Bonfire - Fireworks
Melodic Hard Rock
11 songs (42'50")
Release year: 1987
Bonfire, BMG
Reviewed by Erik
Archive review

This is one of the best melodic hard rock albums ever made. Fans of Scorpions, Dokken, Bon Jovi, Fair Warning et al will just eat this album up and love every minute of it. There, I spoiled the suspense and ruined the review. If you haven't immediately left to pick up Fireworks, clearly you need more inspiration. Read on.

Following Bonfire's debut Don't Touch The Light, which wasn't really a debut so much as a name change, the band seemed to truly gel and improved even on that enjoyable album. All the pieces seemed to fall into place for a near-perfect album to appear. Despite drummer Dominik Hulshorst getting the axe (yuk yuk!) and being replaced by Fifth Angel's Ken Mary during production, Bonfire sounded tighter and livelier than ever. The twin guitar attack of Hans Ziller and Horst Maier is as effective as any such duo from the time period, providing fantastic riffs, excellent melodies, and blazing solos from Ziller. What you get with Fireworks is perhaps one of the best combinations of heavy plus melodic-ness ever to emerge from the glam rock era.

Why is it that fellow countrymen Scorpions were catapulted on to fame and fortune, and not Bonfire? It most definitely is not due to lack of talent or any other noticeable detriment. What you hear is exactly how '80s AOR should be. Ready 4 Reaction is the perfect lead-in, with that instantly-infectious opening riff. Claus Lessman's voice is clear and strong, with a very unique yet fitting tone. It's notable that, like Def Leppard, all the band members contribute backing vocals. After that strong opener, there are no low points to be found. Never Mind, Sleeping All Alone (a Surgin cover), and the huge-chorused American Nights headline the big rockers, while Give It A Try serves up a great ballad. Intoxicating, fist-pumping riffs dominate Champion, with another sing-along chorus. That ever-elusive merging of radio-friendly accessibility and thick, chunky distortion permeates every single song. At the back end, the anthemic Cold Days rounds out the track list, keeping the energy going right to the last moment.

Production? Excellent. Enormous, catchy choruses? Of course. Blistering "guitar hero" solos? Everywhere. Hooks? More than you'll find in a fishing tackle box. Vocals? Perfect. Every single box that should be ticked, is. Fireworks, it could be argued, was Bonfire's Hysteria. Their Whitesnake (S/T); in fact, Ziller bends those strings and squeals around in a similar fashion to John Sykes. Their Operation: Mindcrime, if you will. Many fans agree the following year's Point Blank was nearly as good, but I believe this is the band's high point. If you don't yet own a copy, the 2009 remaster is worth picking up for the improved sound, not so much for the additional live tracks. Despite the great-quality discography they've put out in the years between now and then, you'd be really missing out to not include Fireworks in your collection.

Killing Songs :
Ready 4 Reaction, Champion, Never Mind, American Nights
Erik quoted 91 / 100
Chris quoted 88 / 100
Other albums by Bonfire that we have reviewed:
Bonfire - Don't Touch The Light reviewed by Erik and quoted 87 / 100
Bonfire - Double X reviewed by Mike and quoted 79 / 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
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