About a year ago, the word on the street was Cancerslug would soon be releasing their final album, Hung Like Jesus. As Cancerslug’s frontman/vocalist/songwriter Alex Story also fronts former Misfits guitarist’s Doyle Wolfgang von Frankenstein’s band (called simply Doyle), it wasn’t entirely surprising that the demands became too much. What happened next? Hung Like Jesus turned into two albums, Sassy for Satan and Symphony of Savagery. These two albums completed Cancerslug’s Sadist Trilogy (beginning with 2013s Season of Sickness) and Story also managed to release two acoustic albums, Darker Shade of Love and Pure Hate. Which brings us to yet another new Cancerslug release, Fuck the Bullshit: This is Cancerslug. (Oh, and the next Doyle album is in the can with a May release date looming).
As fans have become accustomed, the album is 18-tracks deep and made up of new material and some re-recorded/re-worked versions of songs that have previously appeared in the Cancerslug discography, like Tales of a Butcher (“Alleyways & Ditches,” “Retroabortion”), The Unnameable (“Fetus Milkshake”), Rootwork (“How to Die Inside”), The Unkindest Cut (“Girlfriend”); as well as Story’s solo releases, Pulling the Plug (“Suicide Kingdom,” “Rapetrain”), Two (“Die on the Battlefield,” “Leechwitch”), and Darker Shade of Love (“Where the Blood Goes”). Together, this collection is another gem in the bands deep and mysterious back catalog.
The songs are gritty, pulpy shots of misogyny and murder made palpable by infectious melodies and catchy hooks. Often lewd or otherwise wicked, Story’s lyrics and songwriting are no doubt rooted in the Misfits brand of horror punk, but he’s pushed those boundaries even further than the band who sang about killing babies as far back as 1978. The mainstay rhythm section of bassist Cassie Baher and drummer Mike Horgan remain in tow, but are also joined by guitarist Kyle Creasy. The additional guitarist doesn’t change the band that much (it’s not like there are guitar solos all of a sudden), but as a whole the band sounds tight and the recording is relatively bare-bones. Rather than layering guitars to create some huge wall-of-sound, Cancerslug still sounds like a finely-tuned garage rock band.
Over the course of the album, Story rants, raves, and regales the listener with stories about abortion, rape, and related sundry items. Rather than sounding like a low-rent novelty act (i.e. most horror-punk), Story’s lyrics have a visceral quality that sets them apart from his peers. Rather than copping ideas from horror flicks, Story offers more original narratives and his stories sound more authentic. Indeed, the energy and rage he brings to these recordings is what makes this – and any Cancerslug – an exciting album.
Often lewd, gory, or otherwise wicked, Cancerslug isn’t for everyone. But, there’s no denying the brutal punch packed in each, often under 2-minute long, song. Fuck the Bullshit is a satisfying, pissed-off collection of songs that deserves to be heard as much as any other album in the bands collection.
– J. Kevin Lynch