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On disc: Bonfire

Fuel To The Flames - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars
Fireworks Still Alive - Claudia Ehrhardt - 10 stars
Cry For Help - Claudia Ehrhardt - no rating
Live in Wacken - Claudia Ehrhardt - 7 stars

Live in Wacken

Live in Wacken
(LZ Records - 2013)

Bonfire now present a recording of their show in Wacken in 1998, so you will expect a best of. In a way it is a best-of, even if some songs are missing. Additionally you get some stuff of The Räuber (recorded in Ingolstadt) and 2 bonus tracks.

They kick off with Wake Up, a perfect wake-up call. Next in line Never Mind and Sweet Obsession. The sound quality is okay, but you have to keep in mind it was recorded in 1998, so nowadays recordings surely sound better. Sword And Stone and SDI are right up the alley of the Wacken crowd, it's followed by a short drum solo, but it's more an interlude with less than a minute. After some classics they head into The Räuber part which has 3 songs from their version of The Räuber. For everybody who doesn't have The Räuber it's interesting to get the 3 tunes of the opus. With Thank You they added a previously unreleased tune which was written to thank their fans. the extended mix of Hold Me Now is closing this chapter.

Perhaps not the strongest live album of Bonfire, but it documents their Wacken performance and shortens the time til the next studio album will be in stores.

Track listing:

Intro / Wake Up
Never Mind
Sweet Obsession
In Zaire
The Stroke
Sword And Stone
Drum Solo
American Nights
Ready 4 Reaction
Obsessive Prelude
The Räuber / Bells Of Freedom
Let Me Be Your Water
Black Night
Thank You (previously unreleased)
Hold Me Now (extended mix 2013)

7 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Cry For Help

Cry For Help
(LZ Records - 2012)

There is no need to introduce Bonfire to any hard rock fan and some might wonder why they release Cry For Help - a song off Double X - as an EP.. Well, that's easy to answer. Bonfire is supporting PETA which also explains the cover artwork. The song Cry For Help is about animals how are caged and abused, the guys want to raise awareness for animal rights and so they offer an EP with 3 versions of Cry For Help (radio version, long version and acoustic version) plus 2 live songs and a special version of I Need You. PETA gets a share of every sold copy, so even if you have the song in your collection, join the cause!

I don't know why there is a radio and long version, coz they don't differ much in length... Anyway, the acoustic version give the songs another feel and the lyrics speak on their own! A short example? Sure!

"Who sheds a tear for the crocodile
That you carry as a bag?
Does your mink coat still keep you warm
When you think about its fate?
It ain't just another protest song
About laboratory crimes
It's also a cry for help
For the cowards of our time."

Cry For Help video clip

The live versions were recorded at Czech Masters Of Rock 2011 festival and once more it's obvious that Bonfire is an excellent live band, so enjoy You Make Me Feel and Just Follow The Rainbow. Between the live versions they placed I Need You and the version is called 'private version', it's a piano-based tune featuring Claus Lessmann's vocals. Personally I'm happy that they show they still rock with the closer Just Follow The Rainbow.

In my opinion they should have done only 2 versions of Cry For Help and instead of doing a 3rd version add a new track or something rare to the EP to give die-hard fans reason to buy it, even if I hope that supporting PETA is reason enough...

- no rating -

Claudia Ehrhardt


Fireworks Still Alive

Fireworks Still Alive
(LZ Records - 2011)

Almost 25 years after Bonfire released Fireworks, their second album, they present a live album with the classics - plus a few other tracks. The opening sounds a bit strange with a German traditional song, but then they kick off with Ready For Action. And soon it's obvious that the guys still know how to rock. I remember well when Fireworks was released and the following tours... No surprise that this album got Gold status in Germany - even if it took quite awhile... The Fireworks album soon became a classic and even if with Point Blank they delivered a strong follow-up this their masterpiece. The first songs are presented the same way as on the album, then they skip Champion, but this one they had on the set list later on - only the closer Cold Days is missing. Songs like Rock Me Now haven't been played for years and it's nice to hear it live again - and hopefully some of the old tune will now be played frequently again. With You Make Me Feel they present a tune from their debut, a beautiful semi-ballad which always reminded me a bit of the Scorpions.... With Sword And Stone they added a song which some might not know as it was only released on as a single in 1989. But they also play a song from their latest studio album Branded, Just Follow The Rainbow fits perfectly to the old tunes. Bonfire pay tribute to Steve Lee and dedicate I'm On My Way to the Gotthard singer who passed way too early. And with Let It Grow off Branded they close this chapter. Personally I would like to get a live version of Point Blank... But so far, so good. This album is fun and shows that Bonfire are alive and kickin'!

10 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt

Fuel To The Flames

Fuel To The Flames
(BMG - 1999)

The German hard rock quintet release another album and this is again with English lyrics. It's kicking off with the track Daytona Nights which is a heavy rocker which lives from Claus Lessmann's charismatic voice. The album offers 14 tracks rockers and ballads. With Proud Of My Country mainmen Claus Lessmann and Hand Ziller make the statement that they as Germans as well as any other German doesn't have to feel guilty about what happened during the 2nd World War and that in the German history are many things we can be proud of. Everybody who's listening to the words will easily find out! But there are also less serious tracks like the cover tune Sweet Home Alabama which they present in a more rocking way then the Southern rockers. A powerful ballad is Goodnight Armanda, but in the tradition of the Bavarians. Unusual is Ode an die Freiheit which is an instrumental their interpretation of Ludwig van Beethoven's musical piece. A hard rocking power ballad is Break Down The Walls which is very intense and is slowly sneaking in to your mind and keeps spinning...
A great mixture of rocking tracks and slow ones, something people know Bonfire for, but at the same time not copying themselves. Well done, guys!

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt

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