LOUDER REVIEWS: 'You'll Never Break Us: Separation Sessions Vol.1' - Cancer Bats
Cancer Bats. Acoustic. Two words that absolutely shouldn’t work together at all and yet somehow do. 'You’ll Never Break Us: Separation Sessions Vol.1' is the first acoustic release from the Canadian hardcore legends, which swaps the aggression of Liam Cormier’s iconic growl for an almost country-inspired melody. The Hail Destroyer creators rework 6 songs from across their decade-spanning career in an attempt to raise funds for Water First NGO, an organisation that helps provide water purification throughout Canada for indigenous peoples in rural areas.
Hearing some of these iconic riffs re-jigged acoustically by Scott Middleton and Jaye Schwarzer is an odd but strangely comforting experience, and even acoustic, ‘Road Sick’ is still a hellripper – although one that has now been renamed ‘Road Sick Sick So Stay Home.’ All of the tracks on this EP have been renamed to reflect their slower nature, and a highlight has to be the aptly named ‘Lucifer’s Slightly Less Rocking Chair', which is a fantastic reworking of the iconic 'Hail Destroyer' track that has inspired pits for over 10 years, and now makes an excellent accompaniment to the long nights of quarantine.
This EP also puts to rest some critical doubts about Cancer Bats’ ability to do more than just write fantastic punk songs, and it shows a softer side to them that many doubted existed. If you’ve ever seen Liam going absolutely ape shit on stage then it can be hard to imagine him crooning away over an acoustic guitar, however with their earlier Instagram acoustic sessions, and now 'You’ll Never Break Us...', it is clear that he is just as talented in a much more chilled environment as he is when he throws his mullet around on stage.
It’s coming up to 3 years since the last Cancer Bats full release, 2018’s sublime 'The Spark That Moves' and whilst the pandemic might have slowed down their plans for a follow up, 'You’ll Never Break Us...' is a fantastic way to sate those Cancer Bats itches whilst we wait for new music. Plus it’s not like they’re a band who’ve never taken risks or fun side projects before – after all this is the band who have invented Bat Sabbath, their very own Black Sabbath tribute band. Cancer Bats are always the most fun band to ever go and see, and they are never too full of themselves to not have fun, and now they’re simply adding another string to their bow.
This is 'Separation Sessions Vol.1' so perhaps Vol.2 is incoming in 2021? If it’s as good as this then it will certainly be a welcome addition to the Bats' back catalogue, especially if it’s for a great cause like Vol.1. Whilst we hope they don’t go fully acoustic in future, a few additions to the set couldn’t hurt, especially as a way to catch a breather during a show. Long live Cancer Bats, and their unique way of doing things!
'You’ll Never Break Us: Separation Sessions Vol.1' is out now - stream the record here:
Check out the video for 'Deathsmarch To A New Acoustic Beat' below: