Fireworks

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Bonfire - 'Pearls' Hot

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Written by Central Electronic Brain     August 22, 2016    
 
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Impeccably performed, wonderfully produced, but a woeful song selection and ultimately rather pointless.

When vocalist Claus Lessmann departed Bonfire back in 2014, rather than bring in a new vocalist, guitarist and main-man Hans Ziller simply took his David Reece-fronted side-project EZ Livin' and renamed it Bonfire. A rather cynical move in my opinion; and one which resulted in all EZL's gigs that year being cancelled. For sure, Bonfire is a bigger, better known name than EZL, and a bigger commercial enterprise, but it was a move that left a bad taste in my mouth having been a massive Bonfire fan since the eighties. Now, for the 30th Anniversary of the band, Ziller has decided to re-record a selection of the band's previous works, split between two discs; 'Rock Pearls' contains a selection of the band's more Rocking moments, while 'Classic Pearls' contains re-arrangements of nine of their ballads... with orchestral backing.

The press release describes this collection as "all the classics", but this really is quite disingenuous. Of the thirteen tracks on disk one, nine of them come from only two albums; 1999's 'Fuel To The Flames' and 2001's 'Strike Ten'. From their classic 'Fireworks' album only two Rockers are utilised – 'American Nights' and an interesting re-working of 'Sweet Obsession' with some cool additional guitar. Of course, both those tracks appeared on 2015's 'Glorious' album - I'm guessing the reason for this must be something to do with publishing rights, but the omission of true classics such as 'Ready 4 Reaction', 'Champion', 'Hot To Rock', or anything off 'Point Blank', is frankly quite ludicrous. How can fillers such as 'Heat In The Glow', 'Can't Stop Rocking' and 'Good Time Rock 'N' Roll' be described as classics?

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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While I can understand the commercial reasoning behind including covers of Skynyrd's 'Sweet Home Alabama' (originally covered on '...Flames' so it's a cover of a cover!) and 'Loaded Gun' (from Reece's previous outfit Bangalore Choir), to have them here on a disc celebrating the 30th Anniversary of Bonfire is totally preposterous. Reece does a good job however; surprisingly so on the ballads, where the song choices are a little more representative. Although to hear him singing 'Proud Of My Country', with the opening line about being "just a little German boy", is really quite distracting.

Impeccably performed, wonderfully produced, but a woeful song selection and ultimately rather pointless. A curiosity(!)

Bruce Mee

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