Few German rock acts can look back at as long and successful a career as BONFIRE. Counting their predecessor – a group called Cacumen, which was also founded by Hans Ziller and featured more or less the same line-up – the band has been around since 1972, has operated under its current moniker since 1986 and released more than two dozen albums. During the most successful phase of their career, Bonfire counted – alongside the Scorpions and Accept – among Germany’s three internationally most acclaimed acts, celebrating major success all over Europe and worldwide. Bonfire’s trademarks are and have always been deeply melodic hard rock songs, driven by captivating guitars, grooving rhythms and haunting vocal melodies. All the features that came together so perfectly on their most popular releases Fireworks (1987), Point Blank (1989) and Branded (2011) are present on their current release Temple Of Lies.
Thanks to their new vocalist Alexx Stahl, who joined the fold two years ago, and a first-rate line-up on all instruments, the band’s creativity explodes on Temple Of Lies and is bound to wow a younger generation of rock music fans, too.
“We were extremely lucky to find Alexx,” offers guitarist Hans Ziller in explanation of the group’s current creative and musical high. “He’s a team player who looks after his voice in a totally professional way and treats it like the important tool that it is. He doesn’t smoke and prepares optimally for every show. In addition, Alexx is a really nice guy. Being at the helm of the band, I couldn’t be happier to have him in the band.” Ziller is just as enthusiastic about his rhythm section consisting of bassist Ronnie Parkes and drummer Tim Breideband (“they seem to have reinvented the groove”), and of course guitarist Frank Pané (“one of the most awesome musicians I’ve ever worked with”). Ziller: “With this line-up, we’ll be able to increase the hardness level of our material whenever we feel like it. Numbers such as ‘Temple Of Lies’ and ‘Stand Or Fall’ wouldn’t have been possible with previous line-ups.”
It’s not only the occasionally tougher pace that impresses on Temple Of Lies (produced by Hans Ziller at the Flatliners Recording Studios in Ingolstadt) from the first to the very last note, but also the album’s diverse high-quality songwriting in general. Driving midtempo tracks (‘Feed The Fire’, ‘On The Wings Of An Angel’, ‘Fly Away’, ‘Crazy Over You’) support the afore-mentioned uptempo rock numbers and are expertly broken up by the ballad ‘Comin` Home’ and ‘I Help You Hate Me’, which surprises with a reggae groove verse. Temple Of Lies kicks off with the intro ‘In The Beginning’, featuring American voice actor David Michael Williamson (Lord of the Rings). So the fun factor is back in the Bonfire camp, manifesting itself also in the 20-minute bonus track ‘Friedensreich II. – The Return Of The Zünsler Into The T.O.L.’, a humorous sound collage which frequently brings to mind Frank Zappa. The programmatic album title and expressive cover artwork prove that Ziller & Co also live up to their responsibility as socially aware musicians, taking to task “the lies of our world and politicians”. No doubt about it: Temple Of Lies sees Bonfire live up not only to their own history.
“Temple Of Lies” tracklisting:
01. In The Beginning
02. Temple Of Lies
03. On The Wings Of An Angel
04. Feed The Fire (Like The Bonfire)
05. Stand Or Fall
06. Comin’ Home
07. I’ll Never Be Loved By You
08. Fly Away
09. I Help You Hate Me
10. Crazy Over You
Bonus Tracks on Digipak:
11. Comin’ Home (Extended Acoustic Version)
12. Friedensreich – Let The Madness Continue (Director’s Cut)