From what I gather, Candiria’s new album (and first proper LP since 2009’s Kiss the Lie), While They Were Sleeping (Metal Blade) is a concept album centered on a “failed musician who rises up against a monarchy in New York City.” While that is a novel concept to dedicate an album to, you wonder is there are any parallels with Candiria’s own near-tragic story.
Candiria was forged from the same creative maelström that birthed other metallic hardcore explorers like Dillinger Escape Plan, Botch, and Cave In, but had the wind taken out of their sails. A truck driver asleep at the wheel later and Candiria and their van are rolling 75 feet down a highway. While non-fatal, it certainly seemed to be curtains on a musical career.
After an allegedly substantial monetary settlement, Candiria chose life. And while it seems like they have no financial reason to keep it up, you can’t put a price on artistic drive. While They Were Sleeping has a good, but not remarkable opener in its title track, however finds its footing with ‘Mereya’ (the jazz influence is dope in this one) and ‘Wandering Light.’ Both tracks play wonderfully with tricky rhythms and short, sharp riffs. ‘One of You Will Betray Me’ also gives drummer Danny Grossart a workout while crunchy rhythm guitars shake the walls. Then again, if you give me some neck-snapping rhythm guitar you’ll have my undying allegiance. Chimaira, you left us all too soon.
Despite these filling rattling numbers, the more melodic departure of 2004’s What Doesn’t Kill You… is fully realized on most of While They Were Sleeping. ‘Behind These Walls’ could pass as a great Sevendust song, but balances it all out with quite the guitar solo courtesy of John LaMacchia. ‘Opaque’ pulls one of the rarest tricks of all in being a ballad (replete with operatic backing vocals) that doesn’t distract in a metal record. Also, can we officially recognize Carley Coma as one of the most dynamic vocalists in the genre?
Pretty good for a band that’s not even supposed to be here right now.