Bonfire - Double X
LZ Records
Melodic Hard Rock
13 songs (63:56)
Release year: 2006
Reviewed by Mike

Here's a band that I seriously lost faith in after their last album, Free. I had stop following the band to the point where I had no idea they were about to release a new album. Luckily, Double X has found its way to my CD player. Critically panned by the press and almost universally despised by fans, Bonfire's career was pretty much on the scrap heap after the release of Free. At the time that I wrote my scathing review of Free, there was no doubt in my mind that nothing short of a fantastic return to their melodic hard rock greatness on their next album would be needed to reestablish themselves as a relevant hard rock band. Another album like Free would almost certainly be the nail in the coffin for Bonfire. Luckily for Bonfire fans, it appears that Free will go down as the bastard child crap album of Bonfire's discography that we will simply forget about. The new album, Double X isn't exactly a masterpiece, nor is it even the band's best album. However, it is a decisive return to the melodic hard rock sound that put Bonfire on the map 20+ years ago, and kept fans gobbling up their albums for the past 2 decades.

The album starts with a heavy riff driven rocker, Day 9-11. It's a definitive statement that Bonfire is back on track, and back to their roots of writing classy melodic hard rock. This is as about as heavy as you'll ever hear Bonfire, particularly with the riffing. However, the chorus, one of Bonfire's most important ingredients over the years is just OK here. The guys continue to rock with But We Still Rock, Cry For Help, Bet Your Bottom Dollar, and What's On Your Mind. Cry For Help is the more relaxed of the bunch, with some acoustic guitar mixed in. However, the chorus line here is big and memorable, just like Bonfire fans have become accustomed to. But We Still Rock is catchy tune, but again, the chorus line is just so-so. Bet Your Bottom Dollar is another heavy riff driven track much like the opener, but Bonfire really sacrifices their trademark catchiness in favor of heaviness here. I like the heaviness a lot, but Bonfire fans who are sicklers for the ultra catchy choruses and hooks might be put off here. What's On Your Mind brings things back down to a more mid tempo hard rock level. The chorus line here has a big impact, and the guitar work is excellent, even if they're not as heavy as something like Bet Your Bottom Dollar. This track really reminds me of the Fireworks / Point Blank heyday of the band. Blink of an Eye is an acoustic based ballad with a western vibe similar to Bon Jovi's Wanted Dead or Alive. Although this song is a very good one, and I really like the atmosphere, the extended version at the end of the album was a little unnecessary. Once would have been enough. Make a call as to which version is the best, and stick with it.

The second half of the album kicks off with the sarcastic parody song, Rap is Crap! I guess this really isn't a song as much as a spoken rant put to guitars and drums. I totally agree with the sentiment of the song and the lyrics, but musically, it's far from a killer song. Still, the lyrics make it worthwhile listen, even the rest of the song is largely unspectacular. Notion of Love follows up, and it is a passionate mid tempo track with a bombshell hook and addictive melodies. Here is another trip back in time to Bonfire's heyday of classy and catchy melodic hard rock at its best. Right Things Right is next, and it is another rocker that lacks catchiness and big hooks just as much as songs like Notion of Love and What's On Your Mind mesmerize you with these elements. As a result, this is a decent track, but very mediocre by Bonfire standards with the lack of catchiness to sink your teeth into. Hard to Say is another acoustic based mid tempo track that reminds me a lot of Kiss' Hard Luck Woman. There is a lot of passion here, but a bigger chorus would have made this a real killer. Wings to Fly is a midtempo rocker that has a good chorus and a lot of good guitar work spread throughout. While not a classic track, this is one of the more emotional and memorable tracks of the album. So What? follows, which sees Bonfire tread into metal territory. The lyrics are somewhat rebellious in nature, and so the attitude and energy are appropriate here. As with a handful of other spots on the album though, there isn't a lot of catchiness to be found here. However, the heaviness and "screw you" attitude of the track make it winner. As I mentioned before, an extended version of Blink of an Eye concludes the album. Great song, but being included twice on the album was totally unnecessary.

All in all, I'm very encouraged by this release. Although Bonfire don't completely go from the scrap heap to pulling a classic out of their pocket, Double X is solid comeback. It certainly gives me hope for the band in the future, whereas I had absolutely none after the release of Free. This album definitely has its moments that hearken back to the glory years of the band, but there are a few tracks that just fall flat as well. Tracks such as Bet Your Bottom Dollar and So What? are amongst a handful that feature a riff driven heavier, but less catchy approach. I like the heavier Bonfire sound, but purist fans of the band (which I know there are a lot of) will not like the fact that Bonfire sacrificed their trademark catchiness in favor of heaviness. I must admit that the more mid tempo Bonfire songs with the bombshell chorus lines and hook are my favorites, and what I think the band does best. However, I think the heavier tracks come off very well, and I'm sure others will appreciate the different approach here. Still, I'm glad to say that Bonfire is back on the map, and fans that gave up after Free should check this album out.

Killing Songs :
Cry For Help, But We Still Rock, What's On Your Mind, Notion of Love
Mike quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Bonfire that we have reviewed:
Bonfire - Fireworks reviewed by Erik and quoted 91 / 100
Bonfire - Don't Touch The Light reviewed by Erik and quoted 87 / 100
Bonfire - Free reviewed by Mike and quoted 28 / 100
Bonfire - Fuel to the Flames reviewed by Ben and quoted 88 / 100
Bonfire - Live Over Europe reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
To see all 9 reviews click here
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 1 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Aug 22, 2006 7:41 pm
View and Post comments