No matter how inclusive the various factions of so-called extreme music try and be, there will always be a divide between what proponents and fans of the underground and the mainstream think is cool and think of each other. It may be prejudicial and unfair at best and playground childish at worst, but it’s been a socio-cultural feature of this world since before Exodus was in its killing poser prime, long before “Enter Sandman” existed and god forbid if you didn’t tumble out of the womb already wearing a cut-off jean jacket emblazoned with an Angel Witch back patch!
All this jibber-jabber gets brought up in the context of this review because Louisiana’s Cane Hill is a band that writes music that flirts with both sides of the fence and, depending on your perspective, is dancing on a fine line between having a reanimated Paul Baloff beat them to a pulp with cans of hair spray and convincing people that they truly deserved to be on that tour with Superjoint last year.
If you’re of the mind that stirring any amount of nü-metal into any musical pot is on par with the diseases the Europeans introduced into the North American indigenous population (and, conversely, the indigenous disease strains the Europeans brought back to the continent), then Cane Hill’s second album might be one you wish to avoid like the plague, as it were. Verily, having them teeter-totter between bass-heavy, four-on-the-floor time signatures and unconvincing vocals spouting self-indulgence that border on immature dribble (the album’s theme has something to do with the personal discoveries made while binging on LSD) like they do on “Why” and the title track quickly relegates the quirky leads, references to elegiac industrial metal and prog-lite to miniscule saving graces.
Careful listeners will likely find their ears perking up in a variety of unpleasant directions in tracks like “It Follows” and “Lord of Flies” which move from sonic mortar-and-pestle force that might be credible with fans of early Fear Factory, Sepultura and Pantera knuckle-dragging to blatant attempts at appealing to whatever the hell is left of terrestrial FM hard rock radio. But then they go ahead and offer up the rapid fire redemption of “Scumbag Fix” before turning around and essentially ripping off both Pantera and Slipknot on “Fucking Hateful” and “10 Cents.” And this travelling around the circle of cool/not cool continues over the course of the entire record.
At issue is also the fact that with the flood of music on the market and the subsequent growing devaluation of the art form, the tolerance for listeners to invest time in a band that is still trying to pull itself apart from its influences is minimal. Especially when there are countless albums past, present and future that will deliver a quick fix. Think of it like this: Show No Mercy had Slayer trying to figure out the balance between traditional metal and punk, how to combine them while speeding everything up. But because a number of similar options weren’t as plentiful and the extreme metal scene was still in a relative infancy, spending time with a rough around the edges release like Slayer’s debut wasn’t an issue. Plus, it had killer songs no matter which way you look at it. As hard hitting and interesting as various sequences and songs of Too Far Gone are, how many people outside of ‘Knot fest attendees and those lamenting Revolver Magazine’s redesign are going to be sitting around to pay witness to Cane Hill’s development phase (plus, the tunes are nowhere close to Show No Mercy quality)? Granted, that’s still a lot of fucking people, but there are better ways to spend a Wednesday night.
Too Far Gone Track Listing:
01. Too Far Gone
02. Lord of Flies
03. Singing in the Swamp
06. It Follows
07. Scumbag Fix
08. Fucking Hateful
09. 10 Cents
10. The End
Run Time: 47:21
Release Date: January 19, 2018
Check out the band’s video for their single “Lord of Flies”.