Cancer Bats ‘Dead Set On Living’ Exclusive Preview

By on 19 January 2012

With the new album from Canadian hardcore/metal crossover mob Cancer Bats only a few months away, April to be precise. Terrorizer cornered  frontman Liam Cormier for an exclusive track-by-track breakdown of their latest effort ‘Dead Set On Living’. If you want to know how The Hadron Collider, Ogres and Devildriver’s Dez Fafara all fit in, then read on!

“R.A.T.S is just about being fucking pissed off. It’s kinda like my ‘Sorceress’ part two. In the first version there was two verses and it started off with “I never thought i’d have to write this song again”. It has a ‘Sorceress’ track to get all that anger out and then realising the world over and people asking for that song every night, it’s like man there’s no shortage of people being pissed off in the world. It kinda was around the D.S.O.L thing too, ‘cos I was just like, your best friend’s in the hospital and then you’re just like “who the fuck put him here?” Those kind of ideas start evolving in your head. So that was my “fuck you” to the world.”

“’Bricks and Mortar’ is the complete opposite, that song is just all about best friends and those people that you can count on, basically who keep you up. That idea that you build this structure, this strength of friendship around you and that’s the kinda thing that gets you through all these hard times, helps you out. So for me that was a big one, writing and thinking about all this stuff, these are the close people that you need shelter from the storm.”

“’Road Sick’ is my one tour song that I still have on the album, but trying to change up. I mean as we’ve been on tour for six years, it’s like now i’m not really trying to glamorise it, it’s trying to look at the other side of it. My big thing with this one too though was I didn’t necessarily wanna write this specifically for myself. When I meet people at shows, and talk to people, a lot of people come up to me and tell me they appreciate all the songs like ‘Lucifer’s Rocking Chair’ and the big one is guys who are in the army will tell me how they listen to ‘Hail Destroyer’ while they’re in Afghanistan and travelling. So it’s like my song for all of us, obviously the verses and stuff are specific about me but just the idea of being away from the ones you love, you’re just trying to get through and work as hard as you can. Even as I say in the chorus, it wasn’t exactly what you planned but you’re doing your best with what you’ve got. I meet guys who have one foot and they’re with their wife and they’re like “you know what, I never planned on going there and getting my foot blown off but man I listened to ‘Hail Destroyer’ every day while I was there” and i’m just like “holy shit!”. So that song was about tour but also about all those people that I know that can relate to tour songs just as much, if not more.”

“’Breathe Armageddon’ is my epic look at how fucked the world is! Thinking about how we live in an age that we should be solving world hunger, getting rid of all these problems but instead things are even worse. I guess it’s that more metal side of things where you just look at the negative things in the world, the idea that we’ve been able to discover the atom and things like that but then people use it to their own gains and to destroy.”

“’D.S.O.L’ that’s all about from my friend’s perspective, being in the hospital and realising he had to change up his life and how much having a doctor tell you straight up ‘you’re gonna die in a year’. Like how much of an impact, I saw that on my friends face the day I came in. That song is all for him and about his conversations that he and I would have, that’s directly where all those lyrics came from.”

“’The Void’ is a reaction to the whole D.S.O.L thing, it’s like when bad events happen, it’s easy to get sucked into just looking at yourself and looking at the negative side of things and being consumed with that and where that’s your only thought. So that’s kinda why I put that next to ‘D.S.O.L’ as well, because those two songs kinda play into each other.”

“I put ‘Old Blood’ after that, you have ‘D.S.O.L’, you have ‘The Void’ as the fall out and then you have ‘Old Blood’ that’s like, “nah, fuck that shit”, back on track, positivity.”


