Meet Candy, the Pittsburgh metal band even heavier than Code Orange

Guitarists Michael Quick and Steve Di Genco either side of vocalist Zak Quiram

Positioning themselves as the heavier, more chaotic sibling of Pittsburgh metallers Code Orange – which is, indeed, a feat in and of itself – Richmond, Virginia upstarts Candy have made ripples in the underground hardcore and metal scenes since their debut three-track demo in 2017. 

If their first full length, 2018’s Good To Feel, got their metaphorical foot in the genre’s door, its follow-up, this year’s Heaven Is Here, kicks that door squarely off its hinges. Alongside sporadic digitally influenced effects and soundbites sit guitarists Michael Quick and Steve Di Genco, whose urgent and frenetic alternate picking runs and doomy powerchord riffs keep the Candy freight train barrelling along in a genre of their own crafting.

Make no mistake, despite an endearing name, there’s nothing sweet about this five-piece. On Heaven Is Here, gritty riffs are made grittier by dangerous levels of distortion and frontman Zak Quiram’s guttural vocals, while frequent tempo changes ensure any sense of comfort or familiarity is quickly dispelled. 

The record’s highlights include opener Human Condition Above Human Opinion, which finds Quick and Di Genco offering devilish drop-tuned chugs and lightning-fast alternate picking runs over blast beats, its title track, which keeps you on your toes with unpredictable tempo shifts and a gloriously simple but heavy-hitting riff, and Perverse, the 10-minute closing epic which blurs the boundary between music and sound design.

And while Heaven Is Here is sonically intense, to say the least, Candy’s live shows match that intensity and then some, without ever compromising on the tightness that’s required in such a style of music. 

Snippets of the band’s live performances can be found online, the best quality in terms of recording on Vans’ YouTube channel. The eight-minute clip sees the quintet tear through Lust For Destruction and Human Target, two tracks from Good To Feel, and the outro title track from their 2017 EP, Candy Says.

Another clip can be found in which the band play an ultra-claustrophobic show at Programme Skate & Sound, a skateboard shop in Fullerton, California. Recorded before the release of Good To Feel, it offers a glimpse into the group’s unwavering ferocity, which remains unchanged and unbridled four years later in 2022.

If Code Orange launched themselves into the mainstream with tech-influenced metalcore, we’re confident in assuming Candy will follow right in their footsteps.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.