History & BiographyCancer was formed in 1988, hailed from Telford and played death metal. It didn't take the band long to achieve itself a name and even amass a following in Canada and the USA. Having left Obituary, guitar nomad Murphy joined the band for the second outing, which was recorded in the USA with producer Scott Burns. Murphy did not stay long and was soon replaced by Barry Savage in 1991. The second album's cover managed to garner some controversy. All in all things were going well for the band and with tours worldwide with Deicide, Demolition Hammer and Cerebral Fix, the future looked bright.
Things seemed to have picked up with a surprising record contract with a major label. Alas, soon after the release the band disappeared forever. This was possibly because of a change of styles, which saw the band sound more like a heavy metal/thrash act as opposed to the original death metal approach! The band claimed bad business dealing with Eastwest (the major label) with a tour with Skyclad being its last act.
Stokes later joined Assert before banding together with Walker to found Remission. Savage would session live for Cradle Of Filth and in 2002 do the same with Lock Up. The band announced a reunion in August of 2003 and also advertised a reunion gig for London for November. This was expanded to become a mini-tour of the UK. The band also gave news of a new EP called Corporation$. The EP was to feature a Celtic Frost cover, two new songs called Oil and Oxygen Thief, which were in the same vein as the Black Faith material according to the band, plus an old song called Witch Hunt. The EP would also feature a remix of the new track Oil by Ian Buchanon, the original bass player. The band's new member Rob Engvikson was also working on material for his own band, Asatru. Engvikson was soon turfed from the line-up. The man was let go ostensibly because he was not a versed lead player. His replacement was Dave Leitch of Pulverised. The band signed to Copro Records and issued Spirit In Flames in June of 2005. Following its second split in early 2006, former members guitarists Barry Savage (who was also working with the Quam Libet label for another project) and David Leitch, bassist Ian Buchanan and drummer Carl Stokes recruited Rob Lucas on vocals and formed a band called Hail Of Fire. The band also recorded a demo. Former drummer Carl Stokes had joined goth band No Love Lost. The British band had an EP called Submission & Seabound. The group disbanded in 2006.
The group re-appeared in 2013. Cyclone Empire was re-releasing its first three albums. John Walker, Ian Buchanan, Carl Stokes and Barry Savage were together again. Savage left in 2014. Cancer signed with Peaceville in 2018 and scheduled the release of an album tentatively called Shadow Gripped. It was recorded with Simon Efemy (Wolfsbane, The Exploited, etc.). The band released Shadow Gripped through Peaceville on November 2. The record was taped at Foel studios in Wales with Simon Efemy.
2022 brought an overhaul of the line-up. Three members were out and John Walker found three new members. Migueloud was on guitar, Liquid Graveyard’s Daniel Maganto was on bass and Gabriel Valcázar was on drums. The band was booked for the Stockholm Extreme Sounds for the winter of 2023 and Helsinki Death Fest (with God Forsaken, Corpsessed, Benediction and others) for the summer of 2023. The group was further booked for México Metal Fest in late 2023.
CANCER - SPIRIT IN FLAMES - COPRO
"UK death metal legends" proclaims the bio and makes one wonder whether the band Cancer believes itself in the same league as Pluto, Aristotle, Einstein or musically in the same level as Possessed, Slayer or Death. Let me assure you that the hyperbole is unjustified.
Apparently, there was no reason for English band Cancer to regroup. The band went away after signing a contract with a major, getting dropped after a shoddy release and now wants us to believe it is back again for real. Well, not with such musical output. The album is mostly downright bad. The riffs are mundane and derivative, the production inferior and the structure generally unpolished, but what is really working against the band is the vocals of John Walker. Even studio effects cannot save his powerless growl-cum-spoken word. He has no business behind a microphone whatsoever. The couple of respectable riffs and solos would have given Spirit In Flames a measure of passability, yet given the rest of the music and the aforementioned vocals the band's comeback album is absolutely a no-go area for fans. At least the album's title is right on! - Ali "The Metallian"