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Track By Track: Cancer Bats

Rock Sound
Rock Sound 29 March 2010 at 17.45

Cancer Bats sit down with Rock Sound to talk us through their new album 'Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones'.

'Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones', the new record from the Cancer Bats, is set to be one of the best records 2010 will have to offer.

Rock Sound recently gathered guitarist Scott Middleton, drummer Mike Peters and vocalist Liam Cormier together so they could talk you through their third album track by track...

1. 'Sleep This Away'
Liam Cormier (vocals): “This is our epic stoner jam. It’s easily the heaviest thing we’ve ever done, and the guys wrote the music in about an hour.”
Scott Middleton (guitar): “I have this effects processor called a Rocktron Xpression, and there’s a preset on there called ‘The Beast’ that shifts your guitar down a full octave so it sounds like a bass. It also makes it sound like you’re playing in slow motion. I used it on this song, and played it for a friend who said it sounded like an orchestra in hell. I was like, ‘That’s what I wanna hear.’”

2. 'Trust No One'
"The working title for this was ‘Radiation.’ It’s one of the first songs we wrote for the album, and it rips. It’s like a total death n’ roll Entombed kinda thing. The song is about me being sick of being robbed, which has happened a lot. We’ve had van break-ins; I had my bag stolen from work; I got robbed at knifepoint when I was 20. I’m just sick of people taking shit. So I wrote this song for everybody who’s been fucked around.”

3. 'Dead Wrong'
"This is actually gonna be the first single, and we’re gonna shoot a video for it, too. It’s about how as we get older, we get more set in our ways. It’s about getting to the point in your life we’re you realize that this is the way you’re gonna be for the rest of your life. There’s a line in the song that goes, ‘If what you have is right, then I’ll live dead wrong.’ It’s like if what you’re doing is considered right and normal, I’ll do the complete opposite, because I don’t wanna have anything to do with what you have. For us, it’s about realizing that we’re probably gonna be in a band for the rest of our lives, and we’re not gonna get a house and get married and have kids.”

4. 'Doomed To Fail'
Mike Peters (drums):
“This was one of those songs we almost scrapped but ended up using. The working title was ‘Alice In Dust’ because we thought it sounded like Alice In Chains and Sevendust.”
Cormier: “This song is about how there’s no point in not trying something, even if you fail. Even if you fuck up, you’ll learn something, so you should never hold yourself back. There’s a line that goes, ‘Time is just the ticking of a clock, man’” and that was actually Mikey’s idea because when I was writing the lyrics, he texted me and said, ‘We should totally do a song where you say, ‘man’ at the end of a line.’"

5. 'Black Metal Bicycle'
Cormier: “We thought part of this song sounded kinda like Danzig, so the working title was ‘The Zigger.’ But the lyrics are about being a nihilist and getting judged by how you look. I imagine it like you’re riding your bike and people are scowling at you, like, ‘Fuckin’ metal kids.’ The nihilist thing comes from when I first started shaving the sides of my head and wearing this bang-fang thing, I had dinner with my parents and my mom asked me if I was a nihilist. My dad and I just started howling.”

6. 'We Are The Undead'
“This song is just about being alive, about us and our friends and everyone we know who’s killing it right now by doing what they love doing. I just feel like we’re surrounded by so many people who are doing so well that it motivates us as a band. A lot of this record is about doing what we do and not giving up.”

7. 'Scared To Death'
Middleton: “This is another one we almost scrapped. It was originally called ‘Ripper Dog.’ It has a different tone than what we usually do. It has more to do with bands like Kyuss and Fu Manchu than Pantera.”
Cormier: “It’s kind of about how you realize there’s somebody who’s more important to you than anything. So it’s about my girlfriend, and the fear of dying alone.”

8. 'Darkness'
Middleton: “This was the first song we finished for the record. It’s got a really mean, heavy riff. You know that song ‘Sad But True’ by Metallica? This is our ‘Sad But True.’ It’s the kind of song you just wanna headbang to.”
Cormier: “It kinda reminds me of Life Of Agony, too. It’s about just fucking hating someone. Like someone does something to you and you wanna go to their work and fucking kill them. But you realize that you can’t, and that it’s not worth it.”

9. 'Snake Mountain'
Cormier: “The chorus is actually from a song we wrote for our last album that never got used. It’s got kind of a biker metal vibe, but it’s about people who sell out or do things for the wrong reason, like people who really wanna be in a metal band but play in a pop-punk band instead because they think they can make money. We meet people like that all the time.”
Middleton: “This song reminds me of when thrash metal bands like Megadeth or somebody do a main verse riff that’s really high up in the register instead of focusing on just chugging. And then when it gets heavier, it’s way heavier.”

10. 'Make Amends'
Middleton: “This one changed a lot in the studio. There was originally a lot more guitar in the verses, but now it’s just feedback. It just sounded better with the vocals. It’s got kind of a Helmet chorus riff, an Anthrax bridge and a Cave In guitar solo.”
Cormier: “This song is about being a shithead and learning from mistakes—like bailing on relationships when things get bad. When you have as many distractions as we do, it’s easy to walk away from people, but sometimes you need to actually step up and make it work.”

11. 'Fake Gold'
"It’s mostly this thrashy punk song but we couldn’t figure out how to end it, so we wrote this really fast, almost tremolo-picked part and put it at the beginning and the end. It almost doesn’t fit, but it kinda rules.”
Cormier: “This one’s about being bored with shit bands. At the time, there was nothing new that was getting me stoked. Like those bands that do all this Vocoder shit now. It’s kind of a snotty song. At one point in the song, I’m wondering if it’s me, and I’m just old.”

12. 'Drive The Stake'
Cormier: “This is our super-wicked gothy punk song. I think it kinda sounds like Ink & Dagger, so we were originally calling it ‘Drive This Seven-Inch Stake Through My Torontonian Heart.’ The song is about having a long-distance relationship and being away from your girlfriend on tour. It sucks.”

13. 'Raised Right'
Cormier: “This song was previously called ‘Falcon Fortress.’ This was the last song I actually came up with vocals for. It’s not super heavy, so I didn’t wanna have brutal vocals over it. Vocally, I tried to make it kinda like a COC song. I actually ended up recording all the verse parts sitting down. Because it was a little mellower, I tried to make it more of a personal song. So it’s about my parents and how I think they did such a good job in making me who I am today.”

14. 'Sabotage' (Beastie Boys cover)
Cormier: “The Beastie Boys have been my favorite band since I first heard them when I was eleven years old. We started playing this song live at festivals last year, and it was so much fun and went over so well that we decided to record it. We just did a video for it, too. It’s about us trying to find the Beastie Boys.”
Middleton: “Originally, we wanted to get them to be in the video, but that obviously didn’t happen.”

For more Cancer Bats check out Issue 134 of Rock Sound, out March 31. 'Bears, Mayors, Scraps & Bones' is out April 12 in the UK, the band will be supporting the release with a show in London on April 16.

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