Cancerslug’s Latest Album: A Review

Ryan Robinson

17 years ago, a punk band from Huntsville, Alabama known as Cancerslug was recording and releasing their first album. 21 full-length albums later, they are wrapping up the band’s life as the vilest band in America with their final release, “Symphony of Savagery.” This album marks the 22nd album in the band’s life and as the title suggests, this album is truly a savage and crude album, in the best way. Alex Story, the songwriter and vocalist, decided he wanted to wrap up the band’s life with a bang, and compile all of Cancerslug’s most vicious and cruel tracks together, and re-record them so they have the sound Story intended when he wrote the songs, since most of Cancerslug’s music was written and recorded in Story’s garage.

This album is by far the greatest release Cancerslug has ever put out. The song selection is superb and from song to song you are left feeling the anger that Story and Cancerslug are trying to convey like no other Cancerslug album before this. From Alex’s opening howls on ‘Demighoul’ to the stomping drum beats that Mike “Sixx Pack” Horgan is producing on the final track, ‘Shapeshift,’ this album, in its entirety, is still blowing me away after listening to it  dozens of times now.

   The album begins with a brief instrumental piece that involves the usage of orchestral instruments. This sets the stage and atmosphere of the album, and for the first play-through of the album, this is a nice addition. Although, this affection changes just after a few listens, and this introduction becomes quite irritating. What’s also mildly annoying about the intro is that it is not a separate track, and it’s just an addition to the first song on the album, ‘Demighoul.’ Complaints about the introduction aside, the opening track is a great hook that truly sets the mood of rage and anger for the next 17 tracks on the record. That being said, I won’t be reviewing every track on the record, for that would take too much time, instead I will give an overview of the highlights and the low points of the album, starting with the high points.

It’s still difficult to pick a favorite off of this album though, because almost every single track on the album is a contender for that list, but I did narrow it down to just one song, ‘Necrosis.’ I knew that I was in love with this song from the first time I heard it on its appearance in ‘By Spirits Unclean,’ which released in 2011. When I heard this track was going to be on this album I was more than elated. This song is a slow brew of the evilest and dark things, turning and twisting until the eruption at the end, and it is one of Cancerslug’s most musically diverse tracks. It is a true work of genius and to hear it as a studio quality track is a thing to behold. Other standout tracks include, ‘Final Harvest,’ with its bluesy start and intense ending, and ‘Rootwork’ with its psychedelic and surf rock sound that makes itself stand out as a truly special Cancerslug track.

While this album does include some truly wonderful things, it is not immune to problems. As I already mentioned, the symphonic introduction is a bit lackluster after more than a couple of listens, and it would be better suited to a different track altogether that can be skipped without skipping the entirety of ‘Demighoul.’ Another complaint is the song ‘Destruction,’ previously known as ‘I am Destruction’ on past Cancerslug albums. This song is harsh, violent and destructive, like any good Cancerslug song, yet it lacks the characteristic catchiness of other Slug songs. ‘Destruction’ is too unpredictable, although the more you listen to it, the fonder you grow of it. Actually, after multiple listens of this song, I am really starting to enjoy the creative lyricism that Story included. So, as a final note on the negatives of this album, there really aren’t many, and the ones that can be found are hardly objective negatives, just personal complaints about small things.

I continue to find more things to love about the album with each and every listen, and the songs I didn’t enjoy initially, like ‘Destruction,’ I am now starting to have a blast with. So, overall, this album is awarded with my seal of approval, and even the negative things that can be found in the album can be overlooked entirely, creating one of, if not the best albums of the year.

So, overall this album gets a solid 10/10, and absolutely is a masterpiece of an album.

*This album does contain extremely offensive material and is not suited for all audiences. If you are sensitive to intense violence, crude language, and harsh sexual references, you might want to stay away from this album.*
Symphony of Savagery released physical copies on the 13th of October, and was released on digital media on the 7th of October. It is currently available to purchase and listen to on Spotify, Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon as of right now. Go check it out!