September 11th was a horrible, Earth-changing day. The following days and months would show the rest of the United States and the world what an incredible city New York is. Residents of this fair city already knew this, of course. One of the many things that has always made it great has been its diversity. Brooklyn, which is basically part of the metropolis, shares this diversity. A melting pot of music, Brooklyn has always been a source of ground-breaking music.
Now, I knew that already, having gone numerous times to the mecca of metal in Brooklyn, L'Amour, to experience some of the best underground acts in town. One group that I had never gotten a chance to catch was Candiria, a band that manages to blend metal, jazz, hip-hop and hardcore seamlessly.
After listening to their newest release, “The C.O.M.A. Imprint“, I can honestly say that I am not a fan. But this is of no fault of Candiria whatsoever, just my own taste. These guys know how to play their instruments, and do it well. According to Lakeshore Records' literature, “C.O.M.A” stands for “Children Of Mental Awareness” – a collective of artistic people that Candiria has been part of since its inception.
A double cd set, “The C.O.M.A. Imprint” is the crowded New York street corner where the C.O.M.A. flaunts their skills.
The primary disc, made up of all Candiria tracks, has several 'resuscitated' songs off of their earlier release, “Beyond Reasonable Doubt“. Much of it is stripped down rapcore but there are exceptions. “Peel This Strip And Hold Here” is a fantastic instrumental jazz piece that features an organ and some well-played horns. For nu-metal kids that are in love with Soulfly, they will appreciate “Tribes“. The song has rapcore vocals in front of a drum circle-type backbeat that leads to hip-hop rapping and some trumpet work. There is even a quality cover of M-E-T-H-O-D Man's “Bring The Pain” adding flavor to the mix. Capping it all off is “R-Evolutionize-R“, a nine minute instrumental rock track that meanders all over the spectrum of music and brings you along for the ride.
The six-track second disc is made up of music hand-selected by Candiria. What it amounts to is six songs by different artists that are trying to get exposure to an audience who, for the most part, would (and probably will) never go out and buy their albums.
A rapper named Chief does a simple, uninspired introduce-yourself rap called “Blue Suede Timbs” (Timberlands). This is perhaps just the first step before he joins the rest of the rap world singing about platinum, Bentleys and easy women with big rear ends. Spylacopa is next up with “Collective Unconscious“, a laid-back atmospheric electronic piece – base driven with soft piano leads. The Ghosts Of The Canal have a pair of tracks taking up space on this disc, “That Which Survives” and “Richard Dreyfus“. Both are atmospheric songs that use some funky electronic effects, a light bottom end and a whole bunch of moaning. What results is unfortunately mediocre. Kid Gambino represents on the disc with “Let The Mic Go“. His freestyle-like rapping flow over a smooth beat laid down by live instruments – nice but unremarkable; pick up the Roots for some better hip-hop.
Probably the highlight of the second disc is DJ Laptop's “Hypnotic Oceans“, a relaxing electronic track that mixes some jungle beats with a light jazz flavor.
Simply said, “The C.O.M.A. Imprint” is mainly something for people that get off on experimental art and music. Not being one of them, I give it a 6 out of 10 – four points for musicianship and two for having the will to try something new.