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The years have definitely not been kind. - 14%

hells_unicorn, November 14th, 2012

Just about everyone remembers the infamous comedic rant that Bill Hicks had against people in marketing, particularly the "Kill yourself!" punchline, but back in the early 90s when Cancer was a force to be reckoned with in the death metal world, no one thought that they'd become the musical incarnation of Bill Hicks' ire in that routine. Admittedly, Cancer had already veered off into a more commercial direction on their mid 90s exercise in hit-or-miss groove "Black Faith", but at least in that album's unfortunate case, something resembling hard hitting metal was being attempted. With the band's mid-2000s resurrection, all attempts at anything befitting the band's name and legacy have been carelessly tossed out the window.

What is heard on the majority of this album can be described as a bastardized middle ground between Fear Factory's groove-infused "Demanufacture" and the boring, plodding pile of ambient noise that was its reinterpretation "Remanufacture". The latter and more grotesque pile of synthetic auditory garbage is all over the sound sampled nightmares that are the last 2 songs on this EP, to the point of making them painful to listen to for their sheer lack of organization, frequent reference to sampled spoken quotes, and a wildly uneven production where any guitars are mercilessly buried under the mass of keyboard and percussion sounds. The only actual original metal song on here titled "Oil" is gutted under the weight of a heavily mechanized drum machine and features a set of contrived half-thrash riffs that can barely be heard above the tinny clatter of the drums. The vocal display reeks of Ministry and Pantera worship to the point of being a sleep inducing cliché, and are also difficult to hear clearly thanks to the overbearing drum sound.

But perhaps most vomit-inducing of all is that the band makes a really poor attempt to cover for an experiment gone horribly awry by including 2 poorly produced recordings, one of a classic track off their debut album, the other a butchered cover of a Celtic Frost song. A live drummer is employed for these songs, but his overloud and heavily tinny kit sound may as well be the slightly less annoying little brother of the drum machine that was all over "Oil". I can't help but wonder if maybe Cancer's early greatness left with Scott Burns (minus a bit of afterglow on their 3rd album of course) since they haven't been able to get themselves back on their feet since, but one thing is definitely for sure, he never would have approved a sloppy production job like this.

To add a little bit of irony to this unfortunate piece of political pandering (of about roughly the same quality as what Six Feet Under does in this area), Cancer actually fell into Bill Hicks' joke by doing exactly what the evil marketers were doing, putting a dollar sign at the end of everything. For an album that bitches about corporations, one can't help but notice how corporate this thing sounds, almost as if a board of directors had convened on how to sell an anti-corporate band to the masses in order to boost their bottom line. War for any stupid rationale is a terrible thing, but sometimes I wonder if it's as bad as some of the tepid music it can inspire. This is recommended only to people who think that "American Idiot" was a punk album and that Limp Bizkit has kick ass riffs. Anyone else looking for a good album bitching about pointless wars for oil should check out Abomination's "Tragedy Strikes".