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Out now via Bat Skull Records

Rating: 9/10

By Connor Matthews

The Cancer Bats are back with the feel-good punk rock rage they’re known for on their surprise album ‘The Spark That Moves’, which comes roaring out of the gates and doesn’t let up for an adrenaline-pumping 34 minutes.

Having almost lost the piece of the puzzle that makes them who they are on their last album ‘Searching For Zero’, the guys in Cancer Bats took a DIY approach to get back to their roots and find what it is that they stand for as a band. With ‘The Spark That Moves’ they have certainly rediscovered that ‘Spark’ and created an album with the winning groove and riffs combination that the previous release seemed to be lacking.

The album opens with a brutal roar – literally – announcing the track title “Gatekeeper!” before frontman Liam Cormier enters the song with his distinctive vicious snarl. This opening is a statement of intent – the Cancer Bats are back and aren’t pulling any punches. Each track is fist-pumping feel-good hardcore, and you’re bound to be ready for a stage dive by the third track ‘We Run Free’, a neck-breaking rock ‘n’ roll rush that could be equated to riding a rollercoaster.

Listen to ‘GATEKEEPER’ here:

What makes Cancer Bats so strong is that listeners can hear how tight they are as a unit – everyone in the band is pulling their weight and understands one another. With their previous effort ‘Searching For Zero’, they opted for an intentional stoner production. Unfortunately, this didn’t translate as well as they had intended, almost sounding muddy and sloppy. With this album the production is yet again tight and clear allowing those riffs to sound as big and chunky as they are live.

It is fair to say that despite being absolutely jam-packed with these riffs and hooks, which Cancer Bats do insanely well, the latter half does tend to blur together despite being only 34 minutes. It’s the kind of album you can put on shuffle and every song will be fun, even if you don’t know all the track titles.

With ‘The Spark That Moves’, Cancer Bats have succeeded in recapturing what makes them brilliant, creating some stellar songs that will sit nicely in the setlist with their other heavy-hitters. They haven’t reinvented the wheel but they aren’t trying to, this album is Cancer Bats doing what they do best – groove inspired hardcore, mixed with rock ‘n’ roll and full of massive chorus’.

‘We Run Free’ finishes with someone in the studio during recording exclaiming “Aw Pete, that was the vibe!” – and ‘The Spark That Moves’ is all that distinctive Cancer Bats vibe. If you’re needing immediate hardcore with rock ‘n’ roll grooves and hooks, look no further.