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Bonfire - Byte The Bullet

Bonfire
Byte The Bullet
by VR at 19 May 2017, 2:27 PM

German Heavy Metal band CACUMEN formed in the year 1972, released 3 studio albums and 1 EP before they changed their moniker to BONFIRE in 1986 at the behest of their recording company. The band went through a sea of line-up changes with Hans Ziller remaining the sole original member. They released their 15th studio album entitled “Byte the Bullet” with an entirely new line-up that was only formed 2 years ago. Alexx Stahl, who initially joined in to fill the vacant lead vocal spot but has since joined the band on a permanent basis, provides the lead vocals. Longtime front man, Claus Lessmann, left the band due to personal differences with Hans Ziller who retains all the rights to the group’s music.

Electronic sounds herald the beginning of “Power Train” and it has an interesting start with some skilled guitar work. It is not until past the 2-minute mark when the vocals come to the party. Powerful vocals, ably supported by backing vocals, make this a regulation Hard Rock song, albeit, on the longer side. “Some kinda Evil” is a slower song that has groovy riff and is an enjoyable song. The song follows fast tracks and is a welcome change in tempo and is the standout track of the album. The song leads us to “Lonely nights” and the song is the obligatory ballad that bands of the 80’s employed to sell units. Being a fan of the 80’s Glam era, I did enjoy this track immensely and it certainly took me back. Nestled smack in the middle of the album is “Locomotive Breath”, a cover of JETHRO TULL from the influential album “Aqualung”. The updated rock version is almost unrecognizable from its bluesy original avatar and it is not a bad cover at all. “Reach for the Sky” and “Sweet Surrender”, two fast rock numbers follow in succession before a less than a one minute, strangely humorous conversational piece called “Friedensreich”, comes on. “InstruMetal” is exactly as the name suggests; a short instrumental track has the band playing Classical songs in a Rock vein. The band manages to squeeze in a second balled called “Without You”, and it is the penultimate song of the album before ending with a track called “Sweet Obsession” that was rehashed from a previous album called “Fireworks”.

Overall this album has all the characteristics of a solid Rock record. The album contains amazing vocals, great guitar sound, and a brilliant percussion section to keep up with the melodies. Despite all the competencies that the band possesses, one can’t help wonder if the era of 80’s style Rock is relevant in this day and age. Although this is a strong album with well-crafted melodies and extremely powerful lead vocals, this does not mean the band breaks new ground in the originality department. This album harks back to an era where image and looks trumped ingenuity and therefore, unfortunately, is more or less stuck in that time zone. Not to take anything away from the talent of the musicians, but this album is strictly for fans of the German sound and for fans of the era of big hair, flashy guitars, and the whole Sleaze Rock lifestyle.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Power Train
2. Stand up 4 Rock
3. Praying 4 a Miracle
4. Some Kinda Evil
5. Lonely Nights
6. Byte the Bullet
7. Locomotive Breath
8. Reach for the Sky
9. Sweet Surrender
10. Friedensreich
11. InstruMetal
12. Too Far From Heaven
13. Without You
14 Sweet Obsession
Lineup:
Hans Ziller - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Alexx Stahl - Lead Vocals
Ronnie Parkes - Bass, Backing Vocals
Frank Pane - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Tim Breideband - Drums
Record Label: U.D.R. Records
     


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