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Review: Bonfire – Fistful of Fire

by Ivona Bogner



Bonfire – Fistful of Fire

1. The Joker
2. Gotta Get Away
3. The Devil Made Me Do It
4. Ride The Blade
5. When An Old Man Cries
6. Rock’n’Roll Survivors
7. Fire and Ice
8. Warrior
9. Fire Etude
10. Breaking Out
11. Fistful Of Fire
12. The Surge
13. Gloryland
14. When An Old Man Cries (Acoustic Version)

Label: AFM Records
Release date: April 3, 2020

Bonfire is the one of the long lasting traditional German metal bands formed back in 1972, with solid fan base increasing after guitarist Frank Pané joined Bonfire in 2014 and especially after Alexx Stahl came and lit the fire in the summer of 2016. Do not get me wrong, previous vocalists had great quality, but it seems Alexx had that X factor, if nothing more than enormous charisma, passion and energy.

On April 3, 2020, Bonfire released, “Fistful of Fire”, if I count well, 17th album in over four decades long career. Right now I could sign and seal this is the best album in 2020! But, we need more for review, right?

To be honest, I cannot remember when I discovered Bonfire (for sure 20 years ago if not more), but I became more interested in their work since Alexx (whose vocal capabilities and style I had known from Master of Disguise) joined the band. So far “Temple of Lies” (2018) is the album that absolutely can be marked as the best one in Bonfire’s career. Including “Legends” that was released the same year, for sure, 2018 is the most productive year for the band. As a hungry wolf I was lurking for a new album, and finally, here it is!

Judged by the art cover, the album promises a lot. At least, it promises old school sound.

The first two songs might be too slow for my temper, but the party starts with “The Devil Made Me Do It” (second single). This is true heavy metal! Alexx proves once again his vocal range is beyond reality. That scream can sand away Ripper Owens into the mouse hole!

From this point album gets just better and better. Here we come to the point where I cannot find enough superlatives to depict how excited I still am listening this album for at least three times in a day.

“Ride the Blade” is one of my favorites. This is the one of those songs that will hook you at first listening. The song you can hardly rid off.

“When An Old Man Cries” slows down tempo a bit, in Metallica’s “Nothing Else Matters” style. Listening the lyrics you can clearly see an old man unwinds the role of his life.

“Rock’n’Roll Survivors”, the first single, is kind of biographical song that describes career of band’s leader, Hans Ziller, but I am sure each of us, old rockers and metallers can find ourselves in it. It seems his life motto is never give up or what does not kill you just makes you stronger. The song is followed by video that includes participation of Tina Schüßler (German kickboxer, boxer, bodybuilder and former world champion, also a singer) and Stephanie Posch, her colleague, recorded in Augsburg.  

Ziller said:

I’ve been kicked in the teeth a thousand times during my career and I often went down, but I’ve always picked myself up again.

If you ever had any doubts, after this song you will fight for rock for sure!

“Fire And Ice” kind of Accept influence but with more fuel on fire and nostalgic moments. Although by all definitions this song can be classified as a ballad, which means soft drumming, here André Hilgers just kills. 

“Warrior” with Bon Jovi keyboards moments and great melody line is another one song that proudly stands out.

“Fire Etude” is very short but effective instrumental that leads to another pearl of the album “Breaking Out”. Hans and Frank are delivering virtuosity and Alexx strikes again with his screams touches.

The next one, “Fistful of Fire” caries the strong message, that can be somehow easily connected with the chaos we are all living in for a last couple of months. I hope we will learn finally to take care of our planet, cause we have no another one. Wake up!

Instrumental, “The Surge”, includes all needed instruments that dramatically lead you to another killer song “Gloryland”. Fast, heavy, melodic, catchy… All you need is your iron horse to ride into the sunset as a Lucky Luke.

“When an Old Man Cries”, full strike and smart move. Is there any better closure than acoustic version of one of the colossal ballads?

Usually, writers have only one conclusion. One final word. Since I have never considered myself as a normal human being, always from extreme to extreme, never the middle ground, I have a few final words (read sentences).

Somehow I regret we have no ratings anymore, cause for sure, Bonfire’s “Fistful of Fire” would get the best marks.

Some might think of retirement after all those decades of dedicated work, but Bonfire are true survivors! 

Mötley Crüe have the song “Looks That Kill”, Bonfire have the voice that kills!

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