Candiria, "300 Percent Density"
Brooklyn's Candiria has been turning heads by its metal/hardcore/jazz/hip-hop hybrid for a while now. First, it was their LP, Surrealistic Madness [Too Damn Hype, 1995], mixing death metal growls and Suffocation-like grinding parts with hardcore breakdowns. Then came the very critically acclaimed Beyond Reasonable Doubt [Too Damn Hype, 1996], which officially put the band on the map of metal music, followed by the masterpiece, Process of Self-Development [MIA Records, 1999]. A year after and twenty-something thousand copies sold later, MIA Records was no longer functioning and Candiria was left without a record label. Enter Century Media records, and Candiria gets their big break on the major record label.
Now almost two years later, the band releases 300 Percent Density. I was quite excited when I got my copy of the promo, as the band's previous work made me long for more of their innovative music. I remember getting blown away by the wicked breakdowns and intricate songwriting on the previous releases. Songs like Three Times Again, Faction, Year One, and Cleansing - to name a few - were stuck in my head for a while, causing major brain damage.
300 Percent Density does not contain any of such memorable songs. Not that the songs on the new release are bad, they are just not memorable. The first track, titled 300 Percent Density, opens up with some interesting guitar work and some intricate drumming, but the song gets ruined for me at the 0:40-0:50 mark, as the guitar part sounds almost the same to Work In Progress [2:04-2:14] of Process of Self-Development. There is a really nice guitar part coming from 1:25 to 1:40, with John Lamacchia skillfully running over the frets and Carley softly talking in the background. However, one nice part and a funky guitar riff [1:43-1:46] are not enough to make a five minute Candiria song memorable. Same goes for track number three, Without Water, where one uninspiring guitar riff starts at 1:09 and changes to another dull riff at 2:47, and track five, Constant Velocity is as Natural as Being at Rest where the jazz intro is quite reminiscent, but not nearly as good as another song of Process of Self-Development, Pull.
Another major critique is the vocals. While I could handle some rapping in the heavy songs on Process... and Beyond... there is just too much rapping and less yelling in the new songs. Even the guest vocalists are not as good as before [I got a promo, so I don't know who is actually singing on this one]. Nevertheless, when I first heard Paul Thorstenson's [Dissolve] ferocious screams on Cleansing [Process of Self-Development], I could feel the power in his voice, "Command the forces of nature to bow down before me and die!" The guest appearances on the new record, however, are uninspiring and the same can go for Carley's vocals.
OK, enough with the criticism, as 300 Percent Density does contain some decent and occasionally great moments. On their previous releases, Candira made a bold statement with some of insane riffs and striking stop-and-go parts. While, those are mostly missing on this release, they do appear in the few songs, like a riff in Constant Velocity is as Natural as Being at Rest [1:09-1:16] and a decent stop-and-go part on Channeling Elements [0:28-0:31]. There are also some really nice jazz parts, like the xylophone part in Obvious Destination [2:08-2:32] and the smooth, flowing guitar/saxophone part in Constant Velocity is as Natural as Being at Rest [0:56-1:07]. Contents Under Pressure is the best song on the CD and a good example of what Candiria can really do with their music [I wish there were more songs like that]. It opens with dreamy guitars and some amazing saxophone at 0:33-0:54, creating a depressing atmosphere. The song also showcases Kenneth's great drum skills with a neat jazzy drumming at 2:24-2:29, moving into a double bass at 2:42 and another awesome drum part at 4:00-4:20. This is the best overall song on the CD, because it has the variety that Candiria is so well known for. On the other hand, other songs lack the variety and come off as trite and something heard before.
Overall, 300 Percent Density does not live up to the expectations, as most of the music leaves the listener after the song is over, which is quite rare for a band like Candiria.
The Obvious Destination