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Bonfire - Temple of Lies

Temple of Lies
by Martin Knap at 30 April 2018, 3:12 PM

BONFIRE are back and they are here to take you on a trip to a time when the value of good hair and a fleshy butt was at it’s peak in rock and metal. This German rock squad was founded by Hans Ziller in 1972 (originally under the name CACUMEN) when he was in high school, their first album came out in 1981. They were gaining popularity in the 80s, releasing two albums in North America, but didn’t exactly have a breakthrough there. After a series of disappointments their singer Claus Leßmann left. The band was in a rut and went on a hiatus in 1994, but soon after that Ziller teamed up with Leßmann and BONFIRE were back in 1996 with a new line-up, releasing one album almost every two years since then. Their popularity grew bigger than it was in the 80s, some of their albums and singles made the German charts. Even after some line-up changes - Ziller is the only remaining original member - they remained on top of their game.

With their newest release “Temple of Lies,” BONFIRE are back at business and their business is melodic hard rock / heavy metal that stands comparison with glam rock bands like SCORPIONS, DOKKEN, DEF LEPPARD and also to the bit more heavy metal leaning bands like PRETTY MAIDS. The album kicks off with a heavy song, “Temple  of Lies”. The verse reminds me of “Turbo” era JUDAS PRIEST, but the chorus has a tad bit more melody than what we would get in a PRIEST song. With “On the Wings of an Angel” we get into the glam rock territory, the synths give the song a typical 80s spacey vibe, and the bombastic chorus is also unmistakably 80s rock. I almost want to start singing “Smoke on the Water” when I hear the main riff of “Feed the Fire” and the bombastic chorus works like a perfect ear worm, and is therefore somewhat obnoxious (also because fire is rhymed with bonfire).

Stand or Fall” is one of the heavier songs on the album, with driving melodies, a very catchy chorus and some great guitar spreading. No wonder the song was picked as a single. The SCORPIONS-esque ballad “Coming Home” is quite nice, there is a gradual buildup in the song so that the climax feels really powerful. One song that stands out on the latter half of the album is “Fly Away”. The verse feels very uplifting, it has an oddly bittersweet pre-chorus and a epic, soaring chorus. This and “Stand or Fall” are my personal favorites on this album. Overall the album is all killer no filler, we get great signing performances from Alexx Stahl, and some great guitar work. The album flows well, I like how the songs are arranged - the ballad comes after a faster, heavier song, the uplifting song comes after a song full of anger and righteousness etc. - and clocking at 44 mins it doesn’t overstay its welcome.

The music is not “culturally relevant”, but who cares? BONFIRE are not here to compete with LIL PUMP or whatever is hot in popular music today. This music is obviously for rock fans, so if you are a rock fan who is curious about this band or a BONFIRE fan who wants to know how the new album came out, you can rest assured that it won’t disappoint you.

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

4 Star Rating

1.  In The Beginning
2.  Temple Of Lies
3.  On The Wings Of An Angel
4.  Feed The Fire (Like The Bonfire)
5.  Stand Or Fall
6.  Comin' Home
7.  I'll Never Be Loved By You
8.  Fly Away
9.  Love The Way You Hate Me
10. Crazy Over You

Alexx Stahl - lead vocals
Hans Ziller – guitar
Frank Pané – guitar
Ronnie Parkes – bass
Tim Breideband – drums
Record Label: AFM Records


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Edited 31 March 2023

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