The Nu Gospel: Cane Hill's controversial stance on, well, everything
Nu metal poseurs or moral crusaders? From their divisive debut album to their conflicted, messianic frontman, we delve behind the madness of Cane Hill
Bloodied, shirtless, and lashed to a wooden cross, Cane Hill frontman Elijah Witt plays the role of a modern messiah. His eyes look upwards, while half-naked women lay their hands on him…
“I’m fervently anti-religion,” he says today in a Southern drawl, explaining why he posed like Christ in the band’s controversial video, (The New) Jesus. We are in a photo studio recreating the look for our shoot, trying to get inside the mind of a man who has led his band to the forefront of the modern metal scene, becoming one of our world’s most fascinating – and confusing – young figureheads in the process. He continues: “The books were written centuries ago by people in power to help maintain their power, as well as promote a way of living that would sustain life, right? But if you look at the 10 Commandments, or all of the weird rules in the Old Testament, it’s all just survival in a world that humankind wasn’t really prepared for. If you died at 30, that was an old age.”
This afternoon, 22-year-old Elijah is stoned. As he talks about his views, he sometimes forgets what he’s saying mid-sentence, massaging his forehead as if to help the thoughts flow. In line with his God complex, his band have been tweeting their own 10 Commandments for our current society. They’re neatly designed in black squares with photos of Elijah in the background, in the style of inspirational memes.
“We’re just trying to get people to think,” he explains. “Just think at all. It’s 2016, and you can access anything, but we’re all addicted to narcissistic, ego-bloating social media. So fill it with something challenging. And it has to be dumbed down.”
He fails to see the contradiction in this, or the irony – a frontman seeking favour by pushing his own worldview on people.