Cane Hill is easily one of the most diverse bands under Rise Record‘s label and even in today’s metalcore scene overall. Yet with their new album Smile, they completely ditched the metalcore sound and have embraced the nü metal revival.
Cane Hill’s Self-Titled EP was a mix of metalcore with some nü influences, such as Korn and Manson, in a few of their songs like “Gemini” and “Screw Tape.” They still had appealing scene-fitting songs such as “Sunday School” and “Time Bomb,” so there was something for everyone. Yet with this new release, the album has a constant old school vibe throughout that just brings you back to the 90’s. Even the intro to their song “Stange Candy” samples a Sock’em Boppers soundbite. Instead of only one or two songs having these nü metal vibes similar to Korn, Manson, Slipknot and Rob Zombie, every track feels as if they drew inspiration from these leading forces. This is not to say that they are ripping off any of these bands, but simply stating that it’s great to have this resurrection in a scene of -core clones.
Smile is an adult playhouse filled with kinkiness and any other fucked up shit you’d want to add. Yet it’s done tastefully, from gagging to necrophilia. This album is beyond twisted and makes their last one seem like child’s play. The lyrics can be disturbing, the background ambiance is eerie and creepy while the instruments remain heavy. It’s a weird refreshing taste that’s also bitter, but there’s something about it that just keeps you coming back for more. The songs range from pure chaos and disturbance to even softer songs with slight oddities. The variety between both sounds keeps the album interesting and makes you excited for a second play through.
Yet with all the love towards Cane Hill’s sound, there’s only so many times I can listen to the lyrics “Gag me” and other variants of this. Some of the songs on this album may lack replay value and have lyrics that may not always be fitting to jam to, but there are some really great songs that just make this album feel whole. Whether it’s their slower paced songs with mainly clean vocals such as “St. Veronica“, “Strange Candy“, “You’re So Wonderful” or their heavier tracks that are vicious and disturbing like “(The New) Jesus“, “Ugly Idol Mannequin“, “MGGDA” this album definitely has very strong songs to choose from, while other’s tend to fall off and get tiresome or simply become too much after awhile. Yet Cane Hill is a band that grows on you and this album does the same.