Hot on the relative success of the previous album “Byte The Bullet” (2017), Hanz Ziller and his new version of BONFIRE rushed into the studio and recorded another hot hard ‘n’ heavy album. For those who are unaware of the recent developments on the BONFIRE camp, longtime singer Claus Lessmann parted ways with the band in early 2015 and Ziller recruited an all new lineup, at first with David Reece behind the mic. But David as usual never gets along with anyone for more than a couple of years, so after the studio album “Glorious” (2015) and the collection of rerecorded old songs “Pearls” (2016) with Reece, in comes Alexx Stahl from VIRON, MASTERS OF DISGUISE and ROXXCALIBUR.
Stahl is definitely more metal than any of the previous BONFIRE vocalists and that shows on the bands last two albums. While BONFIRE always had a tendency towards a somehow metalized hard rock sound, now they throw in some pure teutonic metal along the usual hard rockers. And although that sounds a little bit alarming, the result is very convincing. The band has found the perfect formula for keeping its trademark hard rock sound and bringing forth its metal side as well. Both styles are executed perfectly and Stahl manages both the same. Maybe he lacks the special grit of Lessmann’s voice, but they share that unmistakable german accent in just the right amount and Stahl makes up with his set of younger, fresher pipes. I also have to note that the production is top level, clear and loud. The songs may follow the 80’s formula, which worked great for me, but the production is up to date and powerful (not ‘’modern’’ though).
After an unnecessary introduction the album explodes into a pure teutonic power metal song, “Temple of Lies” with Stahl trying out some Halford-like high screams, yet the chorus comes in pure German melodic metal tradition. Next comes a great anthemic hard rock track, “On The Wings Of An Angel”, which also has a metal vibe due to its soaring chorus. Other standout tracks include melodic (or should I just say heavy) metal track “Stand or Fall”, which reminded me of the “Fireworks” era (the heaviest album of the band’s classic era) and the power ballad “Comin’ Home” with a strong delivery by Stahl. “I’ll Never Be Loved By You” is another good hard rock tune and “Crazy Over You” goes slightly into AOR territory and it’s catchy as hell.
Like the previous album, this one should be checked out by fans of the band, Lessmann is not here but the spirit and essence of BONFIRE’s music is. And metal fans should also check out this great band getting into heavy metal territory.