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Album Review

Cane Hill – Smile

Cane Hill - Smile

An unparalleled debut.

Label: Rise Records
Released: 15th July 2016

Rating: ★★★★

It’s been a criminally long time since a band sounded as terrifying as Cane Hill do without also sounding like a novelty. When the New Orleans quartet exploded in a flurry of crushing riffs and religious fury on ‘Sunday School’, it felt like modern metal was about to receiving a long-overdue kick up the arse. Their debut record delivers on that promise, but on even darker and more disturbing terms.

Elijah Witt is a powerhouse of a vocalist, but his delivery is at his most writhing and cathartic when he drawls and groans atop nightmarish industrial pulses. The rest of the band follow suit and while they rip through ‘(The New) Jesus’ and ‘Ugly Idol Mannequin’ with uncompromising heaviness and rock club-ready bounce, they come to fruition with a skin-crawling screech on the frankly deviant ‘True Love’ and ‘Cream Pie’.

If ‘Smile’ was to be embodied in an emoji, it would depict a gruesome, Joker-esque Chelsea grin: it’s short and sharp, but the effect is scarring, intoxicating even. Cane Hill are leagues above their peers, sharing more in common with the moral panic-inducing days of Marilyn Manson and early KoRn. Piquing alarming levels of sick and twisted fascination, this is an unparalleled debut. Danny Randon