Cane Hill – Smile album review

The nu metal revival gets a faltering start with Cane Hill's new album 'Smile', reviewed here...

Cane Hill, Smile album cover

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Since Cane Hill’s inception with their Hammer-approved EP in October last year, there’s been something of a rumble about a ‘nu metal revival’ and now we’re finally here.

Or, in fact, we aren’t, as Cane Hill confuse the word ‘revive’ with ‘remind’, and spend 10 tracks sauntering down memory lane paying homage (sometimes too closely) to the year 1999. However, where nu metal was full of inherent swagger and bravado, Cane Hill strike with nothing but a sheer intensity that’s often lacking in depth and focus.

Particular attention is paid to figureheads Marilyn Manson and Korn, both in vocal delivery and instrumentation, as Smile is littered with slack basslines, industrial riffage and Jonathan Davis’s signature shaky-voiced talking – seriously, St Veronica could only sound more like Korn if it had bagpipes and (The New) Jesus is basically mOBSCENE. And while the LP is derivative there are glimmers of potential. True Love will make you “bounce in the mosh pit” as Fred Durst used to say, and the crunching beatdown on Fountain Of Youth is beautifully savage, but this effort lacks both the sincerity of Slipknot and the humour of Bizkit, failing to leave a lasting impression. Promising, but DJs won’t be ditching their Headbanger’s Ball CDs any time soon.

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.