(8/10) The comeback of German rockers Bonfire is quite impressive. The band went through some ups and downs over time, releasing records under header of Bonfire as well as Lessmann/Zeller and EZ Livin’, to mention just some. However, Bonfire never came close to the peak they had in the days of “Fireworks” and “Point Blank”.
A turning point of all the mentioned happened almost two years ago when Bonfire released with “Glorious” an album that contained very good songs with a singer that also was a perfect match. Next to Bonfire’s main man Hans Ziller it was David Reece who gave each of the songs a strong identity. The energy level was raising and it felt like the band’s coming back. This trend was fed by the compilation “Pearls” that included many re-arranged Bonfire classics.
While the line-up on guitar, bass and drums showed some consistency it was the role of the singer that was the more fragile element in the group. David Reece left the band in summer 2016 and a replacer was found in no time. German singer Michael Bormann joined and thing looked like getting back into shallow waters. Nobody could foresee that 2 months later the news was spread that Bornemann left again. Fortunately Ziller could hire with Alexx Stahl a new singer rather quickly and Bonfire could continue working on the next longplayer “Byte the Bullet”.
After having heard the album a few times I must say that it is an impressing piece of music, filled with great Bonfire songs.
The opener "Power Train" sets the scene, a good song and with seven minutes a surprisingly long one too. What's better is the second shot on this tracklist. "Stand Up 4 Rock" is a powerful rocker that comes with a good punch, a catchy melody and chorus that's made for live show.
Also the moderate grooving "Some Kinda Evil" belongs to the good ones on "Byte the Bullet", followed by "Lonely Nights" which reminds of "Who's Fooling Who" and in the end it's another version of "Sweet Obsession" that rounds off the album..
What needed a bit time to grow is the cover version on the album. Ziller & Co. took Jethro Tull’s milestone “Locomotive Breath” and turned it into a powerful hardrock number. Actually it sounds pretty good but the first 1,5 minutes still give me a bit of a harder time. The piano intro of the original version is so much branded that Bonfire almost has no chance to live-up to it. I don’t want to say that it’s a bad cover version, it’s just an iconic classic that's more than a hard cookie to interpret newly.
Next to all the good music there’s also a short moment of comedy weaved in. It's bass player Ronnie Parkes, native English speaker, who repeats words like ‘Friedensreich’ and some more crazy German words. A nice break, but also not more.
To sum up. Bonfire releases with “Byte the Bullet” there strongest album since “Point Blank”. It comes with songs that are fresh, dynamic, melodic and powerful. And the fact that the guys teamed up with UDR Records feeds the hope of a sustainable continuation of this revitalized German metal dinosaur.
- Power Train
- Stand Up 4 Rock
- Praying for a Miracle
- Some Kinds Evil
- Lonely Nights
- Byte the Bullet
- Locomotive Breath
- Reach for the Sky
- Sweet Surrender
- Too Far From Heaven
- Without You
- Sweet Obsession
Genre: Melodic Metal
Release Date EU: March 23rd, 2017