Cancer – Shadow Gripped
Cancer, the band with the, in close competition with pre-Tiamat deathsters ”Treblinka”, most offensive name in the genre, makes another try, their 2005-effort not being that successful, on a return to fame with the brand new album ”Shadow Gripped”.
The British trio released two, at least semi-classic albums in the early nineties, complete with a censorship of the tasteful cover of the debut (and yes, Spotify still censors parts of it, that’s why we buy physical formats…) and although overshadowed by more successful countrymen as Carcass and Bolt Thrower they gained some fame with their typical late eighties, early nineties take on Death Metal and of course a return to the style of those albums should be a real treat!
However we aren’t that lucky, although the sound and somewhat sloppy performance on ”Shadow Gripped” could be taken for a late eighties Death Metal-demo, the music could not. The record starts of pretty weak with an ill fitting ”Primordial”-sounding riff that then turns into somewhat of a simple Thrash Metal-song, and by Thrash I don’t mean the good kind of Death/Thrash as on the debut, but it’s a pretty catchy tune at least.
The more thrash-styled kind of music continues for a couple of songs but on the fourth song ”Organ Snatcher” something has happened. From here and on to the (gory) end the music is far more Death Metal-oriented, and thus in my opinion, much better!
The music, even in the more ”deathy” parts of the album is pretty simple, compared to their early albums and it is sometimes hard to believe that drummer Carl Stokes is the same person as the one blasting away on “To the Gory End” and “Death Shall Rise”, but although not that impressive it still contains all necessary elements ranging from doomy stuff to two stroke-Death Metal and even some grind parts.
Front man John Walker has embraced a more dark growl, differing a bit from his raw voice from Cancer’s haydays but he still reminds me a bit of his namesake, Jeff Walker of Carcass, and in my book that is something really good!
Overall, ”Shadow Gripped” is a pretty decent album, although neither especially heavy nor brutal, and most definitely not technical at all, and even being far from a classic, it makes an OK contribution to the English branch of Death Metal.
Title: Shadow Gripped
Label: Peaceville Records
Date of Release: 2/11-18
Playing time: 43:53
Stand out track: Thou Shalt Kill