Bonfire – “Legends” 2CD (AFM Records)
Wow – like totally mental! I didn’t think these German hard rockers did anything really crazy…until Bonfire & Friends: A Night With Rock Legends. Clearly still fired up from their youth over the music they grew up to and were inspired by, Bonfire will be setting forth on tour this November with Phil Mogg (UFO), Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow), Geoff Tate (Queensryche), Bobby Kimball (Toto), Dave Bickler (Survivor), Dieter ‘Quaster’ Hertrampf (Puhdys – the longest-serving rock band in Eastern Germany), Robin Beck, Johnny Gioeli (Axl Rudi Pell), Chris Boltendahl (Grave Digger), James Christian (House Of Lords) and Paul Morris (Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow)! A long time in the minds of Bonfire’s founder guitarist Hans Ziller, the show will be a typical 80s production with catwalks, stairs, ramps and ingenious lights and pyro effects where Bonfire and these original artists perform the greatest hits in rock history! In anticipation of this extravaganza comes this monster 32 song double CD package made up of covers from the above bands – all played by Bonfire in their own style but carefully worked to preserve the integrity of the originals. Formed themselves in 1972 (!) by Ziller as a teenager, the band that went on to be renamed as Bonfire have released around 15 albums so, as you can imagine, these covers are as the band have described – perfect interpretations with the Bonfire touch of being harder and rockier in many cases, heavier with the inclusion of double bass drumming and certainly higher given Alexx Stahl’s soprano vocals. Thankfully, as the band have promised, the power of the original melodies and passion hasn’t been lost but instead, true to their childhood dreams been actually enhanced and brilliantly brought into the here and now. AOR purists may still err steadfastly to the originals, but for anyone yearning all these years for some gusto to those 80s classics, then “Legends” has it in bunches! So get ready for a crunching ‘Africa’, the flowing melodies and power screams to ‘I Surrender’, the guitar wailing ice breaking of ‘Burning Heart’, a keyboard and bass prominent ‘Doctor Doctor’, a searing ‘Heavy Metal Breakdown’ and the teutonic singalong of ‘Alt Wie Ein Baum’. Quite brilliant and probably cover / compilation album of the year.