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CD REVIEW: BONFIRE – Pearls

| 2 April 2016 | Reply

Promo Image

Label: UDR GmbH

Release Date: March 25, 2016

Rating: 9/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

Bonfire has been working the hard rock scene for 30 years and to celebrate and commemorate their three decades of rock and roll, they have released Pearls.  This 2CD collection of reworked classics marries the harder and softer side of the band.  Disc 1 – Rock Pearls is a cool representation of where the band has been, with the tight sound of where the band is now.  Disc 2 – Classic Pearls merges the band with the Italian Symphony ensemble and gives a different look at their mellower tracks.  Here I am reviewing the Rock disc, as the Classic disc isn’t my cup of tea.

Disc opener “Strike Back” opens with sound effects that set the mood, but quickly turns its sights to a guitar-driven attack that grabs your attention and doesn’t let up until the song ends.  The guitars lead the charge, supported by a heavy rhythm section and great vocals.  “Under Blue Skies” is a chugging rocker that delivers more great guitar work wrapped around a bluesy vocal that delivers the emotionally charged and impactful lyrics.  “Proud Of My Country” is one of my favorite tracks on the, thanks to the melodic guitars and great bottom end from the bass and drums, but the vocals really drive this song home for me.  The layered background vocals enhance the sound and feel of this song.  “Don’t Go Changing Me” has a full sound from open to close, but the catchy chorus and lyrics add to this songs feel.  This track should go over well in a live scenario due to its anthemic groove.  “American Nights” is a solid rock song from top to bottom, thanks to heavy handed drums, thumping bass lines, and soaring guitar riffs.  The vocals are icing on the proverbial cake and take this song to the next level.  “Heat In The Glow” is another representation of the bands melodic side, with this track that is more power ballad at the verse and hard rock at the chorus, but swirls the two nicely, especially when the bridges kick in.  Disc closer “Loaded Gun” is a cover and one of my favorite songs from singer David Reece’s previous band Bangalore Choir.  While the song sounds similar due to the vocals, there is a heavier sound to the guitars and rhythm section, giving this song the Bonfire treatment and allowing it to fit alongside the other songs on this collection.

“Diamonds In The Rough” brings more good guitar work to the mix, but the heavy handed drumming steals the spotlight on this track, driving the tempo and mood of this rocker.  The vocals kick in and swirl in a different groove as compared to the musical accompaniment of the track, but the combination works.  “Sweet Home Alabama” starts off with a different sound and feel that do not come off anything like the original.  Once the lyrics kick in, you realize you are being treated to a cool hard rock take on a classic southern rock track.  “Sweet Obsession” brings a different guitar sound at the intro, but soon an awesome melodic sound washes over the track and the song weaves a different thread into the fabric of the disc.  This song brings together different aspects of various tracks on the disc and shows how solid these guys can be.  “Good Time Rock ‘N’ Roll” shows off more of the bands blues roots and demonstrates how well they merge blues, hard rock, and a melodic feel to create the Bonfire sound.  The vocals add punch to the song with a different sound that flashes hints of Coverdale at times.  “Can’t Stop Rocking” has a different feel to it than most of the tracks here, but it blends nicely against the other songs.  This song draws direct comparisons to Whitesnake, from the vocals to the harmonic guitars and killer tempo.  “Down To Atlanta” is another blues-driven rocker that creates a killer one-two punch with the previous song.  The guitars are fun and chug nicely while the vocals and a sweet riff swing through the verse, building to a catchy chorus.

​​Tracklisting for Rock Pearls: Strike Back – Under Blue Skies – Diamonds In The Rough – Proud Of My Country – Sweet Home Alabama – Don’t Go Changing Me – Sweet Obsession – American Nights – Good Time Rock ‘N’ Roll – Heat In The Glow – Can’t Stop Rocking – Down To Atlanta – Loaded Gun

Tracklisting for Classic Pearls: You Make Me Feel – Give It A Try – Who’s Foolin’ Who – I Need You – Good Night Amanda – Southern Winds – If It Wasn’t For You – Why Is It Never Enough – Let’s Fly Away

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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