This is Cancer Bats’ debut for Metal Blade Records and their fourth album overall. The press release describes this as a mixture of Thrash and Hardcore. Outside of the vocals, I don’t really hear the Hardcore influences very much. The Thrash bits are more apparent in the faster tracks, but even then I don’t think Dead Set on Living is hugely influenced by what I would consider “Thrash.” For me, Thrash is Exodus, Possessed, Slayer and Cliff Burton-era Metallica. Hardcore for me is Sick of It All, The Exploited, Extreme Noise Terror, Crass, Discharge, Agnostic Front and Minor Threat. Cancer Bats is nothing like any of those bands. These guys are more Mallcore than Hardcore and more mainstream Rock than Metal. The production here is really slick and polished. From a purely technical perspective, this is a very well produced album. I wish more Metal albums sounded this good. Musically, though, this doesn’t really do much for me. The songs that the accompanying press release described as “focus tracks” were pretty generic and really don’t stand out from the rest of the album. Usually, you want your “hit single” to be the best track on the record. “Old Blood” and “Road Sick” don’t qualify as hit singles simply because they aren’t any different from the rest of the tracks. They don’t stick out, and unless someone told you that they were focus tracks, you’d never think of them that way. This album is lacking in several things. The first one that I immediately noticed was that there are no catchy riffs at all. The closest we get is on the second song, “Bricks and Mortar,” which blatantly sounds like Rob Zombie until the vocalist starts screaming. The second thing that I noticed was that the songs don’t have any hooks or choruses. On top of that, none of the tracks have the least bit of melody in them, either musically or vocally. The net result is an album that is essentially a polished turd. Dead Set on Living is superbly produced, but musically crap. Maybe these guys kick ass live, but this album is a loser in my book.
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