Home Read Albums Of The Week: Cancer Bats | Psychic Jailbreak

Albums Of The Week: Cancer Bats | Psychic Jailbreak

Neither advancing age nor the pandemic nor the loss of an original member can deter the Canadian harcore stalwarts from kicking your ass yet again with their seventh LP.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE:Psychic Jailbreak is the seventh studio album from Canadian hardcore punk heavyweights Cancer Bats — and their first to be written and recorded by the current lineup of Liam Cormier (lead vocalist), Jaye Schwarzer (bass and guitar) and Mike Peters (drums), following the departure of founding member and guitarist Scott Middleton.

The followup to 2018’s critically acclaimed, commercially successful and Juno-nominated album The Spark That Moves, Psychic Jailbreak sees the beloved metal stalwarts stepping up their game once again, eagerly pushing themselves both musically and lyrically beyond what they have achieved as a band to date — and creating a record that is destined to invigorate fans with its punishing drum patterns, memorable riffs and infectious choruses.

Look no further than the opening title track. “We needed to kick things off with a total banger of a track that makes you want to pump your fist in the air, smash your head to the beat, all while screaming the call to action REJECT THE FALLACY OF TIME!” Cormier says. “The concept of a Psychic Jailbreak is to completely change one’s perspective on something — in this case it’s our ideas of fixed linear time.”

For Psychic Jailbreak, Cancer Bats once again enlisted the watchful eyes and ears of producer JP Peters (Propagandhi) at his studio Private Ear Recordings in Winnipeg. Over the course of three weeks, Cormier, Schwarzer and Peters saw their rough ideas exchanged in emails evolve from Garage Band home demos into thundering Cancer Bats songs.

One after another, boxes were being ticked, Mike’s signature powerhouse drums laid the foundation, as track after track of Jaye’s guitars were layered on top of another, all while they referenced their favourite Entombed, Metallica and White Zombie guitar tones. All of this fuelled Cormier’s vocal fire, inspiring him to fully push what he had to offer both in lyrics and screams.

“We knew this album had to be special,” shares Cormier. “Our band has never been one sole member tasked with all the writing. Over the last 15 years of releasing albums, it’s been a collaboration of the four of us forming all musical ideas. That being said, we knew that the three remaining Bats would have to prove our worth with this next album. We wanted to show Cancer Bats fans that an exciting new future was in store for us. To say the stakes were high on this album would be an understatement. We were all feeling a mix of excitement and nerves as we began tracking the 11 songs that would form this record.”

As vocal melodies began taking shape and adding different dynamics into the mix — like Brooklyn Doran singing a duet style on Hammering On, or Jaye’s distinct snarls filling out many a chorus — the whole album was starting to register as one of the best projects the band has ever created.

“On the final days, while adding the last bits of ‘skateboard noises’ and guitar shreds, we were all feeling our confidence levels rise with each playback,” Cormier says. “This last year’s worth of long hours and many late nights writing were finally coming together as a whole and fully formed effort. We were proud as a band and felt this new offering was worthy to join in the legacy of Cancer Bats albums.”