Bonfire – Glorious
Borila Rekords (April 2015)
Reviewer: Dan Mann
Well I guess we’d better get the ‘elephant in the room’ out of the way now seeing as it’s something that has dominated news of this release more than the actual music itself.
Bonfire have a new vocalist in the shape and form of David Reece, a singer who will be more than familiar to most of you reading this review. Those of you unfamiliar, David has song in Accept, Bangalore Choir, Gypsy Rose, Tango Down and EZ Livin’, the later being a fine starting block for the small jump over to front Bonfire.
The writing for this release was done by Hans Ziller and David Reece, with Hans handling the production, and a superb job he has done too.
And so to the important bit. The album!
We kick off with 21 Guns Salute (Goes Boom) which starts slowly with an intro almost a minute long, before you hear the distinct vocals of Mr Reece. Straight away there is a change to the familiar sound of Bonfire, a band I’ve followed since 86′, with a broader soundscape and with Alessandro del Vecchio adding layers of keyboards to the mix.
Nothin’ At All certainly is a pacier number with drummer Harry Reischmann slightly louder in the mix. I detect quite a few influences in this track, from hints of Deep Purple and Whitesnake, especially Purple style vocals around two thirds in. As with as David Reece’s voice, Hans Ziller’s guitar sound is also distinct and leads us nicely into the third track Can’t Break Away. Maybe I’ll be so bold as to say this is probably the best I’ve heard David sing for a few years. Not that he sings badly on the rest of the album, far from it. I’m just constantly drawn back to this particular track.
Remember would not be out of place on a Bangalore Choir album. If you’re familiar with that band’s work then you will know exactly what I mean. With an acoustic guitar as intro there’s a fair bet you’ve reached a ballad, and yes you’d be exactly right with Fallin’ Outta Love. Again this exemplifies the fact that David is on top form and also highlights the nice feel of the production.
The title track, appropriately named Glorious, is somewhat of an anthem, with a big chorus and a choir / orchestra vibe. Supernatural Disguise if I’m honest I found a bit of a plodder even with the big guitar break half way through. Another acoustic guitar intro for Shooting Star, which apart from the bonus track is the longest track on the album, coming in at 6.38. However it’s not one of those tracks that appear to drag on forgetting that it’s meant to end at some point. I love the guitar intro to Lies, just the sort of guitar sound that draws me into a band.
I’d certainly say that Put Out The Flames is the track closest to the Bonfire of old and I suspect ‘purists’ will wish there were more tracks like these on the album. I wasn’t sure which direction the intro to Freewheel Desperado was going with the sound of boots marching (don’t mention the war) However it is nothing more sinister then a biker walking to his ride and roaring off. I kept on having to stop myself singing Freewheel Burning! The next two tracks will possibly divide opinions as they are re-recordings of two tracks from the legendary Bonfire release ‘Fireworks’ Firstly you have Sweet Obsession followed by American Nights. Again, being totally honest, I think David Reece has done a damn good job on these re-recordings. What I don’t like are the new keyboards which don’t sit quite right, especially at the start of Sweet Obsession.
And finally we are presented with a bonus track in the shape and form of the all time classic With A Little Help From My Friends. I have to say I’m thoroughly enjoying this version and a fine job the band has done.
So there we have it, overall a very good album with only the occasional wobble along the way.