October 16, 2023

Roger Daltrey famously sang the iconic line “I Hope I Die Before I Get Old” in the song My Generation back in 1965 which became something of an anthem for the angry youth of the world but I doubt very much that he and Pete Townsend thought that they would still be preforming the song nearly 60-years later. The longevity of rock bands is a source of wonder and amazement that they have retained the appetite to rock and roll and to continue to release new rock albums for fans who have now grown old with the band yet all still retain the same awe and wonder as they had for the debut releases from so many years ago.

Photo: Leonard Ludwig

We are now seeing so many groups with huge discography’s and it is little wonder that some of them want to revisit their earlier works and update and refresh them to revitalise the albums especially by using the wonders of the modern-day studio. The German rockers Bonfire are the latest to revisit their early works with the bands first three albums from the late ’80s now being fully re-recorded by the latest inception of the band. These revisions of long loved standards could almost be seen as a vanity work but, for the fan, is a neat way to have another look at how Bonfire has developed in the thirty-odd years since they were originally produced.

The roots of Bonfire go back to 1972 with the group initially called Cacumen and it was not until 1986 that the name was changed leading to their all-action Priest, Accept, Scorpions inspired heavy rock opening them up to the worldwide stage. Understandably, there have been many changes over the years and now only band founder and guitarist Hans Ziller remains from the original team and he has constantly refreshed the band which has given them a new dynamic so that the music never grows stale. The current crop of musicians alongside Ziller is Dyan Mair on vocals, Frank Pané on guitar, Ronnie Parkes on bass and Fabio Allesandrini on drums with Mair and Allesandrini only having joined the band last year. There have been a number of excellent singers along the way with Claus Lessmann leading the way and brief stints from Michael Bormann and David Reece before the outstanding Alexx Stahl cemented his place but he has now moved on the be replaced by Greek vocalist Mair and he has comfortably picked up the baton and has immediately made his mark on all three of the newly re-recorded works. Ziller wanted to refresh the sound rather than totally reinvent the albums so you will immediately recognise the works with the lyrics remaining the same with subtle changes to the pacing, riffs and guitar breaks plus a new vocalist but all still remains classic Bonfire.

Only the individual listener can decide if these are to be seen as replacements for the original records or companion pieces but you will be impressed with the fresh and updated recordings and if an album is a classic then it is great to have two versions of it! Bonfire is a vibrant and attractive heavy metal band with an illustrious career behind it and so much to look forward to in the future. Dyan Mair is a great asset as the voice of Bonfire and with Ziller at the helm then the future is as glowing as the past.