Review: Bonfire – Fistful Of Fire

AFM Records (April 3rd 2020)

Reviewer: Paul Saripo

I enjoyed this album throughout however I didn’t begin to truly absorb the album until I fired up the amps and subs to truly appreciate the composition and production. Don’t hold back on this one, play loud.

The Joker‘ is a short instrumental opening the album with a sense of mystery, anticipation and adventure which almost seamlessly leads on to ‘Gotta Get Away‘ , power rock track that has catchy riffs with heavy delivery.

The Devil Made Me Do It‘ is a classic dual lead guitar showcase with symphonic undertones and high reaching vocals and a sing a long chorus.

Ride The Blade‘ exercises the vocal dexterity of Alexx Stahl delivering operatic highs with husk lows alongside fast melody of guitar work.

When An Old Man Cries‘ changes direction and tone with more than a nod over to a New Jersey sound, this track delivers on a ballad with smoky flames.

Rock’n’Roll Survivors‘ brings everything needed for a Bonfire spectacular that underlines this new albums approach and originality.

Fire And Ice‘ is perhaps the meltwater of the album with franticly fast yet precision guitar work.

Fire Etude‘ is a short and complex instrumental that pumps high velocity Oxygen into a burning inferno.

Breaking Out‘ has energy and precision timing administered by André Hilgers delivered with a crushing beat.

Fistful Of Fire‘ is an anthem and title track of this fresh rock ‘n’ roll album, Hans Ziller remains true to a pedigree and doesn’t compromise, building intrigue with ‘The Surge‘ and ever impressive onslaught of ‘Gloryland‘, reaching up to the heavens and opening up a fuming fire of intense heat.

The album closes with a rather special acoustic version of ‘When An Old Man Cries‘.

If I had to pick some stand out tracks from this album I’d be spoiled for choices, but perhaps ‘Gloryland‘, ‘When An Old Man Cries‘ together with ‘The Devil Made Me Do It‘ are ones that resonate the most.

This is a remarkable album and deserves to be played loud to appreciate the detail and energy.

 

Bonfire release their new single/video ‘The Devil Made Me Do It‘, the second track taken from upcoming album ‘Fistful Of Fire‘, out on 3rd April on AFM Records.

Bonfire release their new album ‘Fistful Of Fire‘ on 3rd April, out on AFM Records.
Pre-order the new album: http://afmrec.de/FistfulOfFire 

It’s been exactly two years since Bonfire, following the outstanding debut of their current vocalist Alexx Stahl on ‘Byte The Bullet‘ (2017), were unanimously celebrated for their successor album ‘Temple Of Lies‘ (2018). Two years which saw the band rock countless stages at home and abroad before going on to set the bar even higher with their latest offering.

“‘Fistful Of Fire‘ is definitely one of the toughest Bonfire albums ever. “This development already became apparent the last time around,”explains guitarist and founder member Hans Ziller. “However, this time our approach was even more focused and consistent. I’ve always been the tough guy in Bonfire but haven’t always been able to implement my ideas the way I wanted. But since our tour with Judas Priest, we’ve known that toughness in combination with great melodies suits Bonfire perfectly.

Fistful Of Fire‘ features this very mix: throughout the 11 songs (plus three intros), the band from Ingolstadt, which has operated under its established logo for almost 35 years, fire on all cylinders. “Unlike previous Bonfire vocalists, Alexx oozes so much energy that you may occasionally have to hold him back rather than motivate him. We’ve been a hard rock band from the very beginning, but that has never been more apparent than in 2020.

Everything comes together perfectly on ‘Fistful Of Fire‘, which was recorded in collaboration with sound engineer Tom Müller at Ingolstadt’s Flatliners Recording Studios again: the charismatic vocals, the catchy riffs and hooks courtesy of guitarists Ziller and Frank Pané, the rich bass sound provided by their American colleague Ronnie Parkes and the driving grooves
contributed by new addition André Hilgers (ex-Rage, Axxis), who has complemented the line-up for a number of months.
This team delivers without mercy and has turned into a really tight unit,” Ziller enthuses.

