Following the bands 2006 album 'Double X' German Hard Rock Gods Bonfire have returned in 2008 with something rather special. Very much in the Bonfire tradition of hard rocking, no nonsense tunes, the band have united with director Pierre Walter Politz for a rock opera based on Friedrich Schiller’s ‘Die Rauber’, simply entitled ‘Die Rauber’.
Politz wanted Bonfire to remain Bonfire for this project and to bring to life the work of Schiller through rock music, and the band have certainly done that with this the heaviest release by the band to date. However, I have to emphasise that the diehard fans will not be disappointed by this album, although it has its heavier moments, there a still a few great ballads thrown in to keep those fans happy. With a rich mix of both English and German lyrics, this album simply will blow out of the water what has gone before.
Things get under way with the intro track ‘The Rauber’, which is very Ramstein-esque, before the album really gets underway with the full on Hard Rocking of ‘Bells of Freedom’. It's not until those unmistakable vocals of Lessmann kick in that you can tell this is Bonfire. This track is just screaming out to be released as the first single from the album. It's Hard Rock Dynamite that will blow you away with the scything guitar work of Hans Ziller reaping a six string harvest.
The more traditional Bonfire sound is soon present with the superb ‘Refugee Of Fate’. This is what the band do best, hard rocking with Lessmann vocals being the forefront of the sound against a backing of the monstrous rhythm section that is Jurgen ‘Bam Bam’ Weihler on drums, Uwe Köhler on bass and Chris Limburg on rhythm guitar.
The next track ‘The Oath’ is pure theatrics and acts as an intro into the first of the German sung songs ‘Blut Und Todt’, again the heavy refrain throughout the song remains true. This is the sound we all grew up with and loved from the band over the past 20 or so years. This one really showcases the strength of the guitar work by Ziller and the formidable vocal prowess of Lessmann that has been the backbone of the whole Bonfire sound all these years.
The first of the ballads is next the magnificent ‘Love Don’t Lie’, a track that will be played over and over again by lovers everywhere I’m sure when the album is released, again with Ziller’s fret work just superb on this one.
The hard rock is soon back with another of my favourite tracks off the album ‘Black Night’. This is pure classic Bonfire at their finest. The high quality continues with the up beat ‘Hip Hip Hurray’ with Ziller and Limburg leading the way on this one before Lessmann takes up the mike.
Then it's back to the ballads for ‘Do You Still Love Me’ and ‘Let Me Be Your Water’, two really great slices of old school Bonfire that will sit well along with any of the bands older material.
‘Lass Die Toten Schlafen’ is as you can surmise by the title, another song sang in the bands native tongue German and once again we return to the hard-hitting rock that we know the band are capable of.
The next one really gets the rock n' roll juices flowing, ‘The Good Die Young’ is just a great rock song that I can imagine will go down a real treat in a live set. It really is just crying out for some audience participation.
Another of my favourite tracks off the album has to be the melodic hard rocking ‘Time’, before the Rock Opera section of the album closes with ‘Fathers Return’. A somewhat dark ending to fine album.
The album also boasts three bonus tracks, firstly an acoustic version of ‘Love Don’t Lie’, which is every bit as good as the full on version. ‘Do You Still Love Me’ which also gets an acoustic makeover and finally the German version of ‘Hip Hip Hurray’, which ends what is a great album that not only stands as the new Bonfire album, but also stands as a Rock Opera and one that really does the work of Schiller proud.
1 The Rauber
2 Bells Of Freedom
3 Refugee Of Fate
4 The Oath
5 Blut Und Tod
6 Love Don't Lie
7 Black Night
8 Hip Hip Hooray
9 Do You Still Love Me
10 Let Me Be Your Water
11. Lass Die Toten Schlafen
12 The Good Die Young
14 Fathers Return
15 Love Don't Lie (Accoustic Mix)
16 Do You Still Love Me (Accoustic Mix)
17 Hip Hip Hooray (German Version)
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