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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Never Go Unheard

  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2006 1 Mar
Never Go Unheard
Sounds like … modern rock with a major guitar presence that's reminiscent of Skillet, the latest Yellowcard album, and Evanescence (minus the female lead vocals)At a glance … while the formula isn't exactly new or complex, Candlefuse packs an emotional punch with 10 catchy and relatable rock songs for the churchTrack Listing Fighter Echoes of Words Carousel Hungry (Falling On My Knees) Bullet-proof Search for Life Turn Around Angel's Cry Shut Your Eyes Beauty Cries

With a desire to be "unified as a light in a dark world," Alabama-based rockers Candlefuse have the angst-ridden, guitar-fueled sound down pat without the depressing "What does it all mean?" lyrics so many of the hippest hard rock bands serve up these days. While Candlefuse certainly isn't afraid to tackle the tough questions of life and spirituality either, there's still a tangible, non-clichéd sense of hope found by engaging in a deeper relationship with Jesus.

With the help of producer Barry Blair (Audio Adrenaline, Bleach) and the mixing prowess of Skidd Mills (Skillet, Third Day), the message behind Never Go Unheard is pure ear candy, particularly on the instantly catchy power chorus of "Carousel," the adrenaline-fueled anthem "Bulletproof" and the moody, reflective nature of "Shut Your Eyes." Though I'm typically not a fan of "let's-make-worship-music-rock" moments that bands like Skillet and Kutless have released in the past, Candlefuse's rather aggressive cover of "Hungry (Falling on My Knees)" is actually enjoyable as it reflects the heartfelt passion and sense of desperation for God's redemption that's conveyed in the song's simple lyrics.

Comprised of Ben Honeycutt (vocals), Drew Garrett (guitar), Steven Howell (bass) and Brian Hechler (drums), the band started playing together in 1999, and, for the past six years, have been traveling across the southeast, performing at a variety of venues. With the belief that "music is sometimes able to communicate truth when other methods fail," Honeycutt says the band's mission is simply "to let people know about Him—to let them know how lost we are without a Savior."

While the band manages to accomplish that goal on every song on Never Go Unheard, the project falls a little short, however, on something the band has deliberately rallied against—the tendency for Christian-market albums to sound like a knock-off of something that's already being done much better in the mainstream. The band says "God created us to be creative—Christian music is sometimes labeled as 'cheesy' or a bad imitation of the secular market." Yet Candlefuse doesn't do much to distinguish itself musically from mainstream rock peers like Yellowcard, Evanescence, and Linkin Park.

That small criticism aside, there's much potential here. And with a resolve to "raise the bar to a new level… with every lyric, melody, chord, and arrangement," at least the band has the right idea until it establishes a more original sound—something bound to come with a little more time and experience.

© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.