Released by: Off Yer Rocka Recordings
Release date: 24th February 2017
Pontus Snibb – Vocals, Guitar
Anders Rosell – Guitar
Martin Ekelund – Bass
Niklas Matsson – Drums
1. Back in Flames
2. Smoke & Fire
3. Power Down
4. Bottle of Jack
5. Written in Stone
6. Like it Now
7. Keep a Safe Distance
8. Gotta Go
9. Flipside Groovin
10. Under Your Spell
It’s probably common knowledge that over the years Sweden has churned out some smokin’ hot rock acts and while I’d heard the name Bonafide bandied about -unfortunately, I had never actually heard their music. When asked to review this release I had no idea this Swedish 4 piece had a back catalog of 5 other albums, dating back to 2007. Luckily, I catch up quickly so after a few listens to what are deemed as their “most popular” songs I was well fired up for this latest addition.
Album opener “Back in Flames” features hard rocking repetitive rhythmic grooves, high pitched lead vocals, backing vocals and spiraling guitar riffs. As may be suggested by the name, it sounds just like something you would expect from AC/DC – and that can never be a bad thing.
Next up “Smoke & Fire” has a hard rock edge but with a softer, more melodic rhythm. It’s a quirky, catchy tune featuring the lyrics Stiff Upper Lip, and some amazing guitar towards the end which keeps spiraling on as the song fades out.
The album really turns a corner with “Power Down” which has a Rock/Blues/Southern Rock vibe to it and differs significantly from the first two tracks. A fantastic tune full of dirty bass grooves and musical variation it also showcases an amazing vocal range.
Back in hard rock mode, “Bottle of Jack” is without doubt one of the best offerings here. Fantastically upbeat, there is a melodic change of guitar nearing the end which is then followed by a solo, but what really struck me with this track were the lyrics. The story this song tells is entirely plausible, which amused me. In my opinion, this is songwriting at its most simplistic yet most effective.
In my opinion, the undisputed gem on this album, “Under your Spell” is as spellbinding as the name suggests. Nearly 8 minutes in length it is musically, lyrically and vocally epic. This is a Blues/Rock song that is just teased out bit by bit until it reaches its untimely conclusion. The perfect finishing tracks always leave you wanting more and I was absolutely stunned by this one. Wow… that is all!
While it would be impossible to ignore the undercurrent of AC/DC trickling through this album, I would find it difficult to the genre as a hard rock release as it’s peppered with unexpected classic rock and blues tracks which not only offer musical variety but also demonstrate the talent of the musicians.
Bonafide are currently celebrating their 10th anniversary with a UK tour – 14 dates in 14 days. Currently with six dates remaining, and an album like this to show off, if you are fortunate enough to have them coming to a stage near you, I would highly recommend that you check them out!
Reviewed by Karen Hetherington