the farthest thing from corporate rock whores, however, and actually became a bit of a problem for their booking agent by insisting to playing small bars, all-ages shows and community halls exclusively on their Western Canadian jaunt.

Local hipsters would be well served by taking in this show, because it will give them the opportunity to bitch that subsequent shows in places like Red's don't come close to besting the intimate show you saw at The Velvet Underground back in '06. - Vue Weekly


Discography

Cancer Bats Ep
Single- " One Hundred Grand Canyon"
Single - "French Immersion"
Single - "Pneumonia Hawk" - Heavy on muchLoud
Cancer Bats - Birthing the Giant - Released in Canada, US, UK, and Australia

Photos

Bio

The Cancer Bats have come to destroy. Fueled by a burning desire to rage harder, play louder and have more fun than any other band, Cancer Bats mix hardcore, southern metal and punk rock into a lethal rock and roll explosion.

The band originated in May of 2004 with singer Liam Cormier and guitarist Scott Middleton, former member of Toronto metal band At The Mercy Of Inspiration. The two wanted to form a project that combined their favorite parts of bands like Refused, Black Flag, Led Zeppelin and Down, among others. The line-up was rounded out with the addition of Andrew McCracken on bass and Mike Peters on drums.

The four-piece wasted no time writing and recording songs for a self-released demo that saw light in January of 2005. Spending the past couple years touring extensively all over North America with Alexisonfire, Comeback Kid, Every Time I Die, and Protest the Hero, the Cancer Bats whose explosive live shows inspire floor punching, wind mills and arm spinning (please refer to the art of hardcore dancing) has begun to establish its own devoted legion of fans!

With its unique blend of Hardcore, Southern Metal and Punk Rock, the Cancer Bats have garnered the attention of press around the globe. From being referred to as one of the hottest bands of 2006 in Big Cheese (UK), to receiving honorable features in Metal Hammer (UK), Chart Magazine (Toronto), Exclaim (Toronto), MuchMusic’s “It List,” MTV Canada, and Inside Jam the bats are no longer just a local phenomenon. With the recent release of the debut video for the single “One Hundred Grand Canyon” the band has found itself watching its own video several times a day on MuchMusic after receiving Medium Rotation and Heavy Rotation on MuchLoud.

On June 6th 2006, the Cancer Bats unleashed its much anticipated debut album entitled "Birthing the Giant" in Canada. Produced by award winning Canadian producer Gavin Brown (Three Days Grace, Billy Talent) the album features an impressive mix of songs that truly captures the band’s diverse influences and tastes. From tracks that inspire you to hardcore dance, or just rock out intensely with all your buddies, the album is a perfect mix of hardcore, southern metal, and punk rock. "Birthing the Giant" is released on Distort (home of Alexisonfire) and is distributed through Universal.

The Facts:
• “French Immersion” wins “Best Independent video” at the 2007 MuchMusic Video Awards
• Winner of the “Favourite Metal/Hardcore Group of the year” at the 2007 Indie Awards
• Nominated for “Best Newcomer” at the 2007 Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards
• Voted one of the top punk bands of 2006 by Exclaim Magazine, Kerrang, NME, and Big Cheese
• Birthing the Giant reached #1 on the National Campus Radio top 10 Loud Chart (Earshot!)
• Inked an Australian distribution deal with Shock
• Inked a US distribution deal with Abacus
• Inked a UK distribution deal with Hassle Records
• Secured an endorsement deal with Diezel Guitar Amps
• Video for “French Immersion” Heavy rotation on MuchLoud out of the box
• Video for “One Hundred Grand Canyon” Heavy rotation on MuchLoud out of the box.
• Feature articles and interviews: View (Cover Piece), Echo Weekly (Cover Piece), Wasted Youth (Feature Piece), Chart Magazine (National), Exclaim! (Toronto), Gasoline (Toronto), Metal Hammer (UK), Rock Sound (France), Here Magazine (New Brunswick), Pulse Niagara (Niagara Region), Monday Magazine (Victoria), Vue Weekly (Edmonton),Truth Explosion (Toronto), Voir (Montreal), Toronto Times (Toronto), Big Cheese (UK), Kerrang (UK), Hour (Montreal), NME (UK), Alternative Press (US), and many more
• MTV Canada feature included a week dedicated to the Cancer Bats
• Tours with: Billy Talent, Rise Against, Alexisonfire, Every Time I Die, Moneen, The Bled, Protest the Hero, Comeback Kid, He Is Legend, This Is Hell, Cursed, The Gorgeous, Johnny Truant, The End, Haste the Day, It Dies Today, The Kill Decibel, A Life Once Lost