Remember those few short years when nu-metal was the biggest genre out there? Bands like Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and Papa Roach were literally invading mainstream radio with screams and beefy riffs, and how cool you were depended on how baggy your jeans were, how many huge pointless chains you could attach to those jeans, and how long and greasy you could get your hair. Though many of those bands are more or less dead and gone (or, in most cases should be), there are a few that survived and are still staying strong with that template (Korn, Slipknot, Limp Bizkit), and some who changed their sound quickly over the years to not drown (Linkin Park, Papa Roach).
Now, with every strong genre that died comes a few revival acts, and one of the latest trying to bring the crown back to nu-metal are Louisiana’s Cane Hill. Aptly naming themselves after the now defunct and mostly demolished psychiatric hospital of the same name, the sounds we hear across their debut self-titled EP are equally as erratic, frantic, chaotic, and verging on schizophrenic. The vocal performance from Elijah Witt can too fall strongly within those descriptions, who sounds like he’s going through an emotional breakdown most of the time.
As already covered, the main agenda here is nu-metal, and nothing screams that more than ‘Gemini’, a track that could easily be confused for a Korn b-side from the ‘Life Is Peachy’ era of their career. ‘Timebomb’ also ticks an awful lot of the boxes that you’d find on the nu-metal checklist, and, much like their contemporaries and label mates Issues, they’re not afraid to shove some DJ disc scratching into the mix, provided by Ty “Scout” Acord of the aforementioned comparison, Issues.
The EP’s strongest offering, however, is also the one that sounds the least like everything else it has to offer. ‘French 75’ is a dark and ominous mainly electronic track of regret and failed relationships, a la ‘Wasp’ by Motionless In White or a large scope of Trent Reznor‘s work. Witt sticks mainly to cleans and almost spoken word, but the chorus hook, aided by an uncredited female vocalist, is one that helps this track have so much replay value, and is a track that could help Cane Hill from being just a band who are trying to get into a game that they’re at least a decade too late for.
Though there’s promise scattered throughout Cane Hill‘s debut offering, and they’ve clearly showcased their versatility and proved they’ve done their homework on nu-metal’s history, this also acts as one of the EP’s main downfalls. It’s hard to pinpoint what sound the band actually want which isn’t as broad as ‘nu-metal’, and that’s something that they’ll need to work out, hone in on and knock into shape, or else the lack of consistent direction is going to lead to confusion and a quick loss of interest within a forever saturating scene.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)