U.K. death metal veterans CANCER will make their debut performance in Athens on May 28th as direct support for their longtime comrades the mighty Exhorder.
Both bands renew their friendship on European soil and are ready for killer shows!
John Walker (guitarist/vocalist and founding member) along with their newest member Daniel Maganto (bassist) answered our questions commenting in detail on their 30years career.
Get your tickets here: https://www.123tickets.gr/el/events/exhorder__cancer_ath.html
Don't miss the chance to see CANCER live on their upcoming shows.
Thrash - Death Metal Reigns Supreme!!!
RockOverdose: First of all, welcome to the Rock Overdose page. It’s quite an honour as I’m a fan for the last 30 years. How do we find you at the moment and which is the current state of the band?
John Walker (CANCER): Hello, Rock Overdose. I’m good, currently drinking a very nice cup of coffee, as for the band we have just recorded a couple of tracks, a redip of “Into the Acid” and a new number called “Enter the Gates”.
Daniel Maganto (CANCER): Hi! Thank you for your time and this interview. As John mentioned, we have just recorded a couple of tracks and are getting ready for our next shows plus finishing the last bits of the new material. We’ve been pretty busy!
RockOverdose: It’s been four and a half years since the release of “Shadow Gripped”, which is one of the best come-back albums of the previous decade to say the least. How do you see this album now and how important it is for your career so far?
John Walker (CANCER): “Shadow Gripped” was a return to the band’s roots, this basically happened because when our first three albums got reissued by Cyclone Empire we decided to get together and play a few festivals, so we reformed and our guitarist Barry Savage played two shows and then split leaving the band as a three piece which meant we played a lot of stuff of “To the Gory End”.
RockOverdose: Remaining on “Shadow Gripped”, it has a vibe like the first two albums, I can imagine it coming out in 1993 instead of “The Sins Of Mankind”, which I deeply love. Was it intentional to go back to your roots to re-establish yourselves, or did the material drive you on its own to such direction?
John Walker (CANCER): When Peaceville got interested in the group we signed with them and recorded “Shadow Gripped”. Keeping the formula the same simple approach as when we recorded our first few albums. If we hadn’t played those festivals and we had still recorded an album, I think the results would’ve been quite different.
RockOverdose: Cancer have faced a lot of difficulties in their history but you’re still around. We would like to know why you split up in 1996, how you came back in 2003 and split up again and what gave you motive for a new start the last 10 years. Others would surely call it a day after all of these. What kind of force keeps Cancer alive and kicking?
John Walker (CANCER): Like all bands there are sometimes difficulties, when the group split up in 1996 it was because we felt it was no longer about creativity and more about “the job” and being told what to do, so the fun disappeared. Nowadays there are other factors that make it difficult for bands but we don’t need to cover that as we’ll just get depressed. As for what keeps the group going today is the shows and the fans, this for me is the prime motivation.
RockOverdose: Recently the band went through line-up changes. Could we know about the departure of the old members and how easy was to find the new ones? Do you feel kinda renewed with this turn of events?
John Walker (CANCER): The band has a new line-up, which consists of a couple of guys from the group Wormed: Gabriel (drummer) and Miguel (guitarist). We also have Daniel (bass) who I knew from my other project Liquid Graveyard. The former members stopped doing Cancer after the covid pandemic. We split amicably with no hard feelings.
Daniel Maganto (CANCER): John and I have been playing together for a few years now and he knew I was a big fan of the band, plus since both of us live in Madrid I guess it made the logistics easier. As for the other guys, not only are they my friends but, in addition to that, I work with their band so when looking for the rest of the members I knew it was going to be easy on both musical and personal levels. With all of us living in the same country again it is now much easier to plan things, jam together etc and most people who have seen the current line-up live say that we sound more energetic now.
RockOverdose: Cancer have always been different compared to each album. You may disagree but I consider “To The Gory End” more of a thrash than a death album, “Death Shall Rise” was pure death metal, “The Sins Of Mankind” something in between and even “Spirit In Flames” has a proggy aura. What should we wait of the next album and do we have a hindsight of when it may come out?
