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Carley Coma - Lead vocals
Eric Matthews - Guitar
Michael MacIvor - Bass Guitar/vocals
Steve Fakelman - Lead Guitar/vocals
Kenneth Schalk - Drumset
“I can tell you that it was the most violent and intense moment I’ve ever experienced” says Candiria bassist Michael MacIvor. MacIvor is referring to the Sept 9th, 2002 van accident that almost ended the career (and the lives) of the musicians in this seminal Brooklyn band. The band was driving to Cleveland as part of relentless touring in support of their then current record - The Coma Imprint. MacIvor continues “The memories of the van crushing down around me and being pelted with glass and metal are permanently etched into my mind. Apparently the eighteen wheel tractor-trailer didn’t see our 20’ vehicle. It drove right through our equipment trailer till it rear-ended the back of the van where a few of us were sleeping. The impact was so great that the van flipped over several times -skidding, roof-down for about 75 yards before coming to a halt. In the process Eric, John and I all were thrown through different windows of the vehicle.”
The accident resulted in all of the members of the band being hospitalized with critical injuries, commencing a long, painful recovery period for the band. MacIvor continues “The accident put a huge stop sign up in front of us. We had been trucking along for all of this time pretty much living in a vacuum on tour. I knew if we survived this, that it was all a sign to make a change in how we did things.”
Indeed Candiria survived and eventually regrouped to record their new album on Type A Records, What Doesn’t Kill You…. According to front man Carley Coma, “it’s our most emotional album ever and we all should have died in the accident. This album never would have been made. But we didn’t and I think that it is going to be our best work yet.” In the face of such horrific adversity, the experimental band, which could never be accused of being “stagnant” has prospered, progressed, and grown even more.
Everyone knows that change isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, but it is necessary for survival. In true Candiria fashion, What Doesn’t Kill You…, produced by David Bendeth (who has produced and mixed artists like Killswitch Engage, Breaking Benjamin, 40 Below Summer), keeps listeners on their toes with its honesty and cerebral experimentation, which earned the band its reputation as musical alchemists that fuse metal, hardcore, jazz, and hip-hip in a wholly original, combustible blend. Previous outings, namely 300 Percent Density and The Process Of Self-Development, have garnered nods from the likes of Rolling Stone, Spin, and Kerrang.
The band acknowledges that song craft was an essential focus of this record. What Doesn’t Kill You… not only builds on Candiria’s complex, hallmark signature style, it also expands and goes beyond, embracing change. “It’s an up and down journey,” explains MacIvor. “It’s less quirky and less from the jazz side. We did that in the past and we don’t want to make the same record twenty times. We did not want to become predictable. If everyone expects us to insert jazz parts, we thought, ‘Let’s not do that at all.’ Adding a jazz part didn’t feel right on this particular group of songs.”
The songs on What Doesn’t Kill You… pulse and throb, but also show a newfound respect for catchiness. The band also tried its hand at three part harmonies, adding another layer of dynamics to an already dynamic sound. Coma, who has rapped and screamed on past Candiria albums, demonstrates a deft, capable singing voice, and his sharpest lyrical focus to date.
“Down” and “Remove Yourself,” on first listens, might not even sound like Candiria songs to seasoned fans of the band. They’re some of Candiria’s simplest songs ever, to which drummer Kenneth Schalk says, “Whether you are simple or technical with your music, it does not measure greatness. It’s the song.” And both songs groove in such a way that they will take up real estate in your brain. They’re simple, yet unforgettable, just like “1000 Points Of Light” and “Dead Bury The Dead” is complex and unforgettable. And then there is “9mm Solution,” which roots itself in hip-hop.
From a lyrical standpoint, Coma treads more personal ground. “Down” is the band’s testament to trying new things and moving on. “Nameless King” is about stepping into a new arena, while “Blood” is a track about war. “1000 Points Of Light” is a rebellion anthem, and “Vacant” is about Coma’s father. The lyrics on What Doesn’t Kill You… are some of Candiria’s most potent and graphic to date, and it’s just another ingredient in a new improved recipe.
Upon establishing themselves, many hard rock bands, are afraid to try new things. You can’t say that about Candiria. The band has been trying new things since it formed in 1992. You can rest assured that as long as Candiria remains a band, it will continue to charter previously uncharted territory and take a sledgehammer to smash new ground.
It’s never easy for a band to endure sonic growing pains and life-threatening accidents. But you know how the old saying goes… What Doesn’t Kill You…
posted by Earache.com