While They Were Sleeping
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: October 7, 2016
NYC’s Candiria’s name may be synonymous with bands like Sick of It all, Madball, and Merauder but they have always been a leader in pushing heavy music forward. Their combination of heavy elements with Hip Hop, Jazz, and Progressive has always stood out as one of the most unique sounds in heavy music. Unfortunately, the band was brought to a screeching halt that after a van accident, producing only What Doesn’t Kill You…. Before the band went on a hiatus to recoup, mentally, physical, and financially. To be honest, this is a band that I never thought I’d hear from again but I’m incredibly stoked they are back.
While They Were Sleeping, is the band’s debut for new label home Metal Blade Records and what we have here is a concept album conceived by lead vocalist Carley Coma. It’s the story of a failed musician that rises up against the powers-that-be in NYC, but finds itself exploring the complexities of a riot-filled and tech-driven society.
It’s hard to pick highlights here because the album is so incredibly dense. The band ebb and flow between Djent elements and soaring melodies for the most part but it all flows together brilliantly. “Mereya” probably encapsulates the album’s goals the best. It’s heavy, features scat, near spoken-word, and screaming vocals overtop of heavy, groovy riffs, sprawling saxophones, Jazz interludes, and FNM style bass work. It sounds like NYC in a blender when all is said and done and that endears it to me even more.
Another highlight for me, for entirely different reasons, is “Forgotten.” It’s got a more straightforward sound compared to a lot of the other tracks with it’s anthemic melodies and positive vibes but it also doesn’t fail to get heavy and kick you in the nuts when it’s time to get down to business. “With Broken Bones” is another highlight here that features some World Music inspired background vocals and some excellent lead guitar work that is as atmospheric as it is progressive. I’d be remiss to not also mention the ballad “Opaque.” Although it’s a quieter track compared to the others, the guitar work and background vocals give it an almost unnerving sense of urgency.
Overall, this is an album that any fan of heavy music should own. It is both a spectacular comeback and an incredibly intense exploration of the slowly disintegrating working class worldview. Fans of 00’s Djent style bands (think A Life Once Lost and Animals As Leaders) will find a lot to love about this but fans of the NYC hardcore bands certainly won’t be disappointed either.
Reviewed by mark1340