John Walker (CANCER): You're correct, all the Cancer albums have different vibes, I think it shows that we were honest enough to go along with what we wanted to hear and play metal how we wanted. The same will be the case with the next album.
RockOverdose: You are definitely some of the most responsible guys to transmit to us the feeling of your early days, seeing an extreme scene rise for good and becoming a landmark in metal sound in general. Do you believe Cancer got the recognition they deserved by contributing monumental albums in the early ‘90s, or do you think history owes you a little more and that’s why you’re still active?
John Walker (CANCER): I’m not owed anything. It's not important for me to dwell in the past, I continue to play metal because I enjoy doing it and I'll continue until it’s no longer possible for me, NO STAKE IN THE OUTCOME, the end is the same for everyone.
RockOverdose: We see many bands of the past reforming and offering quality material. Especially English bands seem to re-emerge from their ashes, Xentrix have done two excellent albums, Slammer came back, there’s a rumor of even Forbidden coming back, do you believe the urge of the bands’ past glory makes them claim their part in history or is it a higher need we can’t imagine? Which band would you like to come back, being maybe old friends of yours or someone to look up to?
John Walker (CANCER): I guess the band I would most like to see with the original line-up would be VENOM, preferably playing “Bloodlust”...
Daniel Maganto (CANCER): I would personally love to see Ripping Corpse back in the game.
RockOverdose: Many bands are known for their moment in time producing something untouched. Cancer are one of the few considered to have three 10/10 albums in a row. Did that ever bring you a higher feel of responsibility back in the day? Is it something that keeps you moving forward, to still be acknowledged and people not forgetting what you offered?
John Walker (CANCER): I’m lucky as our first album is still available. If iI had been told 30 years ago that “To the Gory End” was going to be available in the 2020’s, I would probably have laughed my balls off.
RockOverdose: Something you may not be familiar with, but “C.F.C.” is often used in social media in my country when people tend to… wish other people –mainly bad ones- to die of cancer themselves! What is that makes the strength of some lyrics be misused sometimes and how much do we tend to understand wrongly something that was not meant to drive you to negative feelings from the beginning?
John Walker (CANCER): I didn’t know about the CFC thing on social media, I guess people interpret song lyrics the way they want to, it doesn’t bother me as I have very very little to do with social media.
RockOverdose: Another aspect considering the band is the feel of the fans that the ending riff of “Death Shall Rise” is something like divine intervention and it’s too great to be written by humans. Do you think musicians know when they create something special that will come to stay? What was the case with this track or some other tracks of your career that you consider special?
John Walker (CANCER): The funny thing is most of “Death Shall Rise” was mostly written down in the pub...
RockOverdose: After 36 years of history, we will FINALLY see you in Greece, something we have waited for decades. How does it feel every time you visit a new place? We tend to know bands that come to our country mentioning to friend bands to also come and witness the crowd. Did you have such recommendation in the past or any proposal to visit us? What should we expect of your gig with your brothers in Exhorder?
John Walker (CANCER): Yes. Looking forward to playing in Greece, it will be a blast.
Daniel Maganto (CANCER): I visited Athens and some of the islands in 2006 and I really loved it. I’m superstoked to finally play there, I’ve heard it’s one of the best crowds out there and I’m a big fan of Greek bands like Dead Congregation, Dephosphorus and of course classics like Septic Flesh, Horrified, The Elysian Fields etc so I’m sure we will have a terrific time there. Exhorder and Cancer have shared a long friendship over the years and several things in common: several incarnations, line-up changes, well-received reunion albums on new labels etc and don’t forget about that Live Death split!
RockOverdose: Last but not least, I would like to thank you for your time in answering our questions and as a fan for some of the best moments of my life. What would you like to add for the end and which are the plans for your future? Take care and stay safe, see you soon in Athens.
John Walker (CANCER):Last words... Hmm keep up the good work and interest in metal music don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. CHEERS...
Daniel Maganto (CANCER):Thanks for the support and see you very soon!
CANCER band photos by Wietske Elzinga