Label: AFM Records
Release Date: 13/04/2018
While I’ve still got plenty to learn in the vast world of hard rock and heavy metal, it’s baffling that a group boasting a solid 30 year legacy have gone completely under my radar. Having never heard of German rockers Bonfire before, I’ve certainly got some catching up to do and their new record, Temple Of Lies, seems a fairly good place to start.
After piano lead intro ‘In The Beginning’, the album opens with a flurry on title track ‘Temple Of Lies’. There’s a bit of something for everyone here, thunderous guitar work to match recent outputs from Judas Priest and Saxon, coupled with the power driven moments of Manowar all threaded together with quality levels of production. My research on Bonfire suggests a more metal driven sound isn’t something they’re particularly known for, but kicking off with a blaze caught me off guard and worked rather well in my opinion.
As the album rolls into ‘On The Wings Of An Angel’, Bonfire then lean towards the more ballad rock oriented counterparts of countrymen Scorpions. I understand this is primarily where the band exist, but their solemn, love song approach repeated from the glory days of Foreigner and Whitesnake just feels far too dated in 2018.
‘Feed The Fire (Like The Bonfire)’ offers verses from vocalist Alexx Stahl that brilliantly scream influences of Ronnie James Dio. It had me intrigued, only to be hit with a cringe-worthy chorus that again, completely fails to convince.
‘Stand Or Fall’ just reminds me of a Steel Panther song without the jokes, and while fans of an older generation may lap this up (as I said there’s a bit of something for everyone), coupled with ‘Comin’ Home’ it reminds me of a soundtrack to an 80’s romance movie. That’s where Temple Of Lies belongs, 30 years in the fucking past.
The record’s best song is probably ‘Love The Way You Hate Me’. While it certainly follows the same formula to most of what you’ll hear on the record, it at least has a half decent chorus to hum along to.
Temple Of Lies clearly isn’t a record for me, and that’s fine, you don’t have to like everything you listen to. Obviously there’s still a market for the ballad-rock sound they’ve perfected, it just fails to connect with me on even the basic, primal level of being a music fan.
There are positives, particularly in the guitar work, production quality and discovering a vocalist in Alexx Stahl who can really get the job done. While there are elements I can highlight as redeemable, sadly the music itself leaves me absolutely nothing worth revisiting.
Temple Of Lies is out now and available to order via AFM Records
Recommended Track: Love The Way You Hate Me