ARTIST: CANE HILL
TITLE: KILL THE SUN
LABEL: RISE RECORDS
WORDS: SARAH SHODIPE
Everyone knows that Cane Hill are a metal band, right? Well, their newest release, ‘Kill The Sun’ may just force you widen your mental parameters of what Cane Hill can do. Since they broke onto the scene back in 2014, their nu-metal influences were clear right from the off, and over the course of their three albums, they’ve stayed pretty consistent. This EP though (released almost a year to the day since their last full length ‘Too Far Gone”) is noteworthy for how it balances the band’s signature dark and grungy transactions with laid back acoustic guitars – “Semi Acoustic”, as the band describes it. However, as left turns go, ‘Kill The Sun’ is an expertly carried out departure from the norm for the New Orleans four piece.
There are plenty of aspects of the EP that tells you this is a different side of Cane Hill. Right from song one, the drum pads and electronica vibe that bleed throughout “86d – No Escort” is one of the main things that throws you through a loop. However, as you listen on, something else becomes clear. This is not a “new” Cane Hill at all. In fact, it’s the same band with the same emotional outcry in their lyrics that they have been coupling with those classic metal guitars since their self-titled album back in 2015. The only difference now is that everything has been fully stripped back, so we can enjoy the passion of the band for what it is. As a result, The driving acoustics on “86d – No Escort”, and throughout the EP, still finds itself paying homage to Cane Hill’s heritage in its eerie, minor chord melodies.
“‘Kill The Sun’ is an expertly carried out departure from the norm for the New Orleans four piece.”
The band really lean into that acoustic, laid back vibe as the EP transitions into ‘Empty’. A song that tackles the feeling of a hollow soul and feeling useless, ironically it’s here The EP starts to find its strength to stand out as something special. While the EP’s opener hit so many different criteria that it seemed to feel tenuous, ‘Empty’ stands firm. As it opens with bright acoustics, fading out with its acapella stylings, it truly hones in the theactics that run through the EP.
As the record goes on with cuts like ‘Acid Rain’ and ‘Smoking Man’, the EP comes across as a set of long forgotten B-sides and stripped back cuts all put together to create this immersive experience. One of the best things that help drive home this experience on the EP are its lyrics – profound in their simplicity. Whether it be the cutting chorus on songs like “Save Me”, which consists only of the line “No, don’t try to save me// wait for me to save myself”. Or how frontman Elijah Witt exclaims the line “But Heaven knows, I fucking tried” on the EP’s title track, a line that feels as though it should be screamed over one of the band’s heavier cuts.
“a record that truly shows the range that Cane Hill are capable of.”
The EP continues to prove itself to be unique with songs like ‘Empty’ and ‘Save Me’ showcasing amazingly detailed instrumentals from the band. ‘Save Me’ in particular stands out with its sunken pianos and beautifully written lyrics strengthened by its powerful imagery. It’s a quality that shown itself before in Cane Hill’s music, like in the chaotic intensity of last years release ‘Too Far Gone’. But against the background of this Grand-Piano ballad-esque melody, it feels even more dramatic and shines through to truly capture and enamour anyone lucky enough to be listening. It’s this quality that threads the entire EP together and gives it a sonic style that would be equally impactful in a tiny club venue or an epic arena setting.
This is not the first time a band of the Metal persuasion has stepped out of their comfort zone to make something with an acoustic twist to it, and it certainly won’t be the last. But Cane Hill approach the ‘Kill The Sun’ EP with such an air of sincerity and thought-provoking composure that it doesn’t feel forced, or like some shallow reinvention. Immediately appealing with its soft but impactful melodies throughout, it’s a record that truly shows the range that Cane Hill are capable of. But also, it will serve as the perfect bridge to whatever their next project may be.