Candiria, 300 Percent Density (Century Media): One dependable way to rate an album is to break out the Blasphemy Index: how many times did the record in question cause you to swear? Radiohead's OK Computer, for example, rates high, since people listening to "Exit Music: For A Film" can often be overheard exclaiming "Jesus Christ" out loud long after they've learned the song by heart. Living Color, on the other hand, tended to start high but finish about average; you only said "holy shit" the first few times you heard Vernon's Reid's pyrotechnics, and then the law of diminishing returns kicked in. There's a rap/jazz-fusion/nu-metal band from Brooklyn called Candiria whose B.I. quotient is practically off the chart. Now, sure: there are a lot of bands playing muscle-bound gruff-voiced seven-string metal, and there are plenty of rock-rap hybrids around, though few of them have rap numbers that'd actually pass as hip-hop. (300 Percent Density's several hip-hop moments get their trance-deep head-nodding the old fashioned way: they earn it.) The B.I. gets a huge push from the single smooth motion in which Candiria's phat beat-farming flows into gigantic distorted riffs in non-standard time signatures; the transitions are seamless — really almost unnoticeable — and the aftermath is monolithic. And then, just when you're completely consumed by the crushing metal heaviness of it all — well, that's when Candiria breaks out the honest-to-God jazz fusion, and that's when you'll blaspheme. Because they don't just do it for effect, and they don't just tinker with it. There are extended passages behind which hardcore Return to Forever fans will genuinely groove. Don't kid yourself, man. This is awesome. — John Darnielle

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