Review of the Album: CANDY – It's Inside You

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Candy: an intense band that appears to venture into the realm of non-traditional hardcore while still retaining its core essence. Not only because tracing their origins requires some additional effort, but also because Candy breaks the boundaries of traditional hardcore beats, paving the way for new elements like ‘80s action-movie synth scores and flashes of hypercore.

Their third album, It’s Inside You, released via Relapse Records and co-produced by Ben Greenberg from Quick and Uniform, features twelve energetic, digitally-enhanced tracks with appearances from Integrity’s Aaron Melnick, Angel Du$t’s Justice Tripp, and Trash Talk’s David Gagliardi. It kicks off with “eXistenZ”, and right from the title’s spelling, one can sense a departure from the raw intensity of their previous 2022 record Heaven is Here.

The intro synth sets a tone reminiscent of navigating through a cyberpunk city, with stimulant drugs coursing through your veins. The overall vibe of the song is upbeat and melodic, and the lyrics embrace a futuristic style, transitioning into “Short-Circuit” with its outro drums seamlessly leading to Justice’s feature. “It’s Inside You” incorporates record scratches in the background and propels the listener back to the nu metal era of the 2000s, while “Love Like Snow” feels like a track that could have been on Turnstile’s GLOW ON. This is the charm of Candy; they excel in blending experimental elements with guitar-driven bands like Physical TV and The Stone Roses, anchored by powerful, dynamic drums. By molding these songs with influences from diverse genres, they introduce hardcore enthusiasts to audioscapes they might not explore on their own.

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“Dehumanize Me” brings back the raw simplicity of an enraged hardcore track, delivering politically-charged chants of “Mechanical warfare!” while “Faith 91” introduces echoing “bleghs”, intricate guitar slides, and the inspirational line: “The faith is strong within myself”. “Terror Management” marks a shift in the album’s cadence, transitioning from a dreamlike video game sequence to a nightmarish battle scene. Each song is strategically placed, building up flawlessly to this section rather than tossing listeners into an erratic emotional rollercoaster. Both “Dreams Less Sweet” and “Silent Collapse” exhibit similar powerful energy with slightly less aggression but no compromise in impact.

After “Silent Collapse”, a surge of hypercore sound envelops the listener, evoking a sense of blown-out speaker static. As the pace quickens, Zak Quiram’s vocals fluidly move between ears, prompting thoughts on how mainstream bands have begun incorporating cyber soundscapes (Bring Me The Horizon’s recent work comes to mind). “Hypercore” aggressively challenges the listener, leaving them contemplative even after multiple listens.

Memories of Livejournal and neon pants from 2008 resurface, but just as the distress of Brokencyde looms, a sense of comfort emerges from the discomfort. It serves as a signal that It’s Inside You aptly embodies what Candy aims for: refreshingly innovative and distinctive.

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