A successful sound can stick around years after it has been established. At this point, the members of Slipknot are still probably cashing checks from sales of their self-titled and Iowa records alone. Profound influence can be both flattering and all too familiar.
When the play button was pressed on Cane Hill’s opening track “Oxblood” an unsettling atmosphere filled the air that was soon broken by raw, shrill shouts and powerful growls. The top strings of the guitars were being abused with the occassonal dissonance abruptly wandering in. It soon became safe to say this, Cane Hill’s self-titled debut EP, was as nu-metal as could be. But more confirmation was needed that I was possibly listening to King 810.
Cane Hill are certainly embracing the 90’s nu-metal movement here in 2015, but adding to it a hardcore style of energy. This isn’t a new concept, however. Several bands have tackled this sound and moved on from it to either more metallic regions or grungy anonymity. With the start of this EP the search was on for what exactly, if anything, is setting Cane Hill apart.
“Time Bomb” shows that the musicians in Cane Hill love the catchy, anthemic nature of Slipknot’s classic “The Heretic Anthem”. “Tic, tic, BOOM! Like a time bomb!” goes the chant, backed by rising tempos and aggressive roars. This was all feeling seven shades of familiar already, but when Issues’ DJ Scout came in towards the end of the song with his turntable scratching it brought the point home: These 5 are truly playing the sound of the 9.
The next two tracks further tickled the fancy of Corey Taylor and Jon Davis, the vocals echoing even Corey’s lower style of singing in “Screwtape”. All be damned if “Gemini” isn’t an unreleased KoRn song, creepy muttering, heavy bass and all manner of dissonance fully present. It’s why the next track “French 75” was such a welcoming approach, even with its obvious inclusion of rapping. Beautiful female vocals entranced the ears, while goosebumps could be felt because of her voice heard over such haunting atmosphere. This track’s approach is unique and fresh. It alone caused excitement for the remainder of the EP.
It’s unfortunate, however, that the final two tracks, “Fat of The Land” and long-time debut single “Sunday School”, are just more admittedly well-done posturing. It’s one thing to be influenced by a set of artists, but it’s another to blatantly copy off their successes. One could praise Cane Hill for choosing which elements of their favorite bands they picked to emulate in their music, but most listeners in this day and age are simply seeking so much more out of their heavy music than what could qualify as a cover band.