When Cane Hill turned up at the end of 2015, people soon began to predict, in equal measures of glee and horror, that we were witnessing the genuine return of nu metal. The band then spent most of the following year telling just about everyone who would listen that they were absolutely nothing to do with the much-maligned genre, despite their debut album, Smile, sounding so evocative of that era that it should probably have come bundled with a free wallet chain.
While there is still a great degree of ‘The lady doth protest too much’ at the idea that Cane Hill are in no way related musically to the likes of Korn, Mudvayne and Spineshank, at least on Too Far Gone you can hear elements creeping into their songwriting that hint at other influences: namely the grungy, squealing guitar solo (nu metal’s ultimate no-no) on Singing In The Swamp, the way frontman Elijah Witt channels the late, great Layne Stayley on the chorus of Lord Of Flies or the radio metal of It Follows, which has much more in common with the chest-beating aggression of Five Finger Death Punch than it does doing it all for the nookie. The irony of all this is that, actually, Cane Hill really excel when they do embrace the nu, allowing themselves to indulge in those moments of sonic boom and burst that are so beloved of the late 90s; the snaking, juddering groove of Erased is excellently bouncy and weird in a way that a band like American Head Charge at their finest used to be. Cane Hill aren’t going to be able to shrug off those comparisons just yet.