Cover albums can be really hit or miss. And even that varies from person to person. I can think one is a hit but you might think that same one is a miss. But I guess that applies to anything. Anyway, what we have here is a mixture. Some work, some don’t. In addition to that, Bonfire is a band that wouldn’t normally qualify for being reviewed on this site. Not because they aren’t good enough but that their style is more straight forward rock. Except on this, they wind up covering some bands that are either considered prog or flirt with prog in their music.
So what started this whole endeavor is the band decided to go on tour playing covers in tribute to the bands that influenced them. And to help prep for it, they decided to do a album of those covers. And not just a simple covers album, as they doubled down and released this 32 song behemoth (Which turns out was a bit much for me to get through in one sitting). And they don’t just settle for one song by a band, in some cases they do three songs, as is the case with Toto and Queensryche. And in one case, Rainbow, they do five. I looked up their setlist for those shows and they pretty much play all of this live too, or close to it.
With these covers, the band doesn’t change much at all. Just pretty much perform them as the originals were with some tweaks here and there, but in the Bonfire style. So, set your expectations as such. Also noting that some songs I just wasn’t familiar with so I won’t comment much on those.
Let’s dive in.
Africa – Decent enough cover. The background vocals sound a bit weird and I don’t really care for the keyboard accent here. It worked in the original. Not so much here. The synth just feels out of place.
Hold the Line and Rosanna really work well. The Bonfire style seems to fit playing these more than Africa.
Man on the silver Mountain. Rocks and works. There are four, yes, four other Rainbow songs following this one too: I Surrender, Stone Cold, Death Alley Driver, and Black Masquerade. All pretty rocking. You can guess who one of the biggest influences are for Bonfire. I haven’t much followed or dug into Rainbow, but listening to these makes me want to do so.
Burning Heart, Eye of the Tiger, and Caught in the Game are great covers. Not much else to say. Straight ahead melodic rock songs performed well.
I guess I am not going to be digging into UFO. Didn’t care for these songs at all. Three in total: Doctor Doctor, Lights Out, and Rock Bottom (was kind of hoping for a cover of the Rock Bottom by House of Lords instead). And that isn’t a knock at Bonfire. Admirable enough covers. It is just the songs themselves. Not for me. YMMV.
I’ll admit I haven’t listened to much Deep Purple but what I have heard, I have liked. The deepest I have gone so far is with the last Whitesnake album, Purple. (Yeah, I’m a big Whitesnake fan). I need to dig more into Deep Purple. What we get here is a cover of Child in Time. First time I heard this song, of all places, was in the movie Twister. It started up where the song really kicks in and I was hooked on the track from there. This is a pretty fantastic cover and a great way to end the first disc. Another Deep Purple track also makes an appearance on disc two toward the end: King of Dreams.
I was curious how these would be handled and the curiosity grew as I progressed through this album. I became increasingly unsure this would work given the very nature of Queensryche and their overall vibe. Jet City Woman and Eyes of a Stranger turned out to work really well. Silent Lucidity not so much. Not sure if it’s the vocal delivery, the light chugging guitars throughout… or maybe that the over all ethereal vibe just isn’t there. It’s decent though.
This section of three songs is really good, if heavy on the tears. These seem to fit better to Bonfire’s style and vocals. Think I’ll check more into Robin Beck too. Save Up All Your Tears was originally a Bonnie Tyler song, covered a little later by Robin Beck.
I am not much for Hardline and cannot stand the song Hallelujah so this section of three tracks didn’t really do anything for me. As they are, they are good covers, though. Just not for me.
I’ve never really been into Grave Digger, but the two tracks here (Rebellion and Heavy Metal Breakdown) are really good, straight forward metal songs and I feel Bonfire do them justice.
One of my favorite bands. Love just about everything they have released. Here we are served up two House of Lords covers, except Love Don’t Lie was a cover already of a Stan Bush song. Always loved that song and, honestly, I still prefer the original (Stan Bush). Though, both Bonfire and HoL both do an admirable job of it. The other HoL cover, I Wanna Be Loved, is more in line with the Bonfire sound and works much better.
To close things out are some songs sung in German originally by the rock band Puhdys. All straight-up rock. First up, is Frei Wie Die Geier, which is a very catchy song. Followed by Erinnerung, a cool little number with some organ featured through the instrumental section of the track. And finally, Alt Wie Ein Baum, a short, if catchy little mid-tempo rocker.
Like I said, cover albums are an interesting beast. It is sometimes nice to see what a band can do with another band’s songs, and with this one, you get that answered pretty thoroughly. Definitely check it out as I am sure there is at least ONE song on here you might dig.
1. Africa (Toto)
2. Hold the Line (Toto)
3. Rosanna (Toto)
4. Man on the Silver Mountain (Rainbow)
5. I Surrender (Rainbow)
6. Stone Cold (Rainbow)
7. Death Alley Driver (Rainbow)
8. Black Masquerade (Rainbow)
9. Burning Heart (Survivor)
10. Eyeof the Tiger (Survivor)
11. Caught in the Game (Survivor)
12. Doctor Doctor (UFO)
13. Lights Out (UFO)
14. Rock Bottom (UFO)
15. Child in Time (Deep Purple)
16. Jet City Woman (Queensryche)
17. Silent Lucidity (Queensryche)
18. Eyes of a Stranger (Queensryche)
19. Tears inthe Rain (Robin Beck)
20. The First Time (Robin Beck)
21. Save Up All Your Tears (Bonnie Tyler/Robin Beck)
22. Hot Cherie (Hardline)
23. Dr. Love (Hardline)
24. Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen)
25. Rebellion (Grave Digger)
26. Heavy Metal Breakdown (Grave Digger)
27. Love Don’t Lie (House of Lords/Stan Bush and Barrage)
28. I Wanna Be Loved (House of Lords)
29. King of Dreams (Deep Purple)
30. Frei wie die Geier (Puhdys)
31. Erinnerung (Puhdys)
32. Alt wie ein Baum (Puhdys)