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Articles Home » 1987 Articles » Bonfire - 1987 Fireworks
Bonfire - 1987 Fireworks

ARTIST: Bonfire
ALBUM: Fireworks
LABEL: BMG (Germany), RCA (USA)
SERIAL: WD 75117, 6942-2-R
YEAR: 1987
CD REISSUE: 2009, Yesterrock, 800051


LINEUP: Claus Lessmann - lead & backing vocals * Hans Ziller - lead, rhythm & acoustic guitars, backing vocals * Horst Maier-Thorn - rhythm guitar, backing vocals * Jorg Deisinger - bass, backing vocals * Ken Mary - drums (studio guest)

TRACK LISTING: 01 Ready 4 Reaction * 02 Never Mind * 03 Sleeping All Alone * 04 Champion * 05 Don't Get Me Wrong * 06 Sweet Obsession * 07 Rock Me Now * 08 American Nights * 09 Fantasy * 10 Give It A Try


With such a cool looking album cover, it was hard not to miss this one in the LP racks of my local record store back in 1987. Formed from the ashes of German band Cacumen, this outfit featuring Claus Lessman released a number of singles and albums during the early 80's (though they had been existence since the early 70's believe it or not!), before opting for a name change in 1986 to Bonfire, and delivering 'Don't Touch The Light' as their debut that same year. Signed to BMG/RCA, the label obviously saw some potential to combine their sharp form of melodic rock with their equally sharp handsome looks, believing America was the place for Bonfire to become the new Scorpions. It didn't quite work out that way, with their original drummer being given the boot, only for then Fifth Angel drummer Ken Mary to step up to the plate as the guest sticksman for the 'Fireworks' sessions.

The Songs
Some of these songs were razor sharp for their time, and they left an indelible mark on my consciousness during late 1987 when the LP was released. Racy rockers like the quickfire 'Ready For Reaction' and its attendant keyboards, the flighty 'Champion' or the power rock of 'Rock Me Now' still sound good now as they did then. My favourite pair alternate between the brooding 'Fantasy' containing a killer chorus don't you know I'm falling, I'm hiding in my fantasy', or the supreme ballad 'Give It A Try', which takes awhile to get going but when it does it's worth the wait.

In Summary
The Bonfire sound was accentuated by the full Michael Wagener production, and compares favourably when you review all of Wagener's production credits. After the album, Maier-Thorn left to be replaced by Angel Schleifer, while the band recruited Edgar Patrik for the vacant drum-stool. Bonfire's follow-up albums 'Point Blank' and 'Knockout' didn't quite deliver the killer blow the band were hoping for, and for me, some of the magic from this album was lost in translation on future releases. Still active today, the band may have had a few personnel pass through their ranks, though Lessman and Ziller are still in the frame. Also, check out the Bonfire website for some confusing navigation and graphics. A cool concept yes, but then again.. maybe not.. Note, the 2009 Yesterock reissue includes a bundle of other bonus tracks, including live cuts from around this same timeframe.

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#1 | george_the_jack on July 11 2013 23:24:38
One of the greatest hard rock records to have ever come out from Germany IMHO. It stays easily beside ''Blackout'' by Scorpions and the debut of Fair Warning. I didn't have the luck -like George had- to drag it from the record store at the time it was released but I had the privilege to obtain it just 4-5 years later, being one of the very first albums I purchased on CD format and in a state of knowledge of what I'm buying. Still sounds brilliant and not dated at all as George points out rightly. I'd say there's not even a bad song on sight with a rather ideal production and arrangements which preserve the variation and don't let you get bored even if you listen to the whole album 2 times in a row. The follow up ''Point Blank'' was still a great one as well, but the truth is that the band were never meant to reach those heights of ''Fireworks'' again. ESSENTIAL to everyone who loves good rock music!
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