Although they’ve been around since 1986 (or 1972 if you wish to include their previous incarnation, Cacumen), German act Bonfire have always had to live in the shadow of fellow countrymen and hard rockers Scorpions and Accept. Even with fifteen studio albums to their name, plus numerous compilation and live releases, the band has only ever achieved a limited, but steady amount of success.
With decades of personnel changes, reunions, and legal wranglings behind them, and with only guitarist Hans Ziller remaining as the band’s original member (and even he left the band for seven years after being fired in 1989), Bonfire’s latest line-up still manages to deliver the goods with their new record Temple of Lies (AFM).
Opening with a short, narrated, introduction, the bluesy guitar and neoclassical piano of ‘In the
Beginning’ sounds like something Manowar would come up with if asked to produce a beer commercial. Next up is the title track, a great song powered by a strong riff, dominated by the high pitched wailing vocals of new frontman Alex Staahl, and containing a chorus of which many a European Power Metal band would be proud.
The Dokken-esque ‘On The Wings of an Angel’ and ‘Stand or Fall’ are a little lighter but no less catchy, and with a very eighties title for a very eighties song, ‘Feed the Fire’ is slow, but solid foot-tappy goodness. ‘Comin’ Home’ is standard power ballad material and probably goes on a bit too long, while ‘I’ll Never Be loved By You’ is a slightly heavier ballad with big eighties hooks and a pleasant aroma of Meat Loaf.
“You’ve been down this road before” sings Staahl on the faster paced ‘Fly Away’. Well, yes we have actually. Many times in fact, but it’s still good though. ‘I Help you Hate Me’ is a great little song with a headbangy, foot-stampy riff, but because of its reggae influence, automatically draws comparisons to the Scorpions’ superior ‘Is There Anybody There?’, and closing cut ‘Crazy Over You’ finishes the album in reasonable, but less than stellar fashion.
A worthy addition to the band’s back catalogue, Temple of Lies may not be Heavy Metal heaven, but it contains more than its fair share of highly creditable material and is certainly one of the strongest records the band has put out for many a year.