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Review: Candlelight Red’s debut CD burns bright

October 4th, 2011 Posted in Opinion

By Ben Hansen
Special to HNC

SALT LAKE CITY—A week ago, a relatively unknown band named Candlelight Red made its way through Utah, scheduled to pay a date at Club Sound. One week later, their brand new debut album has already made it through a dozen cycles on my iPod.

Candlelight Red’s first album, The Wreckage, sounds more like a burning speedster, tearing up the open raceway all alone. The album wastes little time in getting straight to business, with a brief introduction leading directly into the distorted, palm-muting guitar grind of “The Dirt.” The feel of the songs shifts quickly to a more upbeat tempo, as harmonies and higher-octave vocals are infused with catchy melodies in the following song, “Closer.

Lead singer Ryan Hoke shows great range in octave and style on this effort, somehow finding a way to rasp, swoon, yell, scream, growl and harmonize within each song, creating the perfect environment for guitarist Jeremy Edge and drummer Josh Hetrick to morph powerful and emotional musical elements together from song to song without any compromise to the end result.

As the album progresses, one would expect the songs to begin to blend together and fit into a particular mold like so many others in similar genres. Surprisingly, however, the songs on this album hold their own from start to finish, including the ’80s metal-sounding track “Medicate,” buried eight clicks into the album. The final track, a slamming version of Roxette’s massive pop-hit “The Look,” further validates the depth of the song variety, while also serving as a well-placed and fun closing piece to the collection.

While pieces of some songs are reminiscent of Breaking Benjamin, Adema, and My Chemical Romance influences, Candlelight Red develops its own musical identity on their debut album, while catering to the rock needs of an established genre. This initial effort should see this band from Pennsylvania start to gain some serious momentum. It will be interesting to see where they take their music from here.


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