CD Reviews

Bonfire - 'Legends' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     May 14, 2019    
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A glorious covers album.

When I first listened to this glorious covers album, I felt like someone had broken into my house and stolen all my favourite albums, then made a compilation of some of the best songs from each. So many of my favourites are here: Rainbow, Survivor, Robin Beck, Hardline, House Of Lords, Deep Purple, UFO and early Queensrÿche, and not just one song from each, but several.

The reason for this collection is that Hans Ziller, Bonfire's main man, had an idea quite similar to the 'Rock Meets Classic' shows, but this time the legendary vocalists would perform plugged-in and rocking loud! So what better way to get the band to learn the songs than to release a covers album?

All the songs here are sung by Bonfire vocalist Alex Stahl, who shows himself to be quite the masterful chameleon, swapping styles with ease; also, anyone attempting to sing Deep Purple's 'Child In Time', and succeeding admirably, deserves serious kudos.

The harmonies on this album are simply divine, exemplified right from the get-go with a sumptuous version of Toto's 'Africa', and while most songs stick pretty much to the original arrangements, occasionally Bonfire will play around with the presentation, especially on the intros. Here, the opening of 'Africa' is given a bit more "oomph", with the keyboard sound totally changed – would it be sacrilege to say I prefer the Bonfire version?

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As a massive Rainbow fan, it was great to hear these versions. The Joe Lyn Turner-era songs pretty much following the originals, but with a wonderful intro for 'Stone Cold', and hearing 'Man On The Silver Mountain' with added harmonies was both strange and delightful.

I'm not such a great fan of Queensrÿche, the band mutating from epic genius to tragic waste (thanks Geoff), but Stahl is a dead-ringer for Tate here, handling the songs with aplomb. Ever wondered what the classic Robin Beck songs would sound like with a male vocalist? Wonder no more – I'm not even sure they changed the key!!
The only blot in my copybook are five songs towards the end of the second dic; two are originally by Grave Digger which most fans of the other bands won't even know, but even worse are the final three German-language songs by Puhdys. Who? But hey, I can skip all these.

This really shouldn't work, but along with the choice of bands and songs, married to the simply superb production, it does, and beautifully. I find myself putting this album on in the car frequently and really living the songs, and that surely is the true test of any album.

Bruce Mee

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