There’s a revolution going on right now in hardcore. While the crowds have always been some of the most progressive, the music itself was feeling a bit stuck in the past, dominated by meatheaded, self-serious acts puritanically venerating the heroes of the past. Since 2018, though, the winds of change have been whistling through the scene. Bands such as Turnstile, Soul Glo and Special Interest have taken an axe to the old orthodoxies, updating and creating diverse and inclusive takes on the genre that finally match the community of fans.
Candy is another band to throw onto the list. Hailing from Richmond, Virginia, this four-piece is like some sort of energy vampire, sucking vibes from Black Flag, Nitzer Ebb and Throbbing Gristle and spitting them back out as brutal yet oddly tuneful metalcore. Like many of the band’s out there right now, they’re also utterly unafraid to fuck with genre’s playbooks and guidelines.
This approach has reached new heights on Heaven Is Here, an album where Candy seems determined to rip up the program and reconsider what a hardcore record can be. As a result, we get a record covering subjects like societal collapse, environmental devastation, police violence and institutional corruption that manages to avoid the polemic tropes associated with punk. Tracks like ‘Human Condition Above Human Behaviour’, a strangely cerebral beatdown anthem and ‘Transcend the Wet’, a thrilling blend of industrial, metal, and hypnogogic pop, feel like their deliberately avoiding formulas of old.
All in all, Heaven is Here is another massive step in hardcore’s reinvention of itself. Simultaneously hammering the more dogmatic segments of the sound yet keeping the founders’ energy and sense of fun, it’s an album that recaptures the openness and experimental vigour of the early scenes. Where all this leads is hard to tell, but as long records like this keep coming out, it will be a pretty wild ride finding out.