“’Drunken Physics’ is my jam, because that song is for our sound guy Julian Bruso who we call Bruce, who is an avid physics and science reader. Basically, when we tour, I do all of the night driving but i’ll get the dudes to come and sit up front and keep me company and we’ll talk shit. So, one thing for the last like two years, that Bruce and I have been doing is, i’ll drive and he’ll explain whatever physics book he’s reading, but he’s wasted and it’s like two or three in the morning when we’re driving. So he’s trying to explain black holes and all of these concepts to me when he’s fucking shit-hammered in the front. It’s my favourite thing in the world, I love having our drunken physics lessons. And there are nights where he’d tell me all this shit and then the next morning i’ll try and tell it to him and he won’t even remember. It’s the best.Actually, when we were in Switzerland we saw the Hadron Collider, we saw a piece of it on the back of a truck, or Julian saw it. He was freaking out, like this is the biggest deal and he knew where we were and he knew that we were near it and that it was under construction. So we were all freaking out along with him, but we had no idea what the large Hadron Collider was, we’re like “yeah dude! That’s the best!”. I have no idea, we just saw a gigantic pipe.”

“’Bastards’ is, again I know I keep saying that these are my jams but it’s like “ah! That song’s my jam!”, because that song is all about whatever walk of life you’re from. Being in music is kind of like this unifying idea and the more I thought about it and wrote about it, you know that’s where the idea of getting Kate [Cooper] from An Horse to sing on it and getting the idea for Dez [Fafara] from Devildriver and Coal Chamber to sing on it. All of those ideas are something that we’ve all experienced and I was sitting down with Kate before we were singing a part and I was just like “this is the idea of the song” and she was like “man, i’ve fucked up my life chasing this thing that I love to do and you’re writing exactly what I think.” I was just like, this rules, a woman from Australia being in music has the same exact experience as me. We’re talking about tour and it’s different shows, but it’s all the same, all the same ideas. So that was rad. And again the idea of Dez was in my mind, so like asking him and him being so stoked, ‘cos we’ve toured together and we got to meet him and I was just like “you’re the best dude”, someone who’s still, like the idea of fighting the good fight, [he] hasn’t given up and just settled down, got a house, got a normal job, that dude is punk as fuck! Still listening to hardcore, still listening to metal, still listening to punk, something like that definitely inspires me to keep going. So when I was writing the song obviously about different walks of life and different people, I’m like man, the fact that Dez is still killing it and still stage diving, like who’s Dad stage dives? Fucking Dez does!”

“The story behind this is kinda funny, this is the first song that I actually wrote, lyrically, for the record. I think it went up somewhere on the internet, but there was some thing like “Cancer Bats are starting to work on a new album” and all these kids were like “aw, this is the best!”, writing comments like “fucking can’t wait!”, “so stoked” and then somebody wrote like “fuck this band, when are these guys gonna stop making music” and I looked at it and was like, “oh you don’t want us to make any more music? Well guess what mother fucker, i’m gonna make music forever, just to piss you off. Like fuck you!” Like, how is me being in a band really affecting your life, where just like this is the worst, the fact that we’re putting out a new record. So I kinda thought of this funny response to all shit talkers, you know like in all thrash songs they’ll have this funny kind of aspect to it, this is like my vibe. So any of those shit talkers, it was the idea of a pack of ogres going into to their bedrooms and smashing their computers and eating them alive. That was my mentality for the song, so a fun song about that.”

“’New World Alliance’ is probably our most black metal song we’ve ever written, so it’s fitting that I wanted to make it proper evil [laughs]. But the whole idea with ‘New World Alliance’ is a rethinking of rules and laws, a bit of an extension on the no gods, no masters idea. For lots of us involved in metal and hardcore or in punk rock it’s like, we don’t fit in to the normal ideas, especially where a lot of us aren’t involved in religion in any way. So it’s looking at, well if we’re not involved in this then why are we involved in Christian laws, I shouldn’t even say that specifically, but just like a rethinking of everything, so that was that idea, that there’s a bigger group of us that all have this mindset, that are all thinking progressively. Rethinking our way in the world.”

Cancer Bats are playing a pentagram of six gigs in London on 21st April at Old Blue Last, Notting Hill Arts Club, Relentless Garage, Brixton Windmill, Barfly and then the Old Blue Last again. That’s pure devilry!

About Miranda Yardley

I'm Miranda. Bite me.

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