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POP AND JAZZ REVIEWS : Candlebox: Metal the Old-Fashioned Way

October 10, 1994|CHUCK CRISAFULLI

Since Nirvana's ascent to pop stardom, many newfangled sounds from what was once rock's underground have found broad audiences, in effect widening the mainstream.

But there are still a lot of fans who want their rock kicks served up the old-fashioned way--slow, straight, loud and as heavy as possible. Those tastes have helped propel the debut album from Seattle's Candlebox firmly into the Top 10 on the sales charts.

On Friday at the Palladium, the quartet held forth with a full-throttle set of its bloozy bombast. With a seemingly endless supply of ponderous guitar riffs and elephantine beats, the band created some hefty accompaniment for singer Kevin Martin's explosive assertions of fury and confusion.

The group delivered dynamic performances of "Change," "Cover Me" and some new material, and allowed itself some impressive stretching on "No Sense," but often the music was a one-note mix of heavy rhythm and over-the-top rage.

The band didn't shy away from its classic rock roots, dedicating one song to Carlos Santana and working chunks of the Doors and Jimi Hendrix into others.

Martin is a powerful presence on stage, although his outsize emoting can approach self-conscious melodrama. Those big feelings clearly connected with the crowd, and the singer eagerly tossed himself into the sea of outstretched hands and later pulled up a few eager fans to the stage.

Candlebox has revived the thunderous rumble of high-grade heavy metal. Their roar may be predictable, but it is formidable.

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