Cane Hill – Smile

I think the main argument against the recent nu-metal revival has more to do with the fact that nobody ever saw any innovation in the genre’s greatest bands, instead focusing on the more monotonous likes of Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park. What do I regard as nu-metal’s greatest acts? Simple, really. It’s those groups that overstepped the boundaries and, despite still being lumped into the nu-metal category, managed to create a sound only they could create. System of a Down, Deftones, even Slipknot had their own little niche-these among others, are the bands that made nu-metal seem cool, rather than a tried-and-tested journey to mainstream success.

Newcomers Cane Hill may very well cite nu-metal as one of their core influences (or, perhaps, the one and only influence), but rather than play an abridged, improved version of that influence, they only really manage to produce a half-hearted homage to the outbreak of the sub-genre at the behest of the 21st Century. Sure, debut effort “Smile” is rife with bouncy, driving riffs and juvenile, angsty vocal delivery, but it doesn’t have a lot of charm or emotional value to entice the listener to further investigate these ten tracks. Instead, hampered by the likes of ‘True Love’, ‘Cream Pie’ and the woeful ‘Ugly Model Mannequin’, Cane Hill’s debut record falls flat in the end. There are various moments of promise here-The unique, quirky vocal synth effects on ‘(The New) Jesus’, the excellent songwriting in (almost) ballad ‘You’re So Wonderful’-but by the closing moments of final track ‘Strange Candy’, the listener will likely be convinced that “Smile” is either an empty shell, a mixed bag of tried-and-tested tricks, or a bit of both.

Perhaps the band’s ambition stems from their love of a sub-genre which, in its heyday, certainly brought brilliant results for some, but ultimately fails because there’s no real identity or force to be reckoned with. Albums like this are fun for those looking for a revival of a sub-genre recently forgotten about, and it’s easy to get over-hyped or excited, but eventually the novelty wears off and what we’re left with is something that collects more dust rather than gaining a loyal fan-base.


Released: July 4th, 2016

  1. MGGDA
  2. (The New) Jesus
  3. True Love
  4. St. Veronica
  5. Fountain of Youth
  6. Cream Pie
  7. You’re So Wonderful
  8. Ugly Model Mannequin
  9. Screwtape
  10. Strange Candy


1 Comment on Cane Hill – Smile

  1. I dug what I heard from this briefly skimming it. Nice write-up.


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