Heaven Is Here

rating icon 8.5 / 10

Track listing:

01. Human Condition Above Human Opinion
02. Mutilation
03. Heaven is Here
04. Price of Utopia
05. Transcend to Wet
06. Hysteric Bliss
07. World of Shit
08. Fantasy / Greed
09. Kinesthesia
10. Perverse

Every few years, hardcore seems to undergo some kind of involuntary renaissance. Recent times have seen the genre becoming reacquainted with its cerebral, left-field instincts, with bands like CODE ORANGE, FULL OF HELL and the UK's HERIOT flagrantly twisting the template to their own scattershot, boundary-defying designs. Not that "Heaven Is Here" gives any indication that its creators are lining up as part of some new scene. CANDY's music is unpredictable and untamed, and the aggression and negativity that emanates from these fractured, ferocious songs feels so instinctive and real that comparisons with other bands are rendered redundant. "Heaven Is Here" is the kind of record that exists to scrape the emotional plate clean, and hardcore is a mere starting point.

The first 20 minutes of the Americans' second album is like a sustained carpet bombing of the senses. Kicking off with a storm of atonal grind, "Human Condition Above Human Opinion" is sledgehammer heavy and deeply hostile. As the tempos slow, CANDY click into a more punishing gear, shrouded in feedback and noise and squinting inwards with militant determination. "Mutilation" switches from teeth-shattering power-violence to tripped-out, psychedelic noise rock, before the title track erupts in a blizzard of white-light violence and lurching sludge.

Admittedly, there are plenty of riffs that tether CANDY to recognizable musical tropes, but the sheer weight of the band's vitriol offsets every one of them. Consequently, "Heaven Is Here" is as claustrophobic and hypnotic as it is brutal. Peppered with shards of abstract noise, pugnacious assaults like "Price of Utopia" and "World of Shit" turn howling nihilism and sonic anarchy into symbiotic bedfellows. Meanwhile, CANDY get even further out on "Transcend to Wet": a surreal deluge of fucked-up electronics and lysergic queasiness. "Kinesthesia" is similarly hair-raising, as malevolent robots march through an avalanche of glitching noise.

Grand finale "Perverse" takes the hallucinatory biscuit. Ten minutes of hyper-abrasive, freeform noise, it condenses the essence of the songs that precede it and spews it back out as a final act of bilious defiance. Fans of MERZBOW will probably find it quite relaxing. Everyone else needs to turn the volume up and embrace the sound of a band with nothing short of total annihilation on their bloody, fire-damaged agenda. CANDY are terrifying but undeniable.

Author: Dom Lawson
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