As musical exploration, the members of The Cancer Conspiracy delved into melodic, instrumental prog rock at the beginning of the decade. The Vermont trio released a three-song EP in 2001, and followed in 2002 with a nine-song full-length, The Audio Medium, which furthered its venture into progressive territory. In 2003, bassist Brent Frattini left to play guitar in noise-rock act Daughters, and though the remaining duo replaced him with Johnny Northrup, personal travails and a costly theft led to the group’s demise.
“We went through a lot—definitely a lot for three guys that were really close,” said guitarist/producer Daryl Rabidoux. “So we had to take some time away from each other. Brent moved. There was a weird tension with us because Brent, towards the end, was bummed out. Our van died on tour; stuff got stolen. That put us back to square one.”
Since the band’s cessation, The Audio Medium stood as its final released recording, because its new material was stuck in legal limbo with defunct Boston label Big Wheel Recreation. After Radar Recordings and Gilead Media purchased their rights, the remaining songs became Ω, the final Cancer Conspiracy album. Many of drummer Greg Beadle’s previous contributions are absent; as a result, Ω is a guitar-driven album. Beadle provided the gorgeous piano of “…to Sleep” and the buzzing synthesizer of “Loft Complication” on The Audio Medium, and simultaneously played drums and saxophone for a song on the EP. Yet the group’s guitar-heavy swan song doesn’t emphasize technical prowess over harmony. “Prog rock doesn’t have to be a bunch of guys soloing,” Rabidoux said. “It can be interesting, melodic, and full of tension.”
Rabidoux recently relocated with his employer, Strangeways Recording, to Providence, Rhode Island, where Frattini lives. The two have rekindled their friendship and again become bandmates, starting an unnamed instrumental trio in which both play guitar.
He described the new band’s sound as “pseudo-bass octave stuff on guitar. I’m a huge Melvins fan; I like repetitive dirges mixed with classic [King] Crimson-style stuff. There’s definitely some guitar wizardry. In some ways, it’s an extension of what we were doing—a lot of forward-thinking song writing.”