Album Review: Shadow Gripped – Cancer


The only reasonable way for me to start this review is just to say “Bugger me”. Having been a huge fan of these lads and all general UK styled Death Metal for quite some time, and then not being the hugest fan of some of their later work, I must say I was a little worried to say the least. Having the old crew from all the greats back on board was a plus, and then the news that they had Peaceville as the label to release made it all sound so much more promising, but as with anything these days you can’t count your proverbial chickens until, well, they proverbially hatch, as they say.

Let us first and foremost not put down any of the other releases, as they too hold their heads high as far as any great band can. They all go through ups and downs, some return with a flourish and are welcomed with open arms, some suffer a great deal of inequity and just fade away, others slowly ply their trade until the time is right to take the world by the throat and kick it right in the sensitive regions once again, and say in no uncertain terms, “Fuck you, we are back!” it’s your choice to decide which category any band falls under as a fan, and here is my opinion on, what I can only call, a fucking well timed and well met piece of sheer excellence.

Opener “Down the Steps” is about as huge as being slapped around the face with a fucking giant shredding machine. No,not shredding like some poofy guitar wanker wannabe, more like actually having your face hard up against a moderately paced cheese shredder, or some kind of mince inducing device, that although not going at one million beats per minute, is still taking pieces from you bit by riffing bit. Such chunk, such a feeling, oh lordy, it sounds like they are back, and I hate to spoil it for you, so I will, because I am an arsehole and just say…Nah. Strap yourself in for the ride pal. You’ll thank me later.


Tracks two and three “Garotte” and “Ballcutter” at first didn’t grab me as much as some to follow, but after repeated listens, will in no time wind their respective ways around both your gullet, and your soon to be destroyed, previously mentioned, sensitive parts. The fourth track “Organ Snatcher” is where it became the dream again for me. Absolutely crushing in every aspect. Again we speak of riffs (well. I do), and may all the seagulls in hell kick your shithouse down if you can’t get a buzz out of this number. Hey, they don’t even need to steal or snatch my organs after this one, I don’t even own a piano, although I do have a pianola sitting around somewhere…back to the album anyway ha-ha.

The Infocidal” is tantamount to a talent show for messrs Walker, Buchanan and Stokes. All in their prime, tempo changes galore, and that solo sound as awesome as any early UK Death Metal album, or should that be early Cancer album, as they have had it all along. “Half Man Half Beast” has an almost ‘Entry into the Hall of The Gods’ feel about it, until again, the fucking riffs from hell start carving large cavities in your very soul. Much like their namesake, Cancer are yet again showing their ability to eat away at you, slowly at times, but always with devastating effect.

Crimes so Vile”? Yes, this is a crime. Technical perfection of the highest order, becoming the type of song that gets people killed in a huge movement of bodies in a pit, and with a rear end solo that is purely mood induced, no wank here at all, just fitting as it should be. It’s a crime alright, because we don’t get enough of this these days. Well, that’s a half lie, there are many tremendous bands out there this year giving their all without a doubt, but they are not this one.

Thou Shalt Kill”, well, what the fuck can be said! As Metal heads we are all prone to suggestion, as you know. Even better when it sounds like a biblical commandment. Lyrically far more intense. Lets kill everyone, or maybe not. “Shadow Gripped” makes you again realise just how impressive this release is, the sheer magnitude of instrumental fuckery these guys are capable is just amazing, and the interesting point is that some people are so stuck in the past that they won’t even care. Fools..

If you liked these guys at the start of their career, you are gonna love this. That’s about all I can say. So much goodness awaits the true fan of the one of the masters of Death!

Rating – 4.5/5

Get gripped right here!

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