While They Were Sleeping

(Metal Blade Records)

     When my career as a music journalist began in earnest in March of 2001 courtesy of embattled independent behemoth Reader Weekly, I found myself presented with numerous opportunities for live coverage. After much consideration and research courtesy of the local public library, I found myself en route to the now-defunct St. Paul, MN-based The Lab/4th Street Station. Despite being initially rebuffed by notoriously Anal Blast/Nightfall Records mastermind Don Decker, I found myself surrounded a startlingly diverse cross-section of Metalheads eager to throw the proverbial horns. The resulting performances, unbeknownst to me, would feature what can only be described as awe-inspiring from Brooklyn, New York-based experimental icons Candiria. Enthralled by their self-proclaimed 'urban fusion', my fascination with the improbably long-running group continues entirely unabated with the release of the conceptual opus While They Were Sleeping, their first recordings in seven years.

     On the brilliant While They Were Sleeping (2016), an expertly assembled twelve song collection of genre-defying Heavy Metal, each track, beginning with the relentlessly pummeling “While They Were Sleeping” the and the sax and scat-laden lament “Mereya”, instantly commands the rapt and undivided attention of even the most jaded and unimaginative of listeners, myself most definitely included. Obviously attempting to improve upon the curiously-underrated trifecta of The C.O.M.A. Imprint (2002), What Doesn't Kill You... (2004) and Kiss The Lie (2009), the group effortlessly unleashes a staggering array of soaring, multi-octave vocals, razor-sharp fretwork and imaginatively punishing rhythms. Engulfing the proverbial average listener amid an avalanche of wealth of previously unparalleled tonalities, the group reminds us all of their more-than-considerable lyrical and compositional prowess without resorting to the 'whitewashed' production qualities of the proverbial mainstream.

     Continuing with the scalding--albeit painfully brief--“The Cause” and the delightfully over-the-top “One Of Your Will Betray Me”, the impossibly airtight combination of vocalist Carley Coma, lead/rhythm guitarist John LaMacchia, rhythm guitarist Julio Arias, bassist Michael MacIvor and drummer Danny Grossarth (replacing founding skinsman Kenneth Schalk) steamrolls ahead at what can only be described as a carefully-calculated pace. Fueled throughout by a Coma-penned conceptual story-line that focuses on the tale of a failed musician who rises up against a tyrannical monarchy in New York City, the the newly-rejuvenated group crafts a genre-defying amalgam of Hardcore, Heavy Metal, Hip-Hop, Jazz and Psychedelia. Offering the 'proper' and 'rightful' follow-up to the undeniably ingenious 300 Percent Density (2001) their constituents have been so impatiently waiting for, the group drives home each key focal point via with a renewed sense of focus, purpose and serenity.

     Recorded at Greenpoint Brooklyn, New York-based Spaceman Sound Studios by a 'dream team' tandem of the acclaimed Tom Tierney and Alex Mead-Fox (Field Guides, Miracles Of Modern Science, Vacationer), other standouts, including the oft-bowel-churning tirade “With Broken Bones” and the exhaustive, equally impressive closer “Servitude, only further reinforce the group's well-deserved reputation as bona fide creative force not to be ignored. Showcasing their painstakingly well-documented creative flair by obliterating--and subsequently re-establishing--the boundaries of 'conventional' songwriting, the group utilizes a working class perspective that captures an organic aesthetic that has remained as an essential aspect of their existence. While not necessarily for everyone (particularly those without a genuine and sincere interest in expanding their horizons), even the most pessimistic of perusers will undoubtedly find themselves utterly enthralled by their often brazen deliveries.

     But what can you really expect? Even more of the Candiria you already presumably know and love. Easily the improbably long-running group's most accessible (and, as a result, most thoroughly satisfying) effort to date, the majority--if not all--of the decidedly multi-faceted wares contained herein are seemingly guaranteed to leave clueless newcomers and die-hard completists alike only wanting for more. Wisely retaining the ambient and atmospheric elements of yore while deftly avoiding the pretentious, self-indulgent tendencies of their few true contemporaries, While They Were Sleeping effectively represents a bold, fresh new chapter within their unique and truly storied lineages. Needless to say, if you've once again found yourself in search of a thought-provoking alternative to the painfully mindless din and clatter that is so often perceived as mainstream Heavy Metal, then this my friends, might just be the high-octane 'cure-all' for what ails you. Trust me, you will not be disappointed.

Select Discography

While They Were Sleeping (2016)

Kiss The Lie (2009)

What Doesn't Kill You... (2004)

The C.O.M.A. Imprint (2002)

300 Percent Density (2001)

The Process Of Self-Development (1999)

Beyond Reasonable Doubt (1997)

Surrealistic Madness (1995)

Deep In The Mental (EP) (1995)

Subliminal (EP) (1994)

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