Fireworks... Still Alive

01. Ready For Action
02. Never Mind
03. Sleeping All Alone
04. Don't Get Me Wrong
05. Give It A Try
06. Fantasy
07. American Nights
08. Obsessive Intro
09. Sweet Obsession
10. Rock Me Now
11. Champion
12. You Make Me Feel
13. Sword And Stone
14. Just Follow The Rainbow
15. I'm On My Way
16. Let It Grow

Claus Lessmann - lead vocals & guitar
Hans Ziller - guitar
Chris Limburg - guitar
Uwe Kohler - bass
Dominik Hülshorst - drums

Studio albums
1986: Don't Touch the Light
1987: Fireworks
1989: Point Blank
1991: Knock Out
1996: Feels Like Comin' Home
1996: Freudenfeuer (German version of Feels Like Comin' Home)
1998: Rebel Soul
1999: Fuel to the Flames
2001: Strike Ten
2003: Free
2006: Double X
2008: The Räuber
2011: Branded
Live albums
1993: Live...The Best
2002: Live Over Europe!
2005: One Acoustic Night
2007: Double Vision



Released 7/10-2011
Reviewed 22/10-2011


German melodic rock authority called Bonfire are releasing their second album of the year and the second one to commemorate their 25 years since the debut in 1986. But it was in 1987 they released what is considered probably their best work and also a big hit for them selling gold, an album called Fireworks which is what this album is based upon with most songs coming from that album. This is a live album from their tour in many nations around Europe, it contains sixteen tracks and over an hour of live music from these german legends. Legends I however have not had much big interest in because of their truck stop image and overall american trucker image which is not a positive for me. However, that is not something that stops me from looking deeply into this album.

I think it is quite hard thinking of Bonfire without mentioning a band called Gotthard, they are quite similar both in attitude and musical style. It is melodic hard rock that is straight to the point, witch catchy choruses and an overall guitar driven rock music with a vocalist that is somewhat high pitched and has a slight coarse voice, maybe form drinking a lot of whiskey or something similar. The music is often uptempo but with one or two power ballads thrown in for good measure. And as I mentioned this is a live album with this musical elements, it is also a live album where there has been done a lot of polishing after the fact making it sound almost like a studio album with a crowd in the background. It is not the raw messy and horrible production many live albums has, this sounds good and sophisticated which can be seen as a bit of a surprise considering the kind of band we are dealing with here.

What strikes me to begin with is the cover artwork, it looks really cool with a fifties retro look which might feel a tad odd considering that the original fireworks album was released in 1987. Still, who knows how it was in Germany at that time? the germans maybe? I would suppose so, but not to loose the thread here. The album is an overall good album I would say, the songs harmonise well with the great sound and none of the terrible rubbish live blemishes can be heard on this album which will probably annoy some live album purists but I don’t give a shit about what those think. The songs and melodies come out well and the crowd noises are often a good addition and I would say that most songs sound better than they did on the original works they were taken from (those I have heard at least).

I would say that songs like American Nights and Champion are the highlights of the album, the tribute to Steve Lee I’m on My Way is a good gesture but the song sounds frighteningly alike Show Me the Way that Styx performed in memory of then diseased band member John Panozzo on the Return to Paradise Live DVD and album. A song that originally was found on their Edge of the Century album and was penned by Dennis DeYoung it reached the third place on the Billboard chart. Anyway, that was also a little sidetrack but these are the memorable works of the album, the real memorable at least.

There are however some things that don’t please me as much, some songs are quite sleepy and tired like the opener, Rock Me Now and Sword and Stone which are very tiring. Also, a playing time of around 70 minutes is a bit long for this kind of music and it feels a bit long towards the end which of course lowers my esteem of the album. I also don’t think many of the spoken parts are good or necessary and most of them are quite childish especially considering the age of the band, but maybe it pleases their fans.

In the end I would say that this album is good, it is a bit on the long side which makes it somewhat tiring to listen to in its entirety, so it is not an album for driving or similar activities. The sound is great and songs are good overall, in their best moments Bonfire are brilliant on this album it is only too bad that these moments are few and far between. But as I said it is a good album overall and if you are a fan of Bonfire you will probably find this album fantastic, and if you like melodic hardrock you will probably enjoy this as well, I know I did for a while.


Label: LZ Records/Yesterrock/GerMusica
Three similar bands: Night Ranger/Gotthard/Foreigner
Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm

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