"The COMA Imprint" (Lakeshore Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

After the 2001 release of "300 Pound Density" I was immediately filled with joy when the promo for "The COMA Imprint" hit my desk. Candiria's well-documented inventive arc continues with "The COMA Imprint" as the band continues to explore its unparalleled combination of grind, heavy metal, fusion, jazz, and hip-hop/rap into a sound that can only be described as 'the Candiria sound.' Also, "The COMA Imprint" marks Candiria's third consecutive release on a different label - but they haven't seemed to suffer one bit for all the chaos that changing labels might bring.

As you can imagine, Candiria do not present any artificial attitudes on "The COMA Imprint," nor do they restrain themselves from the cathartic form of expression they've honed over the years. As usual, I favor the tunes that don't rely on rapping. As such, tunes like "Year One," "Faction," and "Divided" shoot straight to the top of the songs on "The COMA Imprint" that I'll want to hear again and again.

Many of the tracks incorporate the band's myriad influences into seamless packages that continue to strike at the very heart of your musical listening experience. "Peel This Strip And Fold Here" comes across as Steely Dan-influenced number rather than a straight jazz tune; it's funny how when I hear horns in a setting like this I always think of Steely Dan. "Tribes" is exactly that - a tribal feast that focuses on drumming and percussion to propel the band to soaring new heights. Spacey jazz-like atmospherics, a staple of any Candiria disc, are included in the form of "Riding The Spiral" and "Molecular Dialect." The extensive instrumental "R-Evolutionize-R" is an epic instrumental journey that leaves some of the band's trademark harshness for something a bit more pleasing to the ears.

Candiria's continued synthesis of musical styles is a sound to behold. "The COMA Imprint" will continue the band's legacy as a group that continually push boundaries and pre-conceived notions of what heavy music is, could be, and ought to be.

A bonus CD is contained with "The COMA Imprint" that features six songs by five bands on Lakeshore Records, Candiria's new label. Chief's "Blue Suede Timbs" is a rap-heavy tune that didn't do anything for me. Spylacopa's "Collective Unconscious" is an atmospheric number that features spacey keys and moody bass lines; this track reminded me of Gordian Knot. Ghosts Of The Canal have two tracks including "That Which Survives" which reminded me of the kind of ambient, dreamy music U2 created during the "Unforgettable Fire" sessions and the uneven, but very interesting "Richard Dreyfuss" which also has the same sort of synth-heavy sound as "That Which Survives" but features streetwise noises and some interesting use of horns. "Let The Mic Go," performed by Kid Gambino, was another rap track that failed to do anything for me, but did show a nice penchant for an aggressive vocal style. D.J. Laptop's "Hypnotic Oceans" was a curious hybrid of New Age-like ramblings with funky bass lines - not really my favorite sound, but an intriguing listen anyway.

Fans of Candiria will already be lining up at their favorite CD store to purchase "The COMA Imprint." Fans curious for something that pushes the boundaries of heavy music should strongly consider "The COMA Imprint" for future purchase.

"The COMA Imprint" was produced by Mike Barile.

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"300 Percent Destiny" (Century Media)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

A few years back, Rolling Stone declared that Candiria were one of the "ten most important hard and heavy bands today." Having purchased "Process Of Self-Development" shortly thereafter, I really didnít know what to expect. But I was blown away. For whatever reason, when Candiriaís next effort, "300 Pound Density," hit the shelves I never got around to picking it up. Finally I did and Iím kicking myself for not having done so earlier.

Overall, "300 Percent Density" is a bit more focused than its predecessor, the sprawling "Process Of Self-Development," and for that I am particularly thankful. The songs on "300 Percent Density" are more structured and contained this time around and that alone makes "300 Percent Density" more satisfying.

Songs like the title track and "Channeling Elements" explode with volatile energy that I haven't heard in awhile from other bands. The smooth intro of "Without Water" switches gears when the band struts into a groove-laden, crushing jam that is not only catchy, but energy releasing as well. Hip-hop is the primary focus of "Words From The Lexicon," yet even that manages to keep my interest (although Iím not a big fan of hip-hop).

"Constant Velocity Is As Natural As Being At Rest" easily alternates between jazz and booming grind. It's a fitting song title, too, as Candiria certainly is a band that has established itself as one that will always push boundaries.

