Bat praising the Sabbath

Cancer Bats play their take on Black Sabbath

AScott Middleton of Bat Sabbath

Photo by Rachael Griffiths

Canadian Black Sabbath cover band, Bat Sabbath, will be playing Dickens Pub on March 18, with Calgary band Chron Goblin before embarking on a tour across The United Kingdom. 

“We see a lot of people come out of head-banger retirement when we play these shows,” said Scott Middleton. Bat Sabbath is the alter-ego of Canadian hard-core punk and metal band Cancer Bats, which was founded by Middleton and lead singer Liam Cormier in 2004. 

Middleton said that playing Bat Sabbath concerts are a great experience for the band, because playing Black Sabbath songs live with a Cancer Bats twist helps to make the connection between older metal fans and the new generation. 

“It’s crazy playing Sabbath live,” said Middleton. As Bat Sabbath, the band plays the hits, not the deep cuts of Black Sabbath. 

He said the ideas for new Cancer Bats songs come from playing Bat Sabbath concerts because they learn what kinds of songs their audiences enjoy. The goal for Bat Sabbath shows is to keep things light-hearted, and to keep people entertained and having fun. 

“I wouldn’t be surprised if we joined them on stage,” said Devin “Darty” Purdy, guitarist for Chron Goblin.

Chron Goblin, a rock band from Calgary will be playing their last local show with Bat Sabbath at Dickens Pub, before embarking on a tour of their own in The United Kingdom. “We’re really fortunate to be from here,” said “Darty.”

He also said that Calgary has enabled his band to play all around the world. 

Although Cancer Bats is now able to embark on a headlining tour under the name of Bat Sabbath, Middleton said the band wasn’t always a serious venture, and that it actually started as a joke.

He said the idea for Bat Sabbath came about in 2011 while Cancer Bats were playing at Sonisphere, a touring European music festival with a focus on metal, when a spot in the festival’s lineup suddenly opened up due to a cancellation. 

Cancer Bats jokingly said that they were working on playing some Black Sabbath cover songs together and that they could fill the spot. The promotor took the joke seriously, and penned the band down to play as Bat Sabbath. 

Middleton said that Cancer Bats always play The Gateway when rolling through Calgary on their headlining tours. “Every time’s been amazing,” said Middleton. He also said that a smaller venue like The Gateway helps to make concerts more intimate. 

Cancer Bats were nominated for three Juno Awards, in 2009 for New Group of the Year, 2011 for Rock Album of the Year and in 2013 for Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year. 

Cormier and Middleton founded Cancer Bats in an effort to create music with their favourite aspects of both heavy metal and hard-core punk. In 2013, they released a six song EP entitled Bastards of Reality under the Bat Sabbath alter-ego.

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