Review: Cane Hill – 'Smile'

Cane Hill are an aggressive five piece nu-metal band hailing from New Orleans. Since forming in 2013 they have done nothing but exceed all expectations, from writing their debut eponymousEP, through touring with the likes of Hollywood Undead, The Acacia Strain, Asking Alexandria, Atreyu, From Ashes To New, and For The Fallen Dreams, to dropping their debut album ‘Smile’.

The album kicks off with ‘MGGDA’. Now, being an American band, and releasing this on the Fourth of July… Cane Hill show some serious guts and attitude. This song trash-talks America, expressing anger towards bad politics and a naïve generation. A brutally honest opener. ‘(The New) Jesus’, the first single to be released from ‘Smile’. A very powerful and crunchy track, with obvious expression of issues towards religion and discrimination; “What a nice white world you’ve made for us, with a perfect smile and God to trust”.

‘True Love’, the second track to be released from ‘Smile’, definitely interested me… Watching the video, and listening to the track and its lyrics, it tells a sorry state story. For me, it’s a story being told from a serious drug-trip, or a suicide attempt by overdosing. A lot of sick vibes in this track but, it has a ‘real’ feel to it, and hits home hard. ‘St. Veronica’, another track based on a higher power, or should I say, anger at a higher power. Struggling with belief, a “right” walk in life, rights and wrongs… An inner-body experience of disbelief, anger and continuous struggle. ‘Fountain Of Youth’ tells of  a struggle with some sort of mental illness, most likely being some sort of deep depression. Singing about people always telling you that you’ll be fine, but when is this time going to happen? Sick and tired of the same old feelings? Time’s passing by, and we aren’t getting any younger. ‘Cream Pie’ is one of my favourite tracks off of ‘Smile’, and the track that inspired the album title. Heavy, heavy bass tones and dirty vibes. This track puts it out there that people can try to suppress or tone-down any self-expression. Do what ya wanna!

‘You’re So Wonderful’, was the third single to be released from ‘Smile’. Taking from the lyric content and video aspect for this track, I would refer to it being inspired from a break up, with Cane Hill’s creepy and twisted vibes put into it all. This track is drastically slowed down compared to other tracks, but definitely does not lack interest. ‘Ugly Model Mannequin’, brings back the aggression and rage. I got anger and an “I told you so” attitude from this. Possibly vile feelings towards a certain person, or group of people? Being upset when something doesn’t go the way it was supposed to? Maybe it was never going to go the way it was supposed to? ‘Screwtape’ is the one and only single to be re-mastered and flung into the debut album from the earlier EP. This song preaches about drug addiction and fighting personal demons and destruction. This track comes across like that tiny little annoying “can’t do” attitude voice that we all hear from time to time (Obviously, when I say that, I don’t refer to us all being drug addicts… #cleanlife). Rounding out ‘Smile’ we have ‘Strange Candy’, a slowed down track, but still holding it’s heaviness and boldness. This track does not giving a single fuck about anyone, or anything.

Now, let’s be honest here, since hearing Cane Hill’s debut EP, I knew they were a band to keep an ear out for. They set their standards high from the get-go. The ‘Cane Hill’ EP was a 10/10 from me, and I knew that they would absolutely smash it with the release of their debut… and that, they have… completely out of the park! They have managed to speak about really fucked up issues, which a lot of lesser bands would have sidestepped… especially some of the touchier subjects, like addiction, but then again, they have also put across that they don’t care about what others think. A very bold stance, and I dug it so much! Cane Hill have a unique sound. They have taken themselves away from the ‘norm’ of the metal world, and created their own breed of metal, while giving strong hints of that famous old Slipknot and Korn sound. Heavy, crunching, vivid graphics and sound. A must listen.

Be sure to catch Cane Hill when they are on tour across the US on Vans Warped Tour, and UK/European Tour with Bullet For My Valentine and Killswitch Engage, at the end of the year.

‘Smile’ is available now from iTunes

Review: Carol Black


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