Contents Under Pressure
In Greek mythology, the major deities of the pantheon possessed the ability to appear before mortals in many forms. But shapeshifting is a trait most closely associated with Proteus, son of the sea god Poseidon, whose name has come to define versatility in the English language and offers the perfect descriptor for progressive hardcore heroes Candiria: protean. The impossibly hard to define act had been mixing metallic hardcore with elements of free jazz/jazz fusion, hip-hop and ambient from the jump with their border-breaking debut, 1995’s Surrealistic Madness. Four albums into their fruitful and frenetic career, 2001’s 300 Percent Density simply presented Candiria’s most breathtaking expanse.
There’s a credible argument to be made that 300 Percent Density was actually the final chapter of an unofficial trilogy that opened with 1997’s Beyond Reasonable Doubt and continued on 1999’s The Process of Self-Development. These three albums are inextricably linked in the minds of most Candiria fans, and perhaps the band itself. Candiria clearly found the perfect mixture of combustible personalities with the “classic” era lineup of The Process of Self-Development, which marked the debuts of guitarist John LaMacchia and bassist Michael MacIvor. Following the release of 300 Percent Density, LaMacchia, MacIvor, vocalist Carley Coma, drummer Ken Schalk and guitarist Eric Matthews quickly returned to the studio to harness the energy of that lineup and re-record tracks from Beyond Reasonable Doubt.
The pulse of New York City is as palpable in the music of Candiria as any of the iconic NYC acts that preceded them. Candiria knew that New York had way more to offer than just the Lower East Side, and believed that its music should be an expression of heterogeneity. This idea is captured in its ultimate form on “Constant Velocity Is as Natural as Being at Rest,” which melds Sun Ra-esque free jazz with hardcore breakdowns and Middle Eastern polyrhythms. “Channeling Elements” offers an equally bruising mix of jazz-inflected metal. And when Coma pauses his guttural vocals to rock the mic and reference the band’s back catalog on “Without Water,” it’s with the same swagger that defined the New York Yankees championship teams of the late ’90s: “Coma’s comin’ through with service and a smile reaction / I told you on Beyond Reasonable / The first song was ‘Faction.’”
Candiria have always been—and remain—a favorite among the group’s peers, because musicians already possess the vocabulary to understand the intricacy of the band’s arrangements and the tireless care and craft that went into perfecting them. On 300 Percent Density—and the year-long touring cycle that followed the album’s May 2001 release—Candiria made great strides towards mass appeal without any musical compromises. Like the Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge, Candiria pressed hard to break through the monoculture of metal’s awkward transitional years and pave the way for similarly experimental bands. For this debt of honor, we welcome 300 Percent Density into our Hall of Fame.
Need more Candiria? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with all members who performed on 300 Percent Density, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.