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Bonfire - Legends

by Dave Nowels at 25 November 2018, 3:56 AM

BONFIRE is a Heavy Metal/AOR Metal band hailing from Ingolstadt, Germany. The band was formed by guitarist Hans Ziller way back in 1972 when I was a wee toddler. Ziller is the only original band member and actually owns the rights to the band name, which seems to suggest that there has perhaps been significant drama within the band’s history. More a German phenomenon, BONFIRE has only seen two albums (their first two) released commercially in North America. Despite these hurdles, since 1996 BONFIRE has managed to release at least one album a year, with their fan base larger than ever.

So, here we are in 2018 and the band has a completely updated line-up, with new members influenced by many types of music over the years. BONFIRE entered the studio to accomplish Ziller’s concept for an epic concert tour highlighting the songs that inspired the band over the years. So, despite an already hectic consert schedule, the band made the decision to enter the studio and put together this collection album of cover songs. Quite a daunting task, recorded between June and August of 2018, and titled appropriately “Legends”. The album itself is a massive undertaking, featuring 32 songs spread out over 2 discs. Produced by Ziller and recorded, mixed and mastered by Tom Muller at Flatliners Studio in Ingolstadt, Germany.

“Legends” has quite a diverse track line-up that definitely gives insight into the member’s musical upbringing. Songs dating from as far back as the ‘70’s, all the way to the AOR heydays of the ‘80’s are represented. TOTO’s “Africa”, “Rosanna” and “Hold The Line” start things off rather impressively before the band highlights some heavier roots with RAINBOW’s “Man On Silver Mountain”, and later a standout version of DEEP PURPLE’s “Child of Time”. Other notable tracks worth a listen would be SURVIVOR’s “Eye of the Tiger”, Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” and the quite respectable three song tribute to QUEENSRYCHE that kicks off disc two: “Jet City Woman”, “Silent Lucidity” and “Eyes of a Stranger”.

Obviously a labor of love, BONFIRE treats each song with the respect it deserves. And while these are songs that are mostly immediately known, Ziller and the band manage to inflect their own signature upon them. The band’s performances here are top notch, as is the production. I’m not the biggest fan of English singing German bands, nor of cover songs for the most part. Most certainly I expected to not like this two disc collection of English singing German cover songs. Shame on me for preconceived assumptions. I’m happy to report that I came away from the experience with a better understanding of BONFIRE, and more importantly with a shared respect for the songs they have lovingly recreated for all the right reasons.

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

4 Star Rating

CD 1
1. Africa
2. Hold The Line
3. Rosanna
4. Man On The Silver Mountain
5. I Surrender
6. Stone Cold
7. Death Alley Driver
8. Black Masquerade
9. Burning Heart
10. Eye of the Tiger
11. Caught In The Game
12. Doctor Doctor
13. Lights Out
14. Rock Bottom
15. Child In Time

CD 2
1. Jet City Woman
2. Silent Lucidity
3. Eyes Of A Stranger
4. Tears In The Rain
5. The First Time
6. Save Up All Your Tears
7. Hot Cherie
8. Dr. Love
9. Hallelujah
10. Rebellion
11. Heavy Metal Breakdown
12. Love Don’t Lie
13. I Wanna Be Loved
14. King Of Dreams
15. Frei wie die Geier
16. Erinnerung
17. Alt wie ein Baum
Hans Ziller - Guitar
Alex Stahl - Vocals
Frank Pane - Guitar
Ronnie Parks - Bass
Tim Breideband - Drums
Paul Morris – Keyboards
Record Label: AFM Records


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Edited 03 February 2023

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