Graham Bonnet – Anthology 1968-2017 (2CD & DVD Boxset) (HNE Recordings/Cherry Red)

Former Rainbow vocalist Bonnet needs no real introduction. His highly acclaimed vocal performances have seen him front a plethora of premier league bands, and this boxset has been carefully put together to encompass the full spectrum of his work. The track list takes us from early solo outings to the Michael Schenker Group, Alcatrazz, Rainbow, Impellitteri, Forcefield, Blackthorne, Anthem, and right up to the present and Graham Bonnet Band; thirty-six songs in all, and definitely some surprises along the way. The classics are there of course, but it’s the rarer tracks that will appeal to fans in particular, whether it be the classic rock songs or the heavier tone of Blackthorne during Afterlife, We Won’t Be Forgotten and Don’t Kill The Thrill especially. Bonnet’s highly charged chords see him deliver his heaviest performances to date, whilst remaining crisp and precise, cutting through like a magnificently metallic beast. With razor sharp guitar licks and powerful rhythms, there is still an undeniable 80s feel about everything Graham Bonnet does, but it is irresistibly captivating and – perhaps surprisingly – not dated. The musicians Bonnet associates with (Steve Vai, Yngwie J. Malmsteen, Cozy Powell, Bob Kulick etc) solidify the content of this boxset with the expected level of diversity and dexterity. Anthem’s trio of songs catapult grooving tunes with their upbeat tempos proving this is all killer, no filler. It really does capture all his capabilities.

With a twenty-three track DVD to accompany (and featuring differential track listing) it’s a pleasure to see the main man himself nonchalantly talk us through with track-by-track introductions across the disc, proving just how passionate he still is about what he does. Re-visiting some of these old school promo videos will bring back the youth in us, and discovering new ones is a real pleasure. Rounding off the 23 track DVD is an eight song performance from Impellitteri, live in Tokyo, capturing all the glory of full on 80s hair metal, an image Mr Bonnet himself never succumbed to. Once again, carrying on the grand HNE quality, a bumper booklet with great photos and plenty of liner notes boosts the incentive to purchase. It’s just a shame this guy wasn’t included in the recent Rainbow reformation shows… now that would have been spectacular. However, even if you are reasonably familiar with this unique vocalist, Anthology will present you with something special. Mark Freebase

Music

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