It's sad to see really that, the relevance or should that be, importance, of bands has been decreasing at an increasingly steady pace...now before you lose your shit, hear me out. Yes in recent times, we've seen more alternative artists topping the album charts lately than we have in a long time, but the industry is a little bit broken right now, so that doesn't really say much, being Number 1 lost it's sparkle a good while ago...I'm talking about the point in bands. Scenes and trends keep coming and going all of the time, the political edge to punk rock became cliche, rock stars are practically an endangered species these days...rock lacks that....something...so let me introduce you to CANE HILL; formed in New Orleans but named after a British mental asylum, this flash-back 4-piece sound like they've been plucked straight out of the golden age of nu-metal in the early 2000's, and fresh like it sounded back then, they appear really quite pissed off at the world! Having just dropped their newest album; "Smile"...is this more grim than grin?
We get underway with "MGGDA" (My Good Goddamn America) and immediately we're hit with a barrage of brazen social commentary...vocalist Elijah Witt is fed up of being spoon fed the American Dream, being force fed a way of thinking, a view of the world around them to comply with the unjust visions of governments and corrupt policies...it's an incredibly angry introduction and sets the tone very early on for this record.
First single "(The New) Jesus" follows up and you can see why they gained notoriety with the controversial religious tones of this track, it may be tame to many but coming from America's bible belt, this was never going to go down all too well back home and quickly got them attention, while album highlight "St. Veronica" isn't as intense but carries an incredibly infectious "Untouchables" era KORN sound at it's core and its' really good, and another stab at the hopelessness of the very notion of god.
"Cream Pie" is every bit as blatantly intended to stick a middle finger up at their industry peers as it appears, yes, even down to the inclusion of sexual / pornographic sound bites, while the equally questionably titled "Screwtape" provides another album highlight with its crunching riffs and overall pummeling slightly MUDVAYNE inspired sound, before we finish up on "Strange Candy", an unexpected shift in gears, bringing the album to a slower, mellower climax.
Is this all just for the sake of a trip down memory lane? A dose of post-modern nostalgia to prove nu-metal never really went away? No...this isn't about gimmick...this is about Cane Hill using the best tools for the job, as they have a voice and want to be heard. We're not talking the tail end of the death of nu-metal, we're talking early SLIPKNOT, MANSON, ORGY etc when bands were angry...the political climate we find ourselves in, in 2016 is screaming for answers and Cane Hill are making all the right noises. Smile? This should break your jaw...