Candiria's uniquely sprawling urban fusion sound combined elements of grindcore, funk, hip-hop, and jazz. Formed in Brooklyn, New York, the group originally comprised frontman Carley Coma, guitarists Chris Puma and Eric Matthews, bassist Mike MacIvor, and drummer Ken Schalk, debuting in 1995 with the album Surrealistic Madness. The band later included guitarist John Lamacchia, and Puma was further replaced by guitarist John "Be-Bop" Malonti in time for the follow-up, 1997's Beyond Reasonable Doubt; the third Candiria album, Process of Self-Development, appeared two years later. The guys issued 300 Percent Density through Century Media in May 2001 before returning the next year with the two-disc set C.O.M.A. Imprint on Lakeshore.
Touring in support of the record, however, Candiria's van was suddenly hit by a truck on the way to a gig in Cleveland. The van was totaled and flipped several times, several members being flung through the windows. Miraculously, all of Candiria survived, though all were hospitalized, several in critical condition. After a considerable recovery time, the guys regrouped with a newfound focus and resolve to step it up in their music. The resulting (and appropriately titled) What Doesn't Kill You... was produced by David Bendeth (Killswitch Engage, Breaking Benjamin) and issued in mid-summer 2004 on Bendeth's own Type A Records.
A subsequent tour late that year introduced two new guitarists to the fold, Darren Carter and Steve Fakelman, one permanently to replace Lamacchia (who exited in December) and one temporary as Matthews underwent back surgery. Candiria shared dates over the next year with Dillinger Escape Plan, Diecast, Nonpoint, and more, while the band began work on its next album. Matthews wound up permanently leaving the band, and Coma, MacIvor, and Schalk eventually welcomed guitarist Eddie Ortiz into the mix. As their album was nearing completion in August 2006, however, Schalk announced his resignation from Candiria.
The ensuing years saw the group dealing with lawsuits and injuries, and enduring a period of perpetual personnel change. During that time the bandmembers also explored other musical avenues, and by 2009, John LaMacchia and Carley Coma remained the group's sole original members. A two-track 7", "Invaders," arrived in 2014, heralding the arrival of the band's much anticipated new studio album, 2016's While They Were Sleeping. Recorded at Spaceman Sound by Tom Tierney and Alex Mead-Fox, the ambitious, Metal Blade-issued concept LP followed the trials and tribulations of a failed musician rising up against a monarchy in New York City. ~ Jason Ankeny