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Cane Hill – Smile | Album Review

See what we thought of Cane Hill’s debut album Smile as the band continue a year of touring and prepare to support Bullet For My Valentine in the UK.

Album artwork for Cane Hill's debut album Smile

Source: Album Artwork

New Orleans heavy-rock band Cane Hill are currently wreaking havoc on the Vans Warped Tour after the release of their highly anticipated debut album Smile which came out on July 15th via Rise Records. Smile follows their 2015 self-titled EP which spawned fan favourite tracks like Time Bomb, Sunday School and Ox Blood.

The band poured gasoline on the fire a week before the album release with a premiere of new song MGGDA (My Good God Damn America). Cane Hill have had a huge year so far, with performances at Slam Dunk and Download Festivals, and it’s set to get more exciting still with the release of their debut album.

Their debut album Smile was produced by WZRD BLD in Hollywood and features 10 vicious tracks that are incredibly heavy and aggressive. Pretty much every song on the album is like a sweet punch to the face, with the perfect combination of raw, ruthless vocals paired with fast drums, technical bass lines, some hard-hitting breakdowns and one or two guitar solos. Cane Hill are renowned for having a few slightly bizarre features in some of their songs, and this is fairly apparent in Smile. From porno film samples in Cream Pie to atmospheric chanting in The (New) Jesus, there is definitely an odd and sometimes unsettling edge to this record. But this is what makes the record unique; the odd elements of the album ground it, and the electronic elements in some of the songs secure the band’s place in nu-metalcore history.

The synth-filled breakdowns in St. Veronica and ‘Cream Pie’ keep the album interesting and different, without losing any of the raw aggression from the vocals and guitar riffs. The album’s closing track Strange Candy comes as quite a surprise, with a much slower pace and more melodic vocals. On other albums, this might look out of place, but Cane Hill have such a diverse range of talents, you never know what to expect next.

This album is full of social commentary, with lyrics ranging from the state of America in ‘MGGDA’, to the phoniness of Hollywood in Ugly Idol Mannequin all the way to religion in ‘The (New) Jesus’, and it’s these topical observations which separate the band from a lot of others. Although some of the topics have become quite cliché, the honesty of the lyrics combined with catchy choruses and bouncy rhythms guarantee that crowds will be headbanging to Cane Hill all year long – and luckily for fans, they will have plenty of opportunities to catch them on the road.



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