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Review: Cancer - Shadow Gripped
Shadow Gripped

Label: Peaceville Records
Year released: 2018
Duration: 43:53
Tracks: 10
Genre: Death Metal


Review online: November 10, 2018
Reviewed by: Bruno Medeiros
Readers' Rating
How do you rate this release?

Rated 3.8/5 (76%) (5 Votes)

Shadow Gripped doesn't crush everything in its path right from the start, but it's clear on opener "Down the Steps" that those awful, AWFUL Cancer performances seen on Black Faith (1995) and the even worse Spirit in Flames (2005) have been buried in the past, as the song is a good warm up to the visceral blows coming after. One of these savage moments is "Garrotte", a visceral, fast, powerful track with a wonderful chorus that gives no rest for the wicked. It's an evil slab of macabre Death Metal, worthy of the band's name.

Continuing in the same vein is "Ballcutter", featuring Anders Nystrom of Katatonia/Bloodbath fame. Despite its overly simplistic chorus, the song is very well constructed and feels like a Bolt Thrower on steroids kind of tune. "Organ Snatcher" drops the ball a little bit with a mid-paced, uninventive approach, and albeit not being too good a song it's also not a filler.

Other efforts like "Crimes So Vile", "Disposer" and the title track all have the same proposal of favoring heaviness and that old-school Death atmosphere of the '90s over speed and mindless instrumental fretting. "Crimes So Vile" reminds me of mid-career Master by using slight thrash metal elements and "Shadow Gripped" is a classic, by-the-book Death song, but "Disposer" sounds a little bit flat and it's ultimately forgettable.

It is with "Thou Shalt Kill", though, that Walker, Buchanan and Stokes prove that they're really back to form. Best song in the album by far, this is a slab of pure, evil, eviscerating raw Death Metal. Sheer angriness on the drum and bass lines and vocals full of hatred will flood your speakers, grab you by the balls and remind you of what Cancer can do when in top form; their best song in more than 20 years.

After several years of doubts, eyebrows raised and harsh criticism, fans of Cancer can finally be at peace and enjoy the sweet, sweet sound of crunchy, brutal music played the right way once again. Sometimes evoking giants of the '90s Death scene like Malevolent Creation, Obituary, Massacre or even Benediction, but never losing the characteristic and singularity of what made them a legendary band, Cancer is definitely on track once again and Shadow Gripped is the proof.

More about Cancer...
Review: Death Shall Rise (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: Spirit in Flames (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
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