In view of the album’s outstanding quality throughout, it’s not easy to highlight individual songs, but alongside the only moderate mainstream number ‘Warrior’ and the obligatory ballad ‘When An Old Man Cries’, we should perhaps take a closer look at two special tracks.
On the one hand there’s the lead single ‘Rock´n`Roll Survivors’, scheduled for release on 28
February 2020, that summarises with its programmatic title the whole career of Bonfire mastermind Ziller in one succinct phrase. “I’ve been kicked in the teeth a thousand times during my career and I often went down,” he confesses, “but I’ve always picked myself up again.

A great allegory that Bonfire have translated perfectly into a video clip featuring two female
boxers: multiple world champion Tina Schüßler and her colleague Stephanie Posch were the focus of the shoot at a boxing club in Augsburg. Talking of which: Tina Schüßler is not only an exceptional athlete, but also an accomplished rock singer. Together with her band, she will support Bonfire during their tour in April. The end of March will see the release of the second single ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’, providing another perfect foretaste of the new album.

The lyrics of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivors’, in combination with its powerful rock sound, is a mix that also features on other songs on the new album. Bonfire prove that they have no problem thinking outside the box of pure musicians’ themes. The title track ‘Fistful Of Fire’, for example, warns of the reckless abuse of a world which seems to have been turned upside down in ecological terms.
Ziller demands: “We simply mustn’t leave a planet to our children that’s no longer worth living on.” In this respect, the group’s musical motto also applies: “Long-standing bands like Bonfire may be considered an endangered species, but we’ve still got a lot to say, musically as well as in terms of content.
Which is precisely what every single note on ‘Fistful Of Fire‘ proves!

Pre-order the new album: http://afmrec.de/FistfulOfFire 

Line up:

Alexx Stahl (Vocals)

Hans Ziller (Guitar),

Frank Pané (Guitar),

Ronnie Parkes (Bass),

André Hilgers (Drums)

Tracklisting:
01 – The Joker
02 – Gotta Get Away
03 – The Devil Made Me Do It
04 – Ride The Blade
05 – When An Old Man Cries
06 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivors
07 – Fire And Ice
08 – Warrior
09 – Fire Etude
10 – Breaking Out
11 – Fistful Of Fire
12 – The Surge
13 – Gloryland
14 – When An Old Man Cries (Acoustic Version)

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Bonfire have released their new single/video  ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Survivors‘, the first track taken from upcoming album ‘Fistful Of Fire‘, out on 3rd April on AFM Records.

It’s been exactly two years since Bonfire, following the outstanding debut of their current vocalist Alexx Stahl on ‘Byte The Bullet‘ (2017), were unanimously celebrated for their successor album ‘Temple Of Lies‘ (2018). Two years which saw the band rock countless stages at home and abroad before going on to set the bar even higher with their latest offering.

Fistful Of Fire‘ is definitely one of the toughest Bonfire albums ever. “This development already became apparent the last time around,”explains guitarist and founder member Hans Ziller. “However, this time our approach was even more focused and consistent. I’ve always been the tough guy in Bonfire but haven’t always been able to implement my ideas the way I wanted. But since our tour with Judas Priest, we’ve known that toughness in combination with great melodies suits Bonfire perfectly.

Fistful Of Fire‘ features this very mix: throughout the 11 songs (plus three intros), the band from Ingolstadt, which has operated under its established logo for almost 35 years, fire on all cylinders. “Unlike previous Bonfire vocalists, Alexx oozes so much energy that you may occasionally have to hold him back rather than motivate him. We’ve been a hard rock band from the very beginning, but that has never been more apparent than in 2020.

Everything comes together perfectly on ‘Fistful Of Fire‘, which was recorded in collaboration with sound engineer Tom Müller at Ingolstadt’s Flatliners Recording Studios again: the charismatic vocals, the catchy riffs and hooks courtesy of guitarists Ziller and Frank Pané, the rich bass sound provided by their American colleague Ronnie Parkes and the driving grooves
contributed by new addition André Hilgers (ex-Rage, Axxis), who has complemented the line-up for a number of months.
This team delivers without mercy and has turned into a really tight unit,” Ziller enthuses.

