Bonfire - 'Fireworks' (landmark album review) Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     April 22, 2017    
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This is as close to perfection as an album could ever be.

This is a Rocktopia™ landmark review (album review no. 5000, pls. click HERE for more information)

Of course, if I am going to do a special review of any album then it's going to be this little beauty – after all, we only went and named our magazine after this very album!

I still remember that day back in 1987, having been down in London for a job interview after finishing my university course. Back in the eighties, if you were a Rock fan and found yourself in London, then Shades record store was the place to visit, and I duly made my way there. While browsing through the import section this song came over the speakers, and I stopped – transfixed. This music was simply brilliant; an awesome opening riff, massive drums, hugely melodic vocals and a killer chorus. I made straight for the front desk. "Who is this?" I inquired. "The new Bonfire album," came the reply. I hand over my money and take this masterpiece LP home (the less said about the Herricane Alice album bought on the same visit, the better!).

That opening track was 'Ready 4 Reaction', the guitarist Hans Ziller, the vocalist Claus Lessmann, and those massive sounding drums were played by guest Ken Mary, a year before the wonderful House Of Lords debut and while he was with Fifth Angel – another favourite act of mine. And one can't talk about the massive sound without mentioning producer extraordinaire Michael Wagener, the man behind some of the biggest sounding Rock albums of the eighties.

But back to the songs. As their debut album 'Don't Touch The Light' showed, the guys were no slouches in the song-writing department, but for this, their sophomore effort, the label put them with some established song-writers to raise the bar just that little bit higher. So in stepped Joe Lynn Turner (Rainbow) and Jack Ponti (Surgin') to sprinkle their magic on the big single 'Sweet Obsession' (which Turner would cover years later on a solo release), although their other co-write, the amazingly huge and catchy 'Sleeping All Alone', was for me the better song. Marc Ribler appears as co-writer on another mammoth track, 'American Nights', which has got one of the most incredible bridges I've ever heard.

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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Not to be outdone by these bigger names, the band give us the frantic gallop of 'Champion' and the mid-paced genius of 'Never Mind' and 'Fantasy', each and every track a text-book example of how to construct the perfect melodic Hard Rock winner. And then there's 'Don't Get Me Wrong', with its multi-layered chorus that is just utterly and fantastically amazing!

And the ballad...oh, the ballad... 'Give It A Try' has remained a staple in the Bonfire live set to this day, and with very good reason – ballads simply don't come much better than this, Lessmann's emotionally drenched vocals crooning over Ziller's almost weeping acoustic guitar. Pleas for love have never been more heart-breaking.

Ten LP tracks (not counting the bonus CD track 'Cold Days') ... and nine absolute blinders. But of course, there's always one failed attempt that blots the copy-book, and here it's the tedious 'Rock Me Now', which doesn't belong on the same continent, never mind the same album. Apparently the band wrote twenty-five songs for this album and recorded eleven, and I honestly cannot believe there were fourteen songs worse than this abomination. For the live recording of 'Fireworks' at Firefest back in 2010, I kindly asked they left this track off their set, which due to time constraints they did anyway. Believe me, that was a good thing!

Irrespective, for anyone that would ever want me to give an example of what Melodic Hard Rock is all about, and why I love it so much, then this is the album I point them to. That one song aside, this is as close to perfection as an album could ever be.

Bruce Mee

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