Thursday 22 November 2018

Album Review: CANCER - Shadow Gripped

01. Down The Steps
02. Garrotte
03. Ballcutter (feat. Anders Nystrom)
04. Organ Snatcher
05. The Infocidal
06. Half Man Half Beast
07. Crimes So Vile
08. Thou Shalt Kill
09. Shadow Gripped
10. Disposer

When I was a kid, Cancer were local heroes. Shropshire was never really associated with Heavy Metal, so when I read in Kerrang! magazine that Cancer were from Telford, I couldn't wait to check them out. The album that had just come out at the time was their fourth record, Black Faith, which saw the band take a departure from their Death Metal roots and make something that appealed more to fans of bands like Machine Head, Dearly Beheaded and Pantera. I heard that some of the less open-minded members of their fan-base were appalled by this new direction, but I loved it. Cancer knew how to incorporate those fat grooves into their Metal, and made what I consider to be a fantastic album. Sadly, it wasn't as successful as it deserved to be and the band broke up.

When they reformed, they went back to their earlier Thrash / Death Metal sound, and their music has been in that ball park ever since. Shadow Gripped is their sixth studio album, and is the first to feature core members John Walker (Vocals/Guitar), Ian Buchanan (Bass) and Carl Stokes (Drums) since 1995. It's been thirteen years since the last Cancer album and a lot has changed in the world of Metal since then, even Death Metal believe it or not, so I was really interested to hear what the band would unleash in 2018.

Shadow Gripped is very 'Old School Death Metal' in terms of the song writing, production, delivery, lyrics, well... pretty much everything. Fans of their first three records, and early-90's Death Metal connoisseurs are going to lap this up.

There's plenty of slow Metal chugging riffs, bursting into guitar shredding, double bass drum-tastic Thrash onslaughts, brought to life with a raw, retro production. For me, the stand-out tracks are Garrotte, the wonderfully titled 'Ballcutter', and the final song, Disposer. The latter is a little more groove based than the other tracks, but without compromising its stomping ferocity.

If you love Death Metal, think the new Bloodbath album (read my review here) is the tits, yet think the new Deicide album (read my review here) is a little too polished and 'big-budget sounding', make sure you tell Santa that you want to get Cancer for Christmas!

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