Candiria, as usual, add a few hypnotic pieces to break up the album's full-on rage. The instrumental "Mass" splits the first half of the CD by lulling the listener into a temporary state of relaxation before slamming into the previously mentioned "Constant VelocityÖ" while "Advancing Positions" allows a droning funky bass line to serve as the foundation for a short, but rhythmic rap that sets the stage for the final three songs of the CD only to leave you exhausted. Even the slightly disjointed and dissonant "The Obvious Destination" has its moments. "Contents Under Pressure" gives horns another chance under the Candiria method of operation to mix-and-mingle with hardcore guitars for a fresh sound that they are famous for. And, just to keep things interesting, if you're a fan of the band's eclectic approach, then the hidden track after dance/trance "Opposing Meter" is just for you; at more than 12 minutes this track covers a wide area of the ambient music spectrum with atmospheric guitar noodlings (yet another left-turn for Candiria).

Candiriaís blend of grinding urban hardcore, spazz-metal, fringe-jazz, streetwise hip-hop, and otherworldly experimentation isn't for everyone, but the band's appeal isn't just limited to fans of any of the previously mentioned genres. "300 Percent Density" is a showcase for a band that has successfully created its own sound and style without compromise and certainly without peers. Additionally, vocalist Carley Coma is one of the most versatile vocalists in the music biz today and probably for a long time to come - that alone makes Candiria worth listening to at any time.

"300 Pound Density" was produced by Candiria and Michael Barile.

Candiria is Carley Coma on vocals, John Lamacchia and Eric Matthews on guitars, Michael MacIvor on bass, and Kenneth Schalk on drums.

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"Process of Self-Development" (MIA Records)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Brooklyn's Candiria avoid standard traps of trendy rap-metal hybrids with an explosive disc that incinerates any preconceived notions you might have of ambitious music in the metal genre. With their third disc, "Process Of Self-Development," Candiria clearly demonstrate that there are no limitations to what this act can achieve. Candiria combine discipline and creativity that results in thirteen tracks of fierce and intoxicating urban soundscapes.

It isn't even fair to call Candiria a crossover act because they cover more ground than most acts that get lumped in that category. Candiria's songs range from heavy metal, hip-hop, jazz, combinations thereof, and just about everything in between. Simply put, this band defies categorization; other musical acts should be thankful.

Carley Coma makes his lyrics an exercise in wordplay; the words are his musical sword and he cuts a swath through all the unpolished writings that pass for lyrics these days. Candiria's subject matter borrows heavily from the hardcore spirit of "do-it-yourself," responsibility, and self-actualization. The verses are broken up into chapters as choruses are basically absent throughout the disc. The words may be blunt, but the lyrics do not preach. The unbroken spirit of the lyrics is vivacious and very open-ended.

The music finds resiliency in its vibrant delivery. It's no coincidence that the artwork on the CD itself displays a brain and heart; it's as if the band is saying they've got technical prowess (i.e. the brain), but they've also got groove (i.e. the heart). Virile and potent may be the only appropriate expression for this work of art.

The breakneck changes on "Elevate In Madness" only serve to further the band's mastery of eclectic combination of styles - this particular song even has snippets of Latin vibes. The pulsating tribal energy of "The Process Of Self-Development" bristles with organic fever even as Carley's mechanized vocals provide stark contrast to the music - the song continues to twist and turn for an eight-minute thrill ride of epic proportions.

"Matter.Anti.Matter" is an instrumental jazz number that brings this classic art form to the metal community in a manner that is near-Coltrane on a hyped up vibe. Even the hip-hop heavy tunes ("Method Of Expression" and "Down To The Last Element") have appeal by propagating slight grooves and fluid vocal lines. A couple of instrumentals ("OneFortyEight" and "Leaving The Atmosphere") are moody pieces that supplement the varied nature of the disc.

"Process Of Self-Development" was produced by Michael Barile and Candiria. The disc includes a magnificent multimedia package will only heightens the Candiria experience.

Candiria are Carley Coma (vocals), John Lamacchia (guitar), Michael MacIvor (bass), Eric Matthews (guitar), and Kenneth Schalk (drums).  Guests include Tim Byrnes on trumpet and Kevin Greenland on bagpipe.  Candiria borrow one idiom of jazz's collaborative spirit by having a multitude of additional musicians and vocalists - joining the band on various cuts include Jamey Jasta (Hatebreed), Tom Sheehan, Krim, Capital S, Jorge and Ill Nino (both of Maurader), Paul Thorstenson, and Gary Brooks.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright © 2002 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:10 -0500.