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BONFIRE Temple Of Lies

By Daniel Höhr, European Correspondent
Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 12:05 AM


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BONFIRE
Temple Of Lies

AFM Records, 2018




Alongside SCORPIONS and ACCEPT, BONFIRE were once one of the household names in the German metal scene. Founded back in 1972 as CACUMEN, the band changed their name to BONFIRE in 1986, which was the starting point to an astonishing international career.

Since the release of the first BONFIRE album, Don't Touch The Light in 1986 and its highly popular successors Fireworks (1987) and Point Blank (1989), the Bavarian-based act around founder, guitarist and musical mastermind Hans Ziller, has undergone several metamorphoses line-up-wise. Now, one year after the release of its predecessor Byte The Bullet, the band's fifteenth full-length studio effort released under the name BONFIRE (it's the seventeenth if you include the two CACUMEN albums in 1981 and 1983) is out. Alongside Hans Ziller, the Temple Of Lies line-up features vocalist Alexx Stahl, guitarist Frank Pané, bassist Ronnie Parkes and drummer Tim Breidesband.

After the intro, “In The Beginning”, featuring American voice actor David Michael Williamson, the title track kicks in with full force and, especially in the verses, turns out to be a high-octane classic heavy metal number very much in the style of JUDAS PRIEST, demonstrating not only the band's stellar songwriting skills but also vocalist Alexx Stahl's impressive vocal range. It is, however, the second track, “Wings Of An Angel”, that sets the tone of the album, throwing you back right into the eighties – a groovy mid-tempo number with an uber-catchy hookline in the chorus that, if it wasn't for the production sound, could have been right from the mid-eighties. And thus it continues with “Feed The Fire” – after the brooding intro marked by synths and a characteristic string motiv, the song develops into another mid-tempo groover with an earworm chorus pimped with massive harmony vocals. “Stand Or Fall” (video HERE) brings back the heavy metal feel of the opener – classic riffing, soaring vocals, captivating melodies and stellar guitar shredding. The ballad “Coming Home” is exactly what you would expect: acoustic guitars, piano, bluesy lead guitar and a generous dash of cheesiness. “I'll Never Be Loved by You” returns the mid-tempo groove and continues the eighties feel of the record. Thankfully, “Lies Fly Away”, whose intro is reminiscent of early eighties German pop music, reintroduces a bit more speed without changing the musical ingredients at all and at this stage it would be nice if there were a slightly different formula, a surprising element, a twist in the tale, something unexpected. And lo and behold – all that comes for a moment in the verse of the next track, “The Way You Hate Me”, namely in the form of a reggae groove. Nice one. Can I have some more, please? Nope, sorry. So then it's back to huge sounding melodic hard rock in the last track “Crazy Over You”, which is not at all a bad thing. Produced by Hans Ziller himself, Temple Of Lies sounds absolutely awesome. The instruments are well-balanced, the sound is fat and round but at the same time crystal clear. Musically, the album enshrines each and any BONFIRE virtue: pounding grooves, catchy melodies, clever arrangements and a generous dash of cheesiness. However, the album would definitely benefit from a bit more metal attitude as found in the title track or leaving the comfort zones of mid-tempo hard rock more often.

BONFIRE fans will love this album and rightly so. If you're into eighties hard rock, Temple Of Lies is for you and if you are looking for a cheesy record for long summer evenings, this one is highly recommended.

4.0 Out Of 5.0


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