For me, Cancer Bats have never been an 'album' band. I do not mean this to be derogatory, they are one of my favourite bands- their live performances are electric, and they make some of the best hardcore/thrash around today. But almost all of their full-length releases suffer from a certain amount of inconsistency. Even their most widely-acclaimed album, 2008's Hail Destroyer, suffered from discrepancy- the ferocious title track remains my favourite song by the quartet, but it appears on the same album as largely forgettable tracks such as 'Bastard's Waltz'. So when frontman Liam Cormier announced last summer that he wanted to 'write some bangers', I hoped that it meant a more diverse and constant album was on its way.

Indeed, greater diversity is immediately present on Dead Set on Living. Whether it is the brooding dynamics of 'R.A.T.S', the grandiose distortion of 'New World Alliance', or the gang chanting on lead single 'Old Blood', every track is a distinct and thought-out entity. This diversity also carries through to their choice of guest vocalists- 'Bastards!' features both Dez Fafara from metalcore act DevilDriver and Kate Cooper from indie rock group An Horse. Rob Urbinati from thrash legends Sacrifice also puts in a strong performance on 'R.A.T.S'. Vocal diversity is also demonstrated exquisitely by Liam Cormier throughout the album- as well as his usual screaming, tracks such as 'Breathe Armageddon' feature drawled spoken word, and the chorus of 'D.S.O.L' borders on melodic. Cormier's voice here is as much of an instrument as Scott Middleton's perpetually-slick guitar work; its uses have been fully considered, and it is just as powerful as a subdued whisper (see the start of 'The Void') as it is at full pelt.

That is not to say that this album is wholly consistent- one of the strongest tracks on the album, 'Bricks and Mortar', is immediately followed by the blandest and weakest effort, 'Road Sick'. And yet, even these weaker moments are not without their charms. Dead Set on Living seems to support its weaker moments because of its diversity. Cancer Bats have always drawn together strands of influence from multiplicitous genres- hardcore, metal, thrash, punk and every else in between- and in Dead Set on Living, all of these influences seem to be fully explored.

Dead Set on Living also seems to have a greater energy compared to previous efforts. 2009's Bears, Mayors, Scraps and Bones was vitriolic and accomplished, but it lacked the vigour of the early material. The second you hit play on opening track 'R.A.T.S' however, you feel compelled to move, to nod your head along at the very least. I feel that Dead Set on Living is going to inject adrenaline into Cancer Bats' already spectacular live performance.