Cancer – To the Gory End Reissue (Cyclone Empire)

Sunday, 27th July 2014
Rating: 7/10

Perhaps a bit overdue to have their catalog reissued, cult U.K. death metallers Cancer are getting such a treatment from Cyclone Empire. If we’re speaking in terms of where the band fell in the 90’s death metal pecking order, they’re probably C-plus league at best; a few jogs behind whatever was coming out of New York, and of course, the top-rung in Florida. In actuality, To the Gory End sounds more Floridian than British, the direct, almost too direct result of having Mr. Scott Burns mix and master the thing. But that’s what you got in those days when Burns was called upon: The same production job Death, Obituary, and even Sepultura received.

By displaying nearly all of the territorial traits of 90s Floridian death metal, Cancer did themselves no favors in the originality department. However, extreme metal in those days (and almost like today) wasn’t immune to bands copying one another – it was a quantity over quality type of thing, especially with brutal death metal. (Cue the scene’s overload and subsequent puttering out a few years later.) The riffs found on To the Gory End don’t rattle in the technical department, but they’re pretty nimble, as heard on “C.F.C.” and album standout “Into the Acid,” which is beefed up by some maniacal Slayer leads and a chant-worthy chorus.

Yet as To the Gory End wears on, you’re left to search for some new ideas, or even some separation from sunny Florida. It’s difficult to come by, but then again, this was the band’s debut, and chances are, they probably spent nearly all of their time leading up to this recording listening to the very bands that would make Morrisound famous. Therefore, for contextual purposes, the reissue of To the Gory End is worth a go, for hearing a bunch of Brits sound totally American is of fascination. Beyond that, it’s pretty third-rate stuff.

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