November 20, 2018

Cancer – Shadow Gripped album review

4 stars out of 5

In the early 90’s during death metal’s heyday, England’s Cancer was a prominent band with raw, catchy riffs and a creepy vibe. All deathmetallers know and love the albums TO THE GORY END, DEATH SHALL RISE, and THE SINS OF MANKIND. Then, Cancer changed their sound and eventually disappeared off the scene. Now, 25 years after SINS, they are back with SHADOW GRIPPED, a sick album in their old classic style! Let’s take a look in the crawlspace and see what’s in there!

The original Cancer lineup is back (John Walker, Carl Stokes, Ian Buchanan) and these blokes mean business! I can hear elements from GORY, DEATH, and SINS throughout the album, although SHADOW GRIPPED is more the pure death of the first two albums rather than the thrash on SINS. Opening track “Down the Steps” is inspired directly by THE EXORCIST, like in the old days with the horror movie themes. Mid paced and ominous, it sets the tone for the rest of the album. “Garotte” is faster and catchier with a HDQ beat and a fun chorus – FEEL THE PAIN SPIKE, CRUSHING YOUR WINDPIPE! “Ballcutter” is heavy, nasty, and straightforward with heavy bass. Anders Nystrom (Bloodbath, Katatonia) provides a guest guitar solo. “Organ Snatcher” is slower paced but brutal. “The Infocidal” has both blast beats and slower parts, vicious. “Crimes So Vile” is creepy and catchy with good guitar work while “Thou Shalt Kill is a blistering buzzsaw of riffs. Final track “Disposer” is about serial killer John Wayne Gacy, perfect way to end a death metal album. Overall, this a great album which has songs that stay in the mind like vintage Cancer. I would have preferred fewer vocal effects on John’s voice (echoes, overdubbing) but that is my only complaint.

Attention metalheads – this is the Cancer album you’ve been waiting 25 years for! Cancer has come back, and this time they are fucking malignant! The album is highly recommended and is one of the best of the year. CFC!

  1. Down the Steps
  2. Garotte
  3. Ballcutter
  4. Organ Snatcher
  5. The Infocidal
  6. Half Man Half Beast
  7. Crimes So Vile
  8. Thou Shalt Kill
  9. Shadow Gripped
  10. Disposer


Cancer is:

John Walker – Guitar / Vocals

Carl Stokes – Drums

Ian Buchanan – Bass


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