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Out of all of the 80’s Death/Thrash band reformations, this is one that I would have put at long odds. Exodus was always thereabouts and the Death Angel reunion is a dream come true. However, I can’t say (with all due respect) that I was hanging out for the reformation of UK thrasher Cancer! Having said that, I am more than glad that they have. I’d rather review this than any nu piece of shite that gets thrown my way more often than not.
The most amazing thing about Cancer is that just before their demise in 1994/5, they were signed to a major label – East West. Not that they weren’t deserving of such a contract, its just that there were many other metal bands around at the time that had a larger profile in the scene. Unfortunately, the major label association was the death knell for Cancer and they mutually dissolved after touring on their ‘Black Faith’ album of 1994 (this was their fourth full length that followed 1992’s ‘Sins of Mankind’, 1991’s ‘Death Shall Rise’ and the 1989 debut ‘To The Gory End’). A lack of major label support and industry bullshit had left the band jaded and ripped off. According to then, the only ones NOT making any money at the time were the true creators of the music.
In late 2003, original guitarist/vocalist John Walker and drummer Carl Stokes got together with the idea of reforming the band. Original bassist Ian Buchanan was not interested, so they added Assert bass player Adam Richardson and a second guitarist in Rob Engvikson from Asatru (he also played with Carl and Napalm Death’s Barney Greenway in ‘Nothing But Contempt).
Signed to the ever growing Copro label in England, the first product from the new Cancer line up is this five track, quickly slapped together EP entitled ‘Corporation$’. The sole intention of this release is to get the Cancer name back out into the metal community and act as a thirst quencher for the new full length. As such, ‘Corporation$’ only features ONE new track. But what a killer track it is – entitled ‘OIL’ – it is a mid tempo thrasher with a great verse/chorus line. Lyrically, it is laced with classic Cancer cynicism – this time aiming their finger straight at the big business oil barons of the world. Production wise, the sound is heavy and cutting and not as old school as I thought it might be. However, I hope the full-length addresses John’s vocal mix as his is buried way too low on the aforementioned ‘Oil’ track. The other four tracks on this EP include a re-recording of one of their old thrash classics ‘Witchhunt’, and a cover version of Celtic Frost’s ‘Dethroned Emperor’ (Of which there can never be too many). The other two tracks are a little worrying - ‘Oxygen Theives’ is a new track but appears here as a electro-techno remix. The final track is an Ian Buchanan remix of ‘Oil’. The latter sounds like something Killing Joke would do but really, both efforts don’t impress me too much at all(and here’s hoping that they’re just EP experiments).
So, Cancer is officially back. The new full length is being recorded and UK/Euro and U.S shows are planned throughout 2004. ‘Corporation$’ is worth laying your hands on for the first three tracks only. While you’re at it, it might be a good idea to seek out their back catalogue.