LP Review; Cane Hill: “Too Far Gone”

“Too Far Gone” starts with a slowly growing semi-tone that adds maniacal laughter overtop it, which abruptly switches to an intricate instrumental interlude that utilizes heavier methods of performing. This interlude helps to instill a strict pulse for the work, which helps to soon create a pushing groove that remains static throughout the work. The first vocals that enter are low in pitch as well as vocal-type. This provides an interesting timbre for the audience, and it provides a nice difference between the sung vocals with the screamed ones. The chorus of the selection, falls in between the original groove that is set as well as one with a half-time feel. This is strong for the band because they are giving their audience musical variety from the first track of the album. The vocals in the chorus of the work are interesting because they sound as if the vocalist is stretching his vocals, which adds to the tension of the overall selection. Towards the end of the work, the band includes an instrumental feature that places focus on an elaborate guitar solo that leads into a heighten rendition of the chorus. This is a strong first selection for the album for a few reasons. First off, it’s the title track of the album, so there were high expectations for the track itself (that were met), and the band provides an overly aggressive yet innovative sound to the audience.

 

“Lord of Flies” starts with an intricate string motive that messes with tonality as they toy with altered tones through their small melodic line. When the vocals enter, they shift back to that lower characteristic voice that was heard in the first track. As the first verse pushes forward, the instrumental section provides minimal, elaborate support to the vocals, which adds a different sound to the album overall. As the band moves towards the chorus, the vocalist provides a faint whisper before the instrumental section comes slamming in with a new established groove. The motive of this chorus is interesting, for it focuses more on a sung vocal line, which may catch listeners off guard, but this softer (but not really soft) section, gives the audience another side of what the band can do, musically speaking. Right after the first statement of the chorus, the band shifts into an instrumental interlude that puts focus on an ornate guitar feature. This interlude is brief, but it was a nice addition to the track. As the band went through the second run of the chorus, it was heard that it was just as the first run was, and this one led into another instrumental interlude that resulted in the drop of instrumentation to focus on the vocalist. After a few moments in the solemn vocal line, the band provides a grand pause before moving back to the chorus to finish the work.

“Singing in the Swamp” starts with an ominous outdoorsy background backtrack with faint muted guitar strums. After this motive has set with the audience for a moment, the band includes sung vocals in the distant background. Then, out of nowhere, the band provides a loud, unison hit, which brings the song to its official beginning, for that is where the band starts their groove for the work. The first verse uses a lighter vocal style, which is nice because the instrumental material utilized is on the softer end of the spectrum as well. As the band moves to the chorus, it is heard that the materials would fluctuate back and forth based off the contour of the vocal line, for the band toys with the adding and subtracting of instruments frequently. As the band moves towards the second verse, the string section beings to provide harsher material, which helps to increase the works intensity, slowly. However, during the verses of the work, the instrumental section provides moments where the vocals are in the limelight still while still having a more prominent role. Towards the end of the work, the band provides the deeper vocals that were characteristic to the previous tracks on the album. From there, the band includes a small breakdown that is driven by different instrumental timbres from electronics to strings and to the percussion section. This breakdown transitions effortlessly to the original chorus, which concludes the work. This will be a foreseen favorite from the album because of its musical diversity.

“Erased” starts with prerecorded electronics that sound like the playback of the radio that quickly shifts to heavy hits in the instrumental section, which establishes the heightened mood of the work. The instrumental breakdown that is presented at the beginning messes with rhythm and instrumental techniques to create a unique sound. That interlude smooths to a gentle melodic line sung by the vocalist to take the audience through the first verse. As the band moves towards the chorus of the work, the lower vocal type becomes present, and the instrumental section begins to use heavier methods as the vocals grow in aggression. Before the band moves to a slow, jazz inspired guitar interlude, they provide a small grand pause. This shift is nice moving back into the gentle verse. As the band moves back into the chorus, they set the audience up in a similar fashion, making sure to emphasize the more aggressive vocals before falling back to the lesser vocals, which adds vocal variety to the track. After the second time of the verse, the band includes their first strong breakdown of the album, which is a strong addition for the band and the album as a whole.

 “Why?” starts with the repetition of small tones with swells in electronics as the percussion section provides a steady but original groove to the audience. The first vocals that are presented are rather static in vocal range, but they utilize the lighter style of singing, and they slowly evolve to a more aggressive state, which helps with the progress and the evolution of the song as a whole. However, as the piece pushes past the first verse and the first run of the chorus, it is heard that the band doesn’t really push the boundaries, in terms of aggression, so their overall swell of aggression helps to keep their heavier fans engaged, even with lighter material. Towards the middle of the piece, the band includes an instrumental interlude that places focus on a major guitar solo that leads to a complete drop in instrumentation. This drop helps to utilize the somber lyrics through the gentle vocal type, and from there the band slowly builds in such a gradual manner that when they re-reach the chorus it feels as if the timbre has changed, and it was given a new personality, musically speaking, but in reality, it remains the same until the song comes to an end with a single semi-tone just wavering until it stops.

