Bonfire – Fistful Of Fire
(AFM Records - 2020)
'Fistful Of Fire' is the latest release from German rockers, Bonfire. The album marks the debut of vocalist Alexx Stahl, whose charismatic, captivating vocals prove to be a good fit for the band.
'Fistful Of Fire' was recorded at Flatline Recording Studios, a preferred spot, located in their city of origin, Ingolstadt, Germany. Their current offering is harder edged than their previous catalog, but still maintains the melodic, crisp sound that fans are familiar with. The clean, professional production captured the essence of Bonfire.
Formed in 1972, Bonfire was part of the1980's German music wave and managed to reach American shores following the successful single 'Don’t Get Me Wrong' . This is where I first found them during their Firework tour.
The new release contains fourteen tracks with several being instrumental lead ins. The introduction track 'The Joker' a South American inspired haunting instrumental complete with a pan flute. 'The Joker' leads in 'Getaway' a strong, solid rock track leaving no doubt of Stahl’s powerhouse vocals.
Throughout Fist of Fire, instrumental interludes function in a lead in purpose but they are each unique in the arrangements. 'Fire Etude' is a guitarist’s dream with a similarity to Eddie Van Halen’s 'Eruption'. 'The Surge' can easily become part of a movie score.
'Ride the Blade' , 'Rock and Roll Survivors', and 'The Devil Made Me Do It' seem timeless. Classic 1980s sound with a twist familiar to Bonfire and showcases the melodious dual guitar work from original member, Hans Ziller and fellow axe man, Frank Pane.
While I was enticed by Fistful of Fire in its entirety, there are songs that became a mainstay of my playlist. One being the title track, 'Fistful of Fire' which exemplifies traditional Bonfire but with a crunch. The thumping rhythm work from American bassist, Ronnie Parkes and drummer, Andre Hilgers round out the musical genius present not only in this track but throughout the complete CD.
'Warrior' is slightly reminiscent of Michael SchenkerFest thought not in reference to the track title, but more the strong guitar sound, harmonies and catchy chorus. These qualities the band perfects, and are present in fellow numbers 'Gloryland' and 'Fire and Ice'.
What rock album is not complete without a power ballad? 'When an Old Man Cries' validates the strength and magnificence of Stahl’s vocals.
Most of the time, I decide which releases I choose to write about. Sometimes it is a band I am already familiar with and they add something new to their catalog. Other times it is a thirst for new music and a chance to listen to a variety of genres. In this case, Bonfire is the former. They have remained one of my favorite bands and I am more than satisfied that they will continue to record albums such as this one.
By Dawn Belotti