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Cancer Bats, live in London

Cancer Bats return to the Capital

Over in Camden the last bands of Nightmare fest are crashing and banging hundreds of eardrums into dust, but across London at House Of Vans things are just getting started for the Crossfire Halloween party – featuring the return of The Motherfucking Cancer Bats! We went along to see what we could learn...

It Wouldn’t Be A Halloween Gig Without Some Sort Of Fancy Dress

Cancer Bats have truly thrown themselves into the spirit of things tonight. Giving us a taste of what the little Bats would have looked like when they were trick or treating around Toronto, Canada, the guys take to the stage in face paint decked out with blacked-up eyes and inverted crosses on their heads. A special mention to guitarist Scott Middleton who takes the first place in the costume competition with a gnarly goblin-troll-demon-type thing mask that makes it look like he’s coming along straight after shredding alongside David Bowie in Labyrinth.

This Is Cancer Bats In Their Element

We haven’t heard from the guys in a while, as they’ve been locked away working on their forthcoming fifth album, however when we did last see them the uphill trajectory had led to playing sizeable rooms such as London’s Koko and even the main stage at Download. Although the band conquered them with ease, there’s something undeniably exciting about seeing such a visceral band packed back into a small sweaty room – House Of Vans being the perfect environment for the guys to make a mess.

It Goes Pretty Much Exactly As You’d Expect It To

With this being a somewhat of a secret show with the band not being announced to play until less than 24 hours beforehand, the crowd is pretty thin on the ground when Bats take to the stage. However as they launch into Bricks & Mortar the room soon fills up. From here it turns into the ludicrous event you’d expect from a room full of beered-up folk in fancy dress who have just been given the treat of a Cancer Bats show out of nowhere. There’s not really anywhere to stand that’s safe without the high chance of finding an elbow or a pint flung in your face.

It’s Very Good To Have Cancer Bats Back

Watching them tear through a greatest hits set that covers four albums proves a welcome reminder of not only just how many great songs they have, but also how very few bands have managed to combine elements of metal, punk and hardcore into one delightful package and done so so well. A set that climaxes with the frankly ludicrous triple threat of R.A.T.S, Scared To Death and Hail Destroyer makes this a very welcome return.

The Band Aren’t Giving Too Much Away About The New Album Just Yet

Material from the band’s forthcoming new album Searching For Zero is sparse. However the band do make the bold move to follow those three mega-bangers and actually close the set with new song Arsenic In The Year Of The Snake. Being produced by the legendary Ross Robinson, the man famous for working Slipknot and Korn’s debuts, and his unorthodox methods in the studio, it’s every bit as vitriolic as you’d want it to be. It’s a ballsy decision and undeniably a bit of a gamble, but it proves to pay off big time. Not only does it speak volumes of the band’s confidence in the new album to close with a new song, but the fact that it sits alongside the familiar favourites and goes down such a storm bodes very well for the album when it’s with us in March.