If I’m understanding Wiki correctly, Bonfire’s longtime singer Claus Lessmann left the band in January of 2015 with a few of the other members leaving around that time as well. Currently, it would seem that the only original member left in the band is guitarist Hans Ziller, who controls the name Bonfire. I know what you’re thinking — it’s lame when a band just has one original member. Generally speaking, I would agree. But, here’s the thing: the current Bonfire line-up rocks. They kick some serious ass. Last year they put out an album called Glorious and it certainly lived up to its title. The singer on the album was David Reece, who has been the band’s vocalist since early last year, and he sounded great. (If you’re not familiar with him, you might be familiar with one of the bands he’s previously been in, Accept and Bangalore Choir.) I had to listen to the album a couple of times to get used to the fact that the singer didn’t have a German accent, but soon I stopped thinking about that and simply regarded Glorious as one of the best Bonfire albums to date. It’s a gem, really.
Now, Bonfire has just released their second album with Reece on vocals. It’s their first double album, entitled Pearls, and it’s sort of a new greatest hits type of album except that the songs now have David Reece on vocals. I’m sure some longtime fans will consider it sacrilege, but I think the point of the album is to show them just how awesome the songs sound with Reece singing them — and that’s pretty fucking awesome. Songs like “American Nights,” “Down To Atlanta” and their cover of “Sweet Home Alabama” feel more at home with the band with an American vocalist singing them now. Meanwhile, tracks like “Strike Back” and “Sweet Obsession” shine as brightly as they ever did. I’m not suggesting you like the Lessmann versions any less — I certainly don’t — but I am suggesting that you enjoy these versions as well because they’re fantastic, too.
Pearls isn’t just a regular re-recorded hits album though. Well, the second half of the album *is* also classics re-recorded with Reece on vocals, but they’re performed with orchestration by the Italian Symphony-Ensemble, which elevates them to a whole new level in my opinion. Seriously, “You Make Me Feel” and “Give It A Try” are so beautiful I think I actually do like the new versions of them better than the original versions. Furthermore, “I Need You” is so damn good it gives me chills. Ziller’s has never played as brilliantly as he does with the acoustic guitars here, too. So, if you’re skeptical then just give this album a listen on Spotify or the like and see what you think. If you approach it with an open mind then I don’t see how you could not like it. Melodic rock doesn’t get better than this.