HGR CD Review: Candlelight Red

CANDLELIGHT RED – RECLAMATION (Imagen Records) Candlelight Red ups the ante and ratchets up the intensity on their second longplayer with Imagen Records, called Reclamation. Produced by Sevendust’s Morgan Rose, Reclamation shows an overall more aggressive edge and tighter songcraft. Brian Dugan’s drums and Jamie Morral’s bass sound weightier and deeper, Jeremy Edge’s guitars pack more snarl, and the counterpoint between singer Ryan Hoke’s melodic delivery and Morral’s rabid backing bark is more pronounced. Lyrically, Hoke’s words stick to mostly darker themes of troubled emotions, inner demons and a world gone awry. The influence of producer Rose and his mothership band shows itself on several heavier numbers, including “Like a Disease” and “Demons.” The disc opener “Reflecting” shows aggression and a rapidly evolving arrangement that hits paydirt quickly. Songs like “Broken Glass,” “Life as We Know It,” “Requiem” and “RX” couple clever and alluring melodies with varying angles of attack. Candlelight Red isn’t all storm and firepower on the disc; the first single “Feel the Same,” shows a somber and more subtle side of the group’s persona, and the disc finisher “Sleeping Awake” provides perhaps the album’s strongest hook, around which the song gradually evolves from an acoustic and ethereal start to a majestic and powerful homestretch. The performances are strong and confident, and the set is cohesive and flowing. Morgan Rose’s production and Mike Ferretti’s mix give Reclamation ample teeth and thunder, while applying just enough polish to give the songs a complete sound without sacrificing any of their edge. Reclamation signifies forward motion and progress for Candlelight Red, a powerful set that should score early and often with modern rock fans, and should only add to the group’s rapidly-growing fan base. You can get this CD at stores or through the group’s website, www.candlelightred.com. From Reclamation, let’s hear one from Candlelight Red called “Like a Disease” on the “Homegrown Rocker.”