“They do what they do really well but don’t expect them to reinvent the wheel” – a phrase I’ve heard many times when people are talking about new nu-metal stars Cane Hill. And, yes, listening to Smile that pretty much sums this record up in one hit.
Following on from their 2015 EP, the New Orleans band take the chaos of Slipknot and mix it with the downtuned sludge of Korn and in the process, mould it into something that sounds very familiar but still twisted enough to not sound like they’re merely aping a genre many metal fans thought they’d thankfully seen the last of. How Cane Hill manage to pull it out of the bag on Smile though is by having a sackful of cracking songs in their armoury.
While a band like King 810 rely on scaring the living shit out of you, Smile takes the hooks heard on many occasions through Korn’s genre-twisting back catalogue pumping them into tracks like opener “MGDA” giving you something you can really sink your teeth into. If you want dark-as-fuck though, then Cane Hill also do that really well on offerings like “You’re So Wonderful” where frontman Elijah Witt spits out his lyrics in a style that can at best be described as creepy-as-fuck.
On the downside we can probably do without the predictably offensive subject matter of “Cream Pie”. We had that many years again when Korn gave us the delightful “A.D.I.D.A.S”. Thankfully, there are few moments like this on Smile where the overtly macho, testosterone-riddled knuckleheadedness of the genre pops it’s head over the pulpit. Forgiving them that little musical misdemenour is easy though when the rest of the album is peppered with the industrial nu-metal grind of tracks like “The New Jesus”.
When all is said and done, Smile is a dark, disturbing record at times but also one that has many moments that will stick in your head. Twenty plus years ago, big hooks and twisted lyrics made superstars of some of the metal scene’s most fucked-up characters – have Cane Hill got that durability or is Smile just another trip down memory lane? Only time will tell on that score but, for now, Smile should certainly be an album to add to your playlist.
Smile Track Listing:
02. (The New) Jesus
03. True Love
04. St. Veronica
05. Fountain Of Youth
06. Cream Pie
07. You’re So Wonderful
08. Ugly Model Mannequin
10. Strange Candy
Release Date: July 15, 2016
Run Time: 34:19
Check out the track “MGGDA” here.