 “It Follows” starts with a strike in the percussion section accompanied by several underlying semi-tones that evolve into a layered string motive that grows in dynamic as the percussion section evolves its simple motive. The vocals that enter after the beginning lick lean towards the aggressive vocal type. This is joined with a heightened instrumental part, which provides heavier instrumental material than the previous tracks. This is strong for the band, for it will help to keep their fans engaged, and it makes the album more diverse overall. Throughout the work, the band includes moments of the more solemn voice, but it mainly resides on the heavier side. Towards the end of the selection, the band includes one of their characteristic guitar solos through an instrumental feature that leads the audience back to the original chorus. The song ends with the lower vocal type followed by silence, which is a new way to end a selection for the album.

 “Scumbag” starts with heavy direct hits from the percussion section that leads into a rapid instrumental line that is quickly joined by the aggressive vocal type. The instrumental material stays rather static throughout the first verse, but the band includes small nuances here and there to keep the rapid line interesting. This will make the groove remain constant but still fresh to the ears of the listeners. As the band made it past the chorus and the first verse, the instrumentation drops, but the speed of the work remains with faint vocals injections here and there. As the band evolves throughout the work, they show their audience that this was going to be a heavy piece that they’ll never forget. This is because they include heavy hits throughout a verse, giving that verse a breakdown feel while keeping the work constant. Also, the band drives that vibe all the way until the end until all the instrumentation drops out and the lower vocal type says one line revolving around the theme of the title.

 “Hateful” starts with vocals from the first downbeat of the work. The vocals utilize the lower vocal range with added emphasize through aggressive spurts of energy through different phrases. Once that vocal timbre resonates with the audience, the instrumental ensemble enters in with an aggressive tint to their material, which is used to heightened the already harder track. In the middle of the selection, the band includes another one of their characteristic instrumental features that has a solid groove with an intricate guitar solo thriving overtop. The band slowly adds in altering, fear-based laughter before transitioning back into the original chorus. This is a foreseen favorite from the album, for the track embodies a whole new character: one that is based on hate (total pun intended), which brings another side of aggression to the table, and this will sit well with their fans who prefer their harsher style.

“10cent” starts with an electronic line that fades in and out rapidly to provide an awkward tension before the first set of vocals enter to add more dimension, which eases some of the musical tension that was created. Throughout the first verse, the band rides their more aggressive vocal type while maintaining a groove that lays primarily on the off-beat of the musical phrase. As this off-beat groove pervades, the percussion section keeps a steady pulse running throughout to keep the track pushing forward. In the heart of the work sits another small guitar feature, which leads right to a grand pause. This pause is followed by faint vocals when suddenly the band enters in to provide a heavy breakdown to the audience. The band rides that breakdown momentarily before morphing back to the chorus. The chorus ends the work; however, as the piece nears its end, it begins to fade slightly; thus, ending in a lighter mood.

 “The End.” starts with a rapid relay of electronic semi-tones until the percussion section enters to provide a smooth motive that becomes the foundation of the work as well as the groove. The first vocals that enter sit in the middle to lower range of the vocalist; however, these vocals are presented in a smooth manner resulting in a timbre that the audience has yet to hear on this album. The selection progresses slowly, for as the remainder of the instrumental section enters it is heard that the mood relaxes back, which blends nicely with this new(ish) vocal type. The band, throughout the work, gives their audience the opportunity to truly listen to the lyrics, which is strong for this selection, for the lyrics are memorable and relatable among most audience members. As the band nears the end of the track, they provide an instrumental transition into the lower, familiar vocals from the band. This set of vocals starts out low, speaking in terms of dynamics, and slowly grows. This leads the listeners into one of the biggest breakdowns from the album paired with aggressive, screamed lyrics. The last run of the chorus has a drop of instrumentation, leaving only the vocalist and the percussion in focus, which forces their audience to truly listen to their lyrics. This was a strong track to close out the album, for it provided their audience with both their heavier and laid back style; also, it provided memorable lyrics that will leave an impact upon their first hearing of the work.

Final Thoughts: Overall, I would give this album a 4 out of 5 stars. I am giving this album such a score for several reasons. The first reason is that the band gives their audience a variety of vocal types, instrumental materials, and genre influences. This is strong because it gives their audience something different moving from track to track. The other main reason I landed on this score is because this is more than the stereotypical metalcore album. Most metal artists try to evolve with their sound, and they all end up sounding the same; however, Cane Hill takes a sound and makes it their own while staying under the blanket statement of such a vast music scene. Therefore, if you are looking for a new metalcore album to get down to, this is the one for you: nice done!

*”Too Far Gone” was released on January 19, 2018 through Rise Records.

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