Cancer Bats - The Spark That Moves

Twenty-three seconds. That’s all it takes to hear the pinching of guitar strings and Canadian behemoths Cancer Bats announcing their return.

The opening track of their sixth – and somewhat of a surprise album – ‘Gatekeeper’ has the band racing out the gates at break neck speed, and they do not slow down after that.

For 13 years Cancer Bats have, not only been redefining their own sound, but the way punk rock has been consumed.

With a mission statement of 2008’s Hail Destroyer, the four-piece have blended heavy chugging riffs, with hook choruses, with some insane technical guitar shredding thrown in for good measure.

Fast forward to 2018 and the band’s latest record, The Spark That Moves, is a return to that punch they unleashed 10 years ago.

‘We Run Free’ stands out as the track which will be the anthem of this record – I was fist-pumping whilst listening to the track on my morning commute to work – it offers up everything great about Cancer Bats, with a call and response hook to the chorus will surely have vocalist Liam Cormier encouraging people to clamber for his microphone during live performances.

This all topped off with riffs a plenty from guitarist Scott Middleton, which includes a not out of place face melter in the middle.

When it comes to the overall sense of the record it is almost as if the quartet have revisited all of their previous work and cherry picked all the best bits.

This is summed up in ‘Headwound’ which is the most stereotypical Cancer Bats sounding song, but in the best way possible.

Known as one of the most charismatic frontmen in punk, Cormier is in fine form with his lyrical prose throughout the record mixing up when to harmonise or launch a visceral assault on the ears.

It may have been three years since their last record, but it wasn’t until this record dropped that you realise, as a lover of punk rock, just how much you miss Cancer Bats.

The Spark That Moves is not only a welcome return from the band, but arguably the best record they have produced.


The Spark That Moves is out now via Bat Skull Records.


By Tim Birkbeck

Lover of all things music, wrestling and movies. The dream would be to interview Seth Rollins during a Modern Life is War show before going to watch a kick-ass film. Lives on the South Coast, Straight Edge