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Bonfire - 'Glorious' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     July 14, 2015    
 
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'Glorious' is the revamped Bonfire's return to glory.

Bonfire without Claus Lessmann? Been there, done that and it hardly worked... That's why many were sceptical when they learned about Bonfire's line-up being re-arranged almost from scratch. However, with Hans Ziller and his band-mate Harry Reischmann re-grouping with Ronnie Parkes, Frank Pané and David Reece, their first effort released as Bonfire – 'Glorious' – is mostly doubt-dispersing.

The sound on the album is dense, melodic and guitar-laden with keyboards giving a bit of AOR-ish 1980's tint. It also features excellent vocal performances from Reece, even though some of them bear the distinctive Bangalore Choir stamp all over them rather than Bonfire itself. From the opening '21 Guns Salute (Goes Boom)' and 'Nothin' At All' to 'Free Wind Desperado', there's plenty of fast-paced Rockers with well-crafted choruses. The majestic piece 'Glorious' has the anthem-like quality to it while 'Supernatural Disguise' is heavier, yet mercilessly infectious AOR. Also, a handful of ballads found their way onto the album – mostly finely dramatized, intense pieces such as 'Fallin' Outta Love', 'Shooting Star' and 'Lies'. 'Remember' and 'Put Out The Flames' bring back the vibe of the classic Bonfire albums and so do the 21st century renditions of 'Sweet Obsession' and 'American Nights' – even if the latter two will evoke nostalgia for their originals rather than anything else. 'Glorious' closes with band's fine take on 'With A Little Help From My Friends', which can be classed as either a homage to the late Joe Cocker or a sort of commentary upon the recent happenings in the band's camp.

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It's not easy to decide, despite the major line-up changes, whether 'Glorious' picks up where 'Branded' or any other Bonfire album left off because there's no dramatic shift genre-wise and there's hardly a change to Ziller's guitar style that has preserved much of Bonfire's trademark sound. Irrespective, it's more about opening a whole new chapter in the band's history; Reece himself is too characteristic to avoid certain associations and comparisons. That's why a variety of musical flavours can be found on this album – not necessarily all of them Bonfire-esque. But at the end of the day it's not about the "brand" and particular names behind the music as much as it is about the music itself.

It has to be thus declared loud and clear that 'Glorious' is the revamped Bonfire's return to glory – an album of solid song-writing with a thick Melodic Rock sound and fabulously catchy choruses. There's certain chemistry between this line-up that this record reflects. Had the previous line-up remained together, would they have likely arrived with something stilted and uninspiring instead? We can only hypothesise and debate – but with the arrival and quality of 'Glorious', we at least needn't worry any more.

Alexandra Mrozowska

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