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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Review-Bonfire-Glorious-2015

BONFIRE - GLORIOUS

BORILA REKORDS | Release Date: April 2015

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There have been big changes in the Bonfire camp in the lead up to ‘Glorious’ most notably the departure of singer Claus Lessmann after a falling out with co-founder member guitarist Hans Ziller (also founder of EZ Livin’), and the departures of Uwe Kohler (bass) who had been in the band since 1997 and Chris Limburg (Guitar) in his tenth year with the band. The other side of the revolving door saw the addition of bassist Ronnie Parkes (EZ Livin’), second guitarist Frank Pane, and new vocalist David Reece (Accept, EZ Livin’).


The questions I’m sure are many but mainly I suppose – will it sound like Bonfire or EZ Livin’? – a band whose latest 2014 release ‘Firestorm’ was solid enough Melodic Rock with a bluesy edge, a little different to Bonfire’s mix of AOR, ballads and slick Hard Rockers. Bonfire of course have always been instantly recognizable by Lessmann’s rather distinctive voice more than anything really, and when you add to the mix the fact that there have only been two studio releases in the last nine years and you wonder if this album will be a stop-gap or a new lease of life?


The answer is pretty clear from the off – this is a strong album, packed with Hard Rockers more akin perhaps to both EZ Livin’ and some of Reece’s past like Bangalore Choir from back in the day than to Bonfire. With such a distinctly different vocalist on board you can’t help but wonder about the name of the band here and it’s valid, but equally as valid is the music and to be honest it’s pretty damned good.


Opening with the fiery ’21 Gun Salute (Goes Boom)’ is a great introduction to the sound of the new Ziller-led band – harder and heavier than you might expect and made for Reece’s voice. ‘Nothin’ At All’ though is the song that makes you realise the spirit of vintage Bonfire is still alive – a great pacey rocker that delivers the goods, and when you listen to the Melodic Rock anthem ‘Remember’ you can’t help but think that Bonfire 2015 isn’t a huge departure.


Elsewhere big ballad ‘Fallin’ Out of Love’ is all class, and the title track itself is another Hard Rocking standout. The hard edged ‘Supernatural Disguise’ is pretty damned good too and boasts a great refrain, whilst ‘Shooting Star’ takes the vocal harmonies to a level not seen elsewhere, mixing it up nicely. At times you can’t help but wonder if the album is testing the waters to see if the harder sound sits well with fans but it’s hard to deny this is a class release, full of great performance and iced with solid production.
The album keeps up the quality even through to the final songs with ‘Lies’ adding a shot of soulful vocals and a Classic Rock vibe, and ‘Put Out the Flames’ is sure to resonate with Bonfire fans new and old. Final track ‘Free Wind Desperado’ closes the album proper with a fired-up road song full of intent and looking forward to a new chapter for the band.


Reworkings of all-time Bonfire Hard Rock classics ‘Sweet Obsession’; ‘American Nights’ and The Beatles’ ‘With a Little Help From My Friends’ add a great bonus that if you haven’t heard the band before, and David Reece’s vocals have a bluesier feel than Lessmann’s original takes on the (Bonfire) songs. The effect hopefully will be to have you headed back to check out the late eighties classic ‘Fireworks’ album one of our all-time favorites for the superior versions. I’m sure some will question the inclusion but at least it shows you what the band will sound like on the road and even though ‘Sweet Obsession’ has lost a lot ‘American Nights’ works better.


The only question you are left pondering here is the value of a name when attached to a band and when that name ceases to mean anything. Sure Hans Ziller is on board but with more members of EZ Livin’ (ironically another band with only Ziller an original member) than Bonfire is this still Bonfire? However you see it it’s still a great Hard Rock release…

 

by Mark Rockpit


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