Candiria – While They Were Sleeping

Brooklyn, New York’s genre-defying act Candiria have been away for a while, their last album being the 2009’s Kiss The Lie. Far from resting on their laurels in the interim, however, the band have been busy, with several lineup changes, as well as playing their first live show in NYC in a decade at Webster Hall in January of 2015. Now, in late 2016, we finally have the latest release from the band, While They Were Sleeping, in our hands, and despite a couple of small missteps, it was well worth the long wait.

While They Were Sleeping is a concept album conceived by the band’s lead vocalist Carley Coma. A story of a failed musician who rises up against a monarchy in a fictional, alternate history version of New York City. It’s an interesting concept that makes for an engaging album, but it’s also easy to separate the music from the concept if you wish. Melding soaring choruses with chopped, mathy riffs and tasteful jazz and fun sections, Candiria wear their myriad influences on their sleeve while writing music that’s original and thought provoking, and While They Were Sleeping is no exception.

While They Were Sleeping isn’t a revolution or evolution of Candiria’s sound; rather, it’s an iteration on the sound they’ve been developing over the course of their career. While the album isn’t necessarily formulaic, it holds little surprises for anyone familiar with the band’s career arc over the last few albums. This is not necessarily a bad thing, as what the band are doing is both interesting and fun to listen to as well as written and executed in a more than competent fashion. Not every release needs to be a genre defining, revolutionary piece of art, and it’s easy to forget this, especially in this genre.

Barring a couple of missteps with songs that pale in comparison to those surrounding them (“The Cause” being the weakest track on the album, for instance), While They Were Sleeping is an interesting and fun Mathcore/Jazz Fusion/Etc. album that does what it sets out to do and does it well. There’s not a ton that’s revolutionary in the genre, as stated before, but the twists and turns that Candiria take the music in constantly keep you on your toes and avoid most of the genre cliches that lesser bands hang their hats on. Candiria are veterans of the scene and know what they’re doing when it comes to mathy, genre-bending progressive metal.

While They Were Sleeping is a bit less abrasive and intense than, say, What Doesn’t Kill You, but the band have matured in a believable way, making music that’s true to their legacy while also interesting and heavy enough to avoid the pitfalls that similar veteran acts often find themselves in when they reach a certain age. Candiria have written another excellent album that fans of the genre, or fans of progressive music in general, should definitely pay attention to. They’ve been away for a while, but they’re back, and the future looks bright.

While They Were Sleeping is available now via Metal Blade. You can pick it up here.