Iron men

Cancer Bats pay tribute to Black Sabbath with Bat Sabbath

Cancer Bats are bringing their alter ego Bat Sabbath to the Pyramid Cabaret on October 10, banging out tunes originally recorded by British heavy metal pioneers Black Sabbath.

The Toronto-based metal/punk band – comprised of vocalist Liam Cormier, guitarist Scott Middleton, bassist Jaye Schwarzer and drummer Mike Peters –  formed in 2004 and has released four albums, the most recent being 2012’s Dead Set on Living.

In 2010 at the Sonisphere Festival in England, Cancer Bats were asked to play a cover set. Bat Sabbath was born and has been alive and kicking ever since. 

“It just started off as this little thing and then thanks to the World Wide Web everyone was like ‘I want that party at my bar, venue or house’ so we decided to do more shows,” Cormier says, on the phone from the band’s first tour stop in Michigan. 

“We were told we could do Pantera or AC/DC, but we wanted to do Sabbath because we thought it would be fun, and it was. We were also thinking of a band that everyone seems to like across the board and one that didn’t have any double pedals because we didn’t want to buy different gear.”

Cancer Bats will take the stage for a full set before Bat Sabbath swoops in. Cormier says the sets will be a little different each night.

“We’ve been practicing a lot of different Sabbath songs,” he says. “‘Symptom of the Universe’ is one of my favourites. It’s kind of a crazy song that’s pretty all over the place. There’s so much stuff going on. It goes from being the heaviest song ever to being super psychedelic and I actually have to kind of sing, which is cool.”

While some bands might be hesitant about performing twice in one night, the 30-something vocalist seems pretty stoked about the prospect.

Plus, the band’s no stranger to playing multiple sets. Last year, Cancer Bats played six shows in 24 hours during its Pentagram Tour, a satanic-shaped jaunt of London, England. 

“There’s actually a lot of downtime in this situation, at least for me as the singer,” Cormier says. “With Bat Sabbath there are tons of parts in the set where I don’t really do much, I’m just running around in a cape and head banging. Plus, Ozzy [Osbourne, Black Sabbath’s vocalist] sings like 12 lines per song, which makes it even easier for me. 

“I think Ozzy used to leave the stage and rip lines, but I don’t do cocaine so I just stay and dance.”

As far as the band is concerned, Cormier says this is the last major tour it’ll do in support of the Dead Set on Living album cycle.

“We took this summer to just chill out after being on tour for the last 16 months,” Cormier says. “Now, we’re really pumped for this tour and eventually heading into the rehearsal space to work on some new material.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 5 of The Uniter (October 2, 2013)

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