In view of the album’s outstanding quality throughout, it’s not easy to highlight individual songs, but alongside the only moderate mainstream number ‘Warrior’ and the obligatory ballad ‘When An Old Man Cries’, we should perhaps take a closer look at two special tracks.
On the one hand there’s the lead single ‘Rock´n`Roll Survivors’, scheduled for release on 28
February 2020, that summarises with its programmatic title the whole career of Bonfire mastermind Ziller in one succinct phrase. “I’ve been kicked in the teeth a thousand times during my career and I often went down,” he confesses, “but I’ve always picked myself up again.

A great allegory that Bonfire have translated perfectly into a video clip featuring two female
boxers: multiple world champion Tina Schüßler and her colleague Stephanie Posch were the focus of the shoot at a boxing club in Augsburg. Talking of which: Tina Schüßler is not only an exceptional athlete, but also an accomplished rock singer. Together with her band, she will support Bonfire during their tour in April. The end of March will see the release of the second single ‘The Devil Made Me Do It’, providing another perfect foretaste of the new album.

The lyrics of ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivors’, in combination with its powerful rock sound, is a mix that also features on other songs on the new album. Bonfire prove that they have no problem thinking outside the box of pure musicians’ themes. The title track ‘Fistful Of Fire’, for example, warns of the reckless abuse of a world which seems to have been turned upside down in ecological terms.
Ziller demands: “We simply mustn’t leave a planet to our children that’s no longer worth living on.” In this respect, the group’s musical motto also applies: “Long-standing bands like Bonfire may be considered an endangered species, but we’ve stillgot a lot to say, musically as well as in terms of content.”
Which is precisely what every single note on ‘Fistful Of Fire‘ proves!

Line up:

Alexx Stahl (Vocals)

Hans Ziller (Guitar)

Frank Pané (Guitar)

Ronnie Parkes (Bass)

André Hilgers (Drums)

UK SHOW:
13th March, HRH AOR, Great Yarmouth

Tracklisting:
01 – The Joker
02 – Gotta Get Away
03 – The Devil Made Me Do It
04 – Ride The Blade
05 – When An Old Man Cries
06 – Rock ‘n’ Roll Survivors
07 – Fire And Ice
08 – Warrior
09 – Fire Etude
10 – Breaking Out
11 – Fistful Of Fire
12 – The Surge
13 – Gloryland
14 – When An Old Man Cries (Acoustic Version)

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Review: Bonfire – Live On Holy Ground Wacken 2018

Pride & Joy Music (June 14th 2019)
Reviewer: Grant Foster

Live albums, are they as relevant today as they were 40 years ago?

If You Want Blood, Live and Dangerous, Strangers In The Night. In the days before the internet, downloads, YouTube etc, they were a wonderful documentation of a band’s live show committed to vinyl. But even those illustrious releases aren’t entirely ‘live’.

Priest’s effort is well known as ‘Unleashed In The Studio’ for a reason! Listen to Whole Lotta Rosie from IYWB. Most of it is the studio version from the Let There Be Rock album version. And the ending? I’ve never heard it finished like that on any bootlegs from that era or since! So, how do you know what you are hearing on these ‘live’ albums, is in fact, just that?

This album recorded at Wacken 2018, sounds great. Full and muscular. Almost like a studio release. Ooops, there’s the cynic in me again. The playing and singing is full on. There’s no doubting the quality of this band ‘live’. I really don’t know what else to say. If you are a Bonfire fan, you’re gonna love this. If you’re a hard rock fan, it’s worth checking out. If you haven’t heard of the band, check out their ‘Fireworks’ album.

That’s the problem with live albums in the modern day, in my humble opinion. The songs become so over produced, that they are almost indistinguishable from the albums from which they originally came. And as anyone who has ever performed a live rock show knows, that’s very rarely the case. Now where’s my copy of AC/DC’s ‘Live From The Atlantic Studios?’ Now that’s a LIVE album!

German Hard Rock band Bonfire for a couple of decades has been one of the busiest touring bands and consistently also is a regular guest at numerous big European Metal festivals. On August 4th, 2018 the Ingolstadt based group once again set a highlight performance at the world’s biggest Heavy Metal festival: Wacken Open Air.

