Candiria's John LaMacchia: 5 Great Non-Metal Albums for Metalheads | Revolver

Candiria's John LaMacchia: 5 Great Non-Metal Albums for Metalheads

Zombie Jazz, wounded angels, Napalm Death alums and more
candiria john lamacchia 2022 PROMO, Billy Kidd for Allen Edmonds
photograph by Billy Kidd for Allen Edmonds

John Lamacchia is best known as the guitarist of genre-smashing NYC metal/hardcore crew Candiria, but his debut solo album, Thunderheads — due to be released under his surname on May 20th via Aqualamb Records — showcases a whole other side of his expression. As the LP's Candice Freshko–assisted lead single "Angels Delight" suggests, the music is more closely related to the moody, introspective excursions of Massive Attack or Radiohead than the spazz-metal freakouts of, say, the Dillinger Escape Plan — a mellower sound he previously explored with his long-running side project Spylacopa.

Between his heavy-music résumé and his current, less-heavy solo endeavors, the Candiria guitarist is a perfect contributor to Revolver's continuing "Great Non-Metal Albums for Metalheads" series, which has welcomed the likes of Deftones' Chino Moreno, Exodus' Gary Holt and Volbeat's Michael Poulsen. Up now, Lamacchia — see his picks below.

Lisa Gerrard - The Mirror Pool

Hearing The Mirror Pool for the very first time was one of those moments in my life that I knew I would never hear music the same way again. I was completely captivated by the opening passages of "Violina - The Last Embrace." Only to be blown away by what came next. After over two minutes of beautiful layers of strings weaving and twisting between dissonance and the deepest sadness I have ever heard, there is a break. A low steady note patiently stirs and a church bell rings out. Setting the stage for the grand entrance of the one and only, Lisa Gerrard. Crying out and wailing like a wounded angel. Incredible pain and sadness entwined with incomparable beauty. Heavier than the heaviest riff ever written. Fight me. 

Bowery Electric - Beat

Bowery Electric came on the NYC underground music scene in '93. They made loop-based music that pushed the limits of post-rock and incorporated other genres such as shoegaze, ambient, downtempo and trip-hop. Their second album, Beat, which came out in '96, was way ahead of its time. Although some of the Influences were obvious. My Bloody Valentine's shoegaze classic, Loveless, for example, the duo didn't shy away from challenging the listener. With drastically slow tempos, extended ambient interludes and vocals so low in the mix at times, you can barely hear them. Somehow on Beat, it all makes perfect sense. This is the kind of album that you put on and listen straight through, and when it's over, it's like you woke up from a dream, sad that it ended.

When I am selecting tracks for a party or an event and I play a song from Beat, like "Coming Down" or "Inside Out." Nine times out of 10 someone will approach the DJ booth and ask what song it is. I love turning people on to this album. Is Beat party music? Most certainly not. Unless you are me, of course.

Bohren & Der Club of Gore - Black Earth

Imagine if John Coltrane, Elvin Jones, Bill Evans and Ron Carter formed a quartet, snorted a bunch of benzos and recorded an album. The result may sound something like Bohren & Der Club of Gore's moody and infinitely inspiring fourth album, Black Earth. Like most of Bohren's music, the album is slow, dark, enigmatic and sexy as hell, and the German based ambient Jazz quartet — or as I like to call it, "Zombie Jazz" — are at the top of their game.

By their preceding album, Sunset Mission, the band is much tighter and the production is upgraded a great deal. Comparatively, it is a close second and worthy of just as much praise, but Black Earth, in my opinion, is the pinnacle of all of their efforts thus far.

My favorite track is "Destroying Angels," but the entire album is a gorgeous journey through long, dark corridors that wind down to a smoke filled room. Sitting at the bar, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart and Hedy Lamarr. But the star of this scene is the music. Have sex to this album. Trust me.

Scorn - Refuse ; Start Fires

Scorn is an electronic music project formed by former Napalm Death members Mick Harris and Nic Bullen. Although Bullen left the project decades ago, Mick Harris has continued to put out some of Scorn's very best releases on his own.

In 2010 Scorn released Refuse ; Start Fires. With influences and musical styles ranging from industrial and metal to hip-hop and dub, Harris finds a way to bring all of these worlds together to form something truly unique. On this album he even incorporates live drums, which adds more complexity and depth to the mix (literally).

Refuse ; Start Fires is loaded with musical hooks usually in the form of a distorted synth bassline or distorted drum beat. The opening track "LT 94" is particularly noteworthy and my favorite Scorn track overall. If you like it, you are sure to like the rest. It's a fantastic listen front to back.

The Cure - Disintegration

Perfect, pure, true, singular. These are some words that come to mind when I think of the Cure's masterpiece, Disintegration. A perfect album, in my humble opinion, and decades ahead of its time. An album that, to me, stands just as strong now as it did when it came out in 1989.

In my experience, making an album come out the way you want it to can be a very challenging task. Especially if you have very specific intentions. I dare you to have a very specific idea of how it is supposed to sound. Usually somewhere along the way something gets lost, and in the end you wind up missing the mark. In truth, I think you're better off hating everything that you do. Then maybe, you'll actually accomplish something.

Based on some of the articles I read, I get the sense that this is how Robert Smith felt when the band was making Disintegration. Completely disgusted with how everything was turning out. But you see this is exactly how it's supposed to be. This is how the greatest artistic triumphs are achieved. Through pure suffering.

To me and millions of others, Disintegration will always be a perfect listening experience. To Robert Smith and the band, it just may be the worst thing that they've ever created. Go figure.