Candy Unleash New Album “Heaven Is Here”

  • Phinky posted
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In pushing the limits of standard chaos, Candy has been a transitory force within the hardcore music scene since their debut in 2017. Refusing to adhere to the paradigms and principles of hardcore, punk, metal, pop, or whatever genre the listener has tried to assign them; they’ve manufactured a space all their own. During the fall of 2017, Candy ushered it’s audience into their dystopian soundscape with the breakout single, Candy Says. Synthesizing global influences from across the punk/hardcore spectrum, from forefathers such as Bastard, Discharge, Cro-Mags and Integrity, the group demonstrated their ability to match the energy of their inspirators while providing a uniquely visceral experience. Frontman Zak Quiram’s guttural bellows propelled with Michael Quick’s contemplative guitar work, we see all the working parts of a band hell bent on warping the reality of its listener. Use of chorus pedals over down-tuned guitars further affirms the saccharine & grotesque dichotomy that has become Candy’s calling card.

Aligning with the esteemed engineer and producer Arthur RizkCandy achieved the type of artistry that transcends the confines of its own medium, with their first full-length record Good to Feel. Noise and image bled together throughout the albums’ brief but resounding 9 song track list. Lyrically, Quiram addressed the rampant environmental devastation, suicidal ideation, police violence, and corruption that plagues the news cycle, while fellow band members provided its soundtrack. Following the release of their debut full-length, Candy left an impression on spectators near and far with their brooding and bloody performances. Touring alongside contemporaries, such as Fucked Up, Terror and Harms Way, as well as making appearances with hardcore icons like Quicksand and Iron Age, showed bystanders that the company they keep reflect their larger rejection of genre conformity.

In their latest lockstep along the yellow brick, Candy has found an ally in Relapse Records. Having shared the stage with acts from Relapse’s roster, such as Full of Hell, Nothing and Gatecreeper, the band is geared to make some of their most jarring, yet satiating, musical offerings to date. Heaven Is Here is the sort of record that some people may like to describe as groundbreaking or genre-warping but this kind of claim comes with a caveat. I’ve got good news for the world: you’re no longer able to redefine hardcore. It was always a figment of someone’s imagination anyway and at this point we’re all trying to guess what it even is, let alone how or why to change it. Breaking ground is no longer about formal innovation but about the desperate and frantic hope that you can make sense of as much information in the world as you possibly can at once. Being human, but pulling the worst of yourself out and putting into your music-making might seem like a reckless way to make a statement but for Candy, it works. 

Heaven Is Here puts together so many chronologically disparate elements with the confidence and care to graft their relativities together under what basically sounds like extreme duress. Their words and music specifically strive to replicate moments of impact and anxiety, obsessive compulsive thinking, and extreme cynicism so that they might not have to effect how to come down from these types of overwhelming feelings on a day to day basis. Negativity-as-productivity fills the sensational energy that Candy have built into their sound and live shows, and now most specifically their latest full length. What this record does is help to lengthen the floodplain of what can be considered normal. Heaven Is Here shares so much of what people seek out in fractal, defragmented little blips over a lifetime, and slams them together in some kind of audio ballistics gel of heavy music, electronics, and popular culture.

Designing this sort of summary into a piece of work seems simultaneously fearful and egotistical, but is better seen as a reflection of the realistic materials at hand. Speaking directly to their incorporation of electronic elements in Heaven Is Here, it’s not so much that Candy insist on progression, but that they will not accept regression. In a day and age in which a primary complaint of alienated, disappointed musicians might be that “you can make music on your phone these days,” Candy in turn feel the same but instead, have rushed to run through what they see as an open door through which to make their music better and more filled with intensified chaos than ever before. Yet still, they feel there is no line to have stepped across between when they began and where they’ve ended up. Just a fuller realisation of the same intent over the span of multiple recordings and a mass of gigs. There is, however, a line through time for Candy. One which permeates all iterations of “extreme” music – from the most simplistic and un-nuanced, to what we now consider the touchpoints of the cannon.

Lyrically, we see a perfect counterpoint to this process of throwing everything at once into the creative process in order to bring the “rest of the world” with you into the new one you’ve created. The laser focus and short cynical borderline poetics of Zak Quiram specifically set an intention of declarative and pointed thinking. Specifically marking out territory that reminds you that Candy’s world lives elsewhere to the rest of society. In this lies the great connection between the nihilism of their music and the optimism of criticism: “We don’t want to transport the listener from the nightmare of a world we’re living in. We want them to face the harsh and ugly truths in the hopes to spark a thought and use those ideas to disrupt the society we live in.” Facing the worst of things and bringing that into your life as an uncontrollable force is what we have on our hands here, from the moment of its inception, to its capture and completion as an album.

Heaven Is Here is now available via Relapse Records