This remarkable German heavy rock band has been around since 1972 but was initially known as Cacumen until 1986 when they changed their name to Bonfire. This proved to be a masterstroke and since then, they have released many great rock albums and continued to raise their profile worldwide. For the uninitiated, Bonfire is a rock band that plays metal in a similar fashion and style to the metal gods Judas Priest, Accept, Brainstorm and Scorpions and stand comfortably alongside them in terms of ability and importance to heavy metal.
They are another band that has had numerous changes in line-ups with only the band founder and guitarist Hans Ziller remaining from the original team and, more importantly, he holds the rights to the Bonfire name, a valued asset indeed. Ziller has consistently brought in talented musicians to keep the sound fresh and to move with the times yet still managing to retain the essential Bonfire sound. Fistful Of Fire sees yet another slight change to the band with drummer Tim Breideband leaving the fold to be replaced by André Hilgers (ex-Rage/Axxis), elsewhere, it’s business as usual with Ziller and Frank Pané on guitar, Ronnie Parkes on bass and Alexx Stahl on vocals. Alexx Stahl has now been the vocalist for a couple of albums and he has really made the position his own with his powerful and commanding delivery. There seems to have been an even heavier element to Bonfire over the last couple of albums but they always ensure that the melody is ever present and this gives them a broader appeal. Bonfire always find room for a power ballad or two and this album sees a fine example in When An Old Man Cries and they even close the album with an acoustic version of the same track which will surely get those lighters held high when played at festivals. Another track that could prove to be radio friendly is Warrior which sounds a little similar to Bon Jovi’s Living On A Prayer and that didn’t do too badly did it? If you had to pick a track from the album that perfectly summed up Bonfire then go for Fire And Ice, an up tempo rocker with stunning guitar and a vocal to die for. As you would expect, the guitar work throughout from Ziller and Pané is exceptional, their interplay is amazing and they make one hell of a team in the best tradition of twin guitar bands.
If you are already into Bonfire then this release will cement their reputation as fine purveyors of Judas Priest type heavy metal with a huge and inviting back catalogue behind them. If new and you are looking for a huge injection of heavy metal then this is as good a place to start but remember that this band has not made a bad album, so there are plenty of others to sample too.