Album Reviews
Band: Bonfire

Title: Legends

Label: AFM Records

Ok, I'm going to start this by saying ... I HATE THE SONG 'HALLELUJAH', always have done, always will, no matter who covers it for the umpteenth time, I LOATH IT!!! More of that later.  Anyway, this album by Bonfire, a memory jerker for members of the band apparently, 32 covers of well known and some that I/you may not recognise, over 2 discs, and I'm struggling to figure out who exactly it will appeal to? Obviously the fans of Bonfire out there, but the average Rock fan? 

This is the brainchild of Bonfire's guitarist Hans Ziller, originally for guest singers to perform these songs live on tour, but with the band's hectic touring schedule getting in the way, it was a non-starter for that idea, so the band themselves took on the task of performing them.  Now the songs are available on CD, and I need to ask... How many more times do we need/want to hear Toto's 'Africa', 'Hold The Line' and 'Rosanna' on a compilation, and they are the 3 opening tracks on disc 1, for God's sake!  Granted, they are more beefed up than the originals, but c'mon, ... Rainbow get a longer 'set' with 'Man On The Silver Mountain' that sounds quite good, Alexx Stahl giving a good account of himself on vocals, as he does on the classic 'I Surrender', though this version slightly lacks the lovely deep, rich sound the original had, 'Stone Cold' the frantically paced 'Death Alley Driver' and the choppy-keyed rifferama 'Black Masquerade' fulfilling their quota on this CD. 

Unfortunately it all dips again to the usual run-of-the-mill songs we get year after year for Fathers Day with everyone's fave Boxing related band, Survivor 'Burning Heart' and the oh-so-ever overplayed, bass thumper 'Eye Of The Tiger', which, done reasonably well, lacks that bassy power that pummeled it's way into Rock history back in 1982, yet still begging the question, did this band ever do any other songs?!  Well, 'Caught In The Game', apparently, and it's refreshing to hear this done just as well, so there you go!

For me, the best cover on here is the all time great, 'Doctor Doctor', which is uncannily like the original by our treasured UFO, who will no doubt be rather chuffed to hear this done brilliantly by Bonfire, as are other other faves from Phil & co, 'Lights Out', and the chunky version of 'Rock Bottom', solos galore as well, which will get the air guitarist in you in front of the mirror no doubt!  Keyboard player Paul Morris takes centre stage on the final track on disc 1, as he introduces 'Child In Time', the Deep Purple number that always seemed to drag on too much for my liking, and a good advert for getting your willy caught in your zip when those rather high notes are hit, either by Mr. Gillan or Stahl, they both make me wince!

There are moments when you remember just how good some songs still sound and how you miss hearing them, no better shown at the beginning of disc 2, as Queensryche's 'Jet City Woman' gets an airing, as does the brilliant 'Silent Lucidity', though Stahl is certainly no Geoff Tate here, their voices are totally different when it comes to this song, and the proper version wins this time, though 'Eyes Of A Stranger' gets a harder going over. Now, here's the time to scratch your head, 'cos the next 3 songs are a complete ... well ... a strange choice, actually. The 80's had some storming Rock songs, but it also had some fingers down your throaters as well, hence the bewilderment of the covers of 'Tears In The Rain' the God awful Coke (the drink!!) associated 'The First Time' both sang by Robin Beck, and still sounding barf-inducing by the chaps here, and as much as I love the Rock Chick era Cher, the smashing 'Save Up All Your Tears', that just isn't a patch on hers.  Sorry, lads.

The songs that I don't recognise are the ones that really impress me most, 'Hot Cherie' and 'Dr. Love' being two that stand out, both by Neal Schon led Hardline, and I've checked out You Tube to hear their versions, and I have to say, well done Bonfire, excellent covers both, then along comes ... W.T.F. ... the most boring, tedious, overbearing, over covered, dragged-out monstrosity of a song that was ever written, 'Hallelujah', the late Jeff Buckley's most famous song, (written by Leonard Cohen), so out of place here, it stands out like a sore thumb, and even if it has been rocked up ... W.T.F. Oh, did I mention I don't like this song!!

The band give Grave Digger's 'Heavy Metal Breakdown' an 80's MOT, less growling, mean-streaked, more flaying hair and 'pizzazz' on the guitar, slowing the tempo down to recreate House Of Lords 'Love Don't Lie', upping it for 'I Wanna Be Loved', both spot on, and they do a mean cover of Deep Purple's 'King Of Dreams' to finish off the English singing songs.  Finishing off the album(s) altogether are 3 German sang tracks, Puhdys 'Frei Wei Die Geier and 'Alt Wei Ein Baum' ending altogether with 'Errinerung', all Heavy Metal to the bone, but a little clinical and abrupt vocally, but that's the way of the German accent at times, I suppose.

As I said at the beginning, I don't know who exactly will be tempted by 'Legends', though after a few listens it sort of sounds mostly fine, so some will probably want to check it out, but for me, I can go up to the Three Tuns on Sheriff Hill on a Friday or Saturday night and hear just about the majority of these songs done by covers bands all the time for free. Good, but nothing spectacular to Rock my boat.

 

Review by: Robb Baldwin

 

Tracklisting:

1.  Africa
2.  Hold The Line
3.  Rosanna
4.  Man On The Silver Mountain
5.  I Surrender
6.  Stone Cold
7.  Death Alley Driver
8.  Black Masquerade
9.  Burning Heart
10.  Eye Of The Tiger 
11. Caught In The Game 
12. Doctor Doctor 
13. Lights Out 
14. Rock Bottom 
15. Child In Time


Tracklisting:

1.  Jet City Woman
2.  Silent Lucidity
3.  Eyes Of A Stranger
4.  Tears In The Rain
5.  The First Time
6.  Save Up All Your Tears
7.   Hot Cherie
8.   Dr. Love
9.   Hallelujah
10.  Rebelllion
11. Heavy Metal Breakdown 
12. Love Don't Lie
13. I Wanna Be Loved 
14. King Of Dreams 
15. Frei Wei Die Geier 
16. Alt Wei Ein Baum 
17. Erinnerung
 

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