The show in Wacken was filmed and will now be released on June 14th, 2019 as DVD, as CD, as LP and digital under the name ‘Live On Holy Ground 2018‘. The main film offers a superb ‘best of’ journey through time and includes Bonfire‘s own classic hits like ‘Ready 4 Reaction‘, ‘Sweet Obsession‘ and ‘American Nights‘. The DVD version with ‘Praying 4 A Miracle‘ (radio edit), ‘Locomotive Breath‘ (radio edit), ‘Sweet Obsession‘ (2019) and ‘American Nights‘ (2019) shows four bonus video clips which are also included on the CD, LP and digital as audio files. The first pressing of all three physical formats is coming hand signed by the band!

Tracklist:

1.In the Beginning

2.Ready 4 Reaction

3.Never Mind

4.Don’t Touch The Light

5.American Nights

6.Give It A Try

7.Sword and Stone

8.SDI

9.Sweet Obsession

10.Champion

Bonus Tracks:

11.Praying 4 A Miracle

12.Locomotive Breath

13. American Nights (2019)

14. Sweet Obsession (2019)

Filmed & recorded live at Wacken Open Air on August 4th, 2018

Mix & Mastering: Tom Müller (Flatliner Studios)

Produced by: Hans Ziller

Additional Recordings by Rolf Munkes at Empire Studios

Virtual set extensions for American Nights by Andreas Resch @world-of-visions.de

Locomotive Breath – Byron Mansylla, AVMS

Artwork design: The Digital Dictators

DVD information: FSK12, Playing time: 60:09 min, Full screen: 4:3, DTS 5.1, Dolby Digital, NTSC, Full HD, Region Code: 0

Line up:

Hans Ziller – Lead, Rhythm-Guitar, Backing Vocals

Alexx Stahl – Lead Vocals

Ronnie Parkes – Bass, Backing Vocals

Frank Pané- Lead, Rhythm-Guitar, Backing Vocals

André Hilgers – Drums, Percussion

Additional Musicians: Tim Breideband, Harry Reischmann – Drums; Paul Morris, Fredrik Bergh, Alessandro DelVecchio – Keyboards; Mike Gerhold & Alessandro DelVecchio – Backing Vocals

Official Website

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Few German rock acts can look back at as long and successful a career as Bonfire. Counting their predecessor – a group called Cacumen, which was also founded by Hans Ziller and featured more or less the same line-up – the band has been around since 1972, has operated under its current moniker since 1986 and released more than two dozen albums.
During the most successful phase of their career, Bonfire counted – alongside the Scorpions and Accept – among Germany’s three internationally most acclaimed acts, celebrating major success all over Europe and worldwide. Bonfire‘s trademarks are and have always been deeply melodic hard rock songs, driven by captivating guitars, grooving rhythms and haunting vocal melodies. All the features that came together so perfectly on their most popular releases ‘Fireworks‘ (1987), ‘Point Blank‘ (1989) and ‘Branded‘ (2011) are present on their current release ‘Temple Of Lies‘. Thanks to their new vocalist Alexx Stahl, who joined the fold two years ago, and a first-rate line-up on all instruments, the band’s creativity explodes on Temple Of Lies and is bound to wow a younger generation of rock music fans, too.
We were extremely lucky to find Alexx,” offers guitarist Hans Ziller in explanation of the group’s current creative and musical high. “He’s a team player who looks after his voice in a totally professional way and treats it like the important tool that it is. He doesn’t smoke and prepares optimally for every show. In addition, Alexx is a really nice guy. Being at the helm of the band, I couldn’t be happier to have him in the band.” Ziller is just as enthusiastic about his rhythm section consisting of bassist Ronnie Parkes and drummer Tim Breideband (“they seem to have reinvented the groove”), and of course guitarist Frank Pané (“one of the most awesome musicians I’ve ever worked with”). Ziller: “With this line-up, we’ll be able to increase the hardness level of our material whenever we feel like it. Numbers such as ‘Temple Of Lies‘ and ‘Stand Or Fall‘ wouldn’t have been possible with previous line-ups.”
It’s not only the occasionally tougher pace that impresses on ‘Temple Of Lies‘ (produced by Hans Ziller at the Flatliners Recording Studios in Ingolstadt) from the first to the very last note, but also the album’s diverse high-quality songwriting in general. Driving midtempo tracks (‘Feed The Fire‘, ‘On The Wings Of An Angel‘, ‘Fly Away‘, ‘Crazy Over You‘) support the afore-mentioned uptempo rock numbers and are expertly broken up by the ballad ‘Comin` Home‘ and ‘Love The Way You Hate Me‘, which surprises with a reggae groove verse. ‘Temple Of Lies‘ kicks off with the intro ‘In The Beginning‘, featuring American voice actor David Michael Williamson.
Line up:
Alexx Stahl (Vocals)
Hans Ziller (Guitar)
Frank Pané (Guitar)
Ronnie Parkes (Bass)
Tim Breideband (Drums)

Bonfire release their new lyric video for ‘Crazy For You, the first track taken from new album ‘Temple Of Lies‘ due out on 13th April.

