By Allyson Kingsley
Germany-based Bonfire is back with their follow up from 2017’s Byte the Bullet album and again with vocalist Alexx Stahl. Fistful of Fire is a phenomenal melodic hard rock that is 14 songs that feel accessible and catchy while never losing that hard rock edge. The lineup is completed with guitarists Hans Ziller and Frank Pane, bassist Ronnie Parkes and drummer Andre Hilgers.
Almost like a power metal intro, “The Joker” leads us full force into “Gotta Get Away,” and noticeable from the get-go is Alexx’s smooth and power soaring vocal, and these guys can undoubtedly shred. The hard rock/traditional 80s metal vibe hits you like a bomb in “The Devil Made Me Do It” and “Ride the Blade.” Bonfire follows the hard rock format with opening riffs, established choruses, guitar solos, and back to choruses.
Obviously, with most hard rock/traditional metal/AOR, you gotta have a ballad, and “When An Old Man Cries” is done beautifully. It is definitely not cheesy and does not sing about losing your wife, dog, keys, horse, etc. I cannot pinpoint why, but the acoustic version, which is exquisitely haunting, reminds me of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” I loved this one, both versions.
“Rock N’ Roll Survivors” is an anthem for our times, especially in light of this current situation that we are all a big family. My choice pick is “Warrior,” one that I would play for my metal brothers and sisters going through hard times. I also fell in love with “Gloryland” with its different frenetic pacing (think Dragonforce), soaring riffs and melodies, and the extraordinary sexy range of his vocals.
Bonfire delivers perfect slices of melodic metal that will continue to resonate. Fistful of Fire is a genre-blending album that is being offered up in a contemporary style and will be destined to become a classic.