Few German rock acts can look back at as long and successful a career as Bonfire. Counting their predecessor – a group called Cacumen, which was also founded by Hans Ziller and featured more or less the same line-up – the band has been around since 1972, has operated under its current moniker since 1986 and released more than two dozen albums. During the most successful phase of their career, Bonfire counted – alongside the Scorpions and Accept – among Germany’s three internationally most acclaimed acts, celebrating major success all over Europe and worldwide. Bonfire’s trademarks are and have always been deeply melodic hard rock songs, driven by captivating guitars, grooving rhythms and haunting vocal melodies. All the features that came together so perfectly on their most popular releases ‘Fireworks‘ (1987), ‘Point Blank‘ (1989) and ‘Branded‘ (2011) are present on their current release ‘Temple Of Lies‘. Thanks to their new vocalist Alexx Stahl, who joined the fold two years ago, and a first-rate line-up on all instruments, the band’s creativity explodes on Temple Of Lies and is bound to wow a younger generation of rock music fans, too.

We were extremely lucky to find Alexx,” offers guitarist Hans Ziller in explanation of the group’s current creative and musical high. “He’s a team player who looks after his voice in a totally professional way and treats it like the important tool that it is. He doesn’t smoke and prepares optimally for every show. In addition, Alexx is a really nice guy. Being at the helm of the band, I couldn’t be happier to have him in the band.” Ziller is just as enthusiastic about his rhythm section consisting of bassist Ronnie Parkes and drummer Tim Breideband (“they seem to have reinvented the groove”), and of course guitarist Frank Pané (“one of the most awesome musicians I’ve ever worked with”). Ziller: “With this line-up, we’ll be able to increase the hardness level of our material whenever we feel like it. Numbers such as ‘Temple Of Lies’ and ‘Stand Or Fall’ wouldn’t have been possible with previous line-ups.”

It’s not only the occasionally tougher pace that impresses on ‘Temple Of Lies‘ (produced by Hans Ziller at the Flatliners Recording Studios in Ingolstadt) from the first to the very last note, but also the album’s diverse high-quality songwriting in general. Driving midtempo tracks (‘Feed The Fire’, ‘On The Wings Of An Angel’, ‘Fly Away’, ‘Crazy Over You’) support the afore-mentioned uptempo rock numbers and are expertly broken up by the ballad ‘Comin` Home’ and ‘Love The Way You Hate Me’, which surprises with a reggae groove verse. ‘Temple Of Lies‘ kicks off with the intro ‘In The Beginning’, featuring American voice actor David Michael Williamson.

So the fun factor is back in the Bonfire camp, manifesting itself also in the 20-minute bonus track ‘Friedensreich II. – The Return Of The Zünsler Into The T.O.L.’, a humorous sound collage which frequently brings to mind Frank Zappa. The programmatic album title and expressive cover artwork prove that Ziller & Co also live up to their responsibility as socially aware musicians, taking to task “the lies of our world and politicians”. No doubt about it: ‘Temple Of Lies‘ sees Bonfire live up not only to their own history.

Line up:

Alexx Stahl (Vocals)

Hans Ziller (Guitar)

Frank Pané (Guitar)

Ronnie Parkes (Bass)

Tim Breideband (Drums)

Official Website

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After Bonfire‘s latest studio records ‘Glörious‘ (2015) and ‘Byte The Bullet‘ (2017) both made it to the Top 50 of the German album chart and more than 160 live shows played in the last two years, AFM Records and Bonfire decided to strike a new path together!

During the more than 30 year-long history of the band, there were of course several different label partners releasing Bonfire‘s 16 studio records and some were not available at times. So in Autumn of 2017, big parts of Bonfire‘s back catalogue will be made available again before the new album will be released in Spring 2018.

Besides being in the studio to record their next record, Bonfire will be on tour for the rest of the year!

Find all tour dates below and on www.bonfire.de

Tour dates:

2017:

08.07. (GER) – Ingolstadt – Bürgerfest-Rathausplatz

15.07. (GER) – Jamboree-Open Air

23.07. (GER) – Regensburg – Piazza Open Air

03.08. (GER) – Günzburg Open Air

12.08. (CH) – Gossau Rock On Open Air

19.08. (GER) – Rhön Rock Open Air

02.09. (PL) – Zgierz – City of Power-Open Air

16.09. (PT) – Lissabon – RCA Club

23.09. (PT) – Coimbra – Festival

30.09. (GER) – Alzey – Oberhaus

02.10. (GER) – Teltow Open Air

07.10. (GER) – Braunschweig – Lokpark

19.10. (GER) – Hamburg – Logo

20.10. (GER) – Mannheim – MS Connexion

21.10. (GER) – Memmingen  Kaminwerk

11.11. (GER) – Renchen – COME INN -Charity

16.12. (GER) – Obermachtal – Kreuz

19.12. (GER) – Nürnberg – Hirsch

20.12. (GER) – Oberhausen – Zentrum Altenberg

21.12. (GER) – Augsburg – Spectrum

22.12. (GER) – Ingolstadt –  Eventhalle

23.12. (GER) – Burglengenfeld – VAZ

2018:

03.05. (GER) – Würzburg – Posthalle

04.05. (GER) – Neuss – Partytur-Halle

05.05. (CH) – Aarburg – Musigburg

06.05. (GER) – Ludwigsburg – Rockfabrik .- Grosser Saal

Juni (AT) Wien Bike & Music-Open Air

20.07. (GER) Burg Greifenstein Open Air

17.11. (GER) Markneukirchen- Framus & Warwick MusicHall

Line-up:

Hans Ziller (Git & Back-Voc., founder of BONFIRE)

Alexx Stahl (Lead-Voc)

Ronnie Parkes (Bass & Back-Voc)

Tim Breideband (Drums)

Frank Pané (Git & Back-Voc)

Official Website

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Review: Bonfire – Byte The Bullet

UDR (March 2017)

Reviewer: Dan Mann

German hard rock band Bonfire are back with believe it or not their sixteenth album. With new vocalist Alexx Stahl, whose taken over from Michael Bormann after his short stint, who himself replaced David Reece who had been vocalist since the departure of the band’s original vocalist Claus Lessmann. A lot of people never seem to get over the fact a band’s vocalist has been replaced, refusing to accept the replacements regardless of talent. I’m not one of those people, preferring to concentrate on the actual music, and it’s got to be said, Alexx fits the band perfectly.

And so to the album itself. ‘Byte The Bullet‘ is without doubt a repeat spinner. Having already sampled the two singles, I was looking forward to seeing if the remainder of the album was of the same ilk. Opening an album with a seven minute track certainly nails things firmly to the mast, ‘Power Train‘ building slowly before launching into a pounding, rip roaring hard rock track.

The remainder of the album follows in good stead, the two singles ‘Praying 4 A Miracle‘, and a great cover of Jethro Tull’s ‘Locomotive Breath‘ certainly good choices as said singles. There is one slightly bizarre track, track ten to be exact, which has bassist Ronnie Parkes being asked to repeatedly say the track name ‘Friedensreich‘ to much amusement and laughter. That’s followed by an instrumental, ‘Instrumetal‘, which is a slight speed-fest by the band, as it’s played with a fairly hasty tempo combining well known segments of songs, ‘Hall Of The Mountain King’ being one.

The ballard ‘ Without You‘ highlight’s Bonfire’s passion for such songs, and shows that Alexx is more than capable of slowing things down as well as belting out songs.

The album rounds off with another version of the classic Bonfire track ‘Sweet Obsession‘ which of course made it’s first appearance on their legendary 1987 album ‘Fireworks‘. While it’s never going to hold the same position as the original, which I’ve played to death, it is certainly a worthy version and not one to be dismissed out of hand.

To sum up, I can see this being one to consider when it comes time to compile my favorite album releases of the year. Highly recommended.