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Released: 1993, RCA
Hidden Gem Review
If you observe the metal industry it is uncanny how some bands follow an extremely similar career trajectory. In this case I am referring to Bonfire and Pretty Maids. Each European melodic metal act has been going since 1981 or so with very few line up changes, each has had 10 studio CD’s, a Live CD, a Best of CD and a few rare releases. Each had huge success in the 80’s, each lost ground in the early 90’s, but resigned with major labels in Europe and Japan. Both are virtually unknown in North America but continue to make kick-ass music to this very day! Coincidence? How I came to review this CD is virtually identical to that of my two Pretty Maids reviews this month! I recommend you checkout those reviews as well.
Ahhh…sweet Bonfire…How I burn for thee!
Have you ever been looking through your collection and been hit by the realization that you have almost the entire catalogue of band but didn’t really know it? That happened to me with Bonfire. I actually have nine Bonfire albums! Weird. There haven’t been any reviews in Metal-Rules.com of this great band who have been around for over 20 years. Accordingly, I picked out two CD’s to review, a live and a compilation, to give an overview of their career, because I am too lazy to review all ten, studio albums. Check out my review of HOT & SLOW-THE BEST OF THE BALLADS from this month as well.
Live…the Best is a 16 track single Live CD that was recorded on various locations in Germany on their 89/90 POINT BLANK tour. The packaging is pretty lame, in fact I have the sneaky suspicion this may even be a contractual obligation CD for BMG as they went with the little known label LZ shortly after. There are no lyrics, the cover is just the band logo and it was released three years after the fact. That’s OK it is still a pretty kick-ass Live CD.
The depth of international metal is brought home when looking at the one live shot on the back cover and listening to the CD. There must be thousands of people at this show in Germany. Even if Bonfire was just the opening act for some bigger band, the crowd is singing along boisterously, which I always like on a Live CD! The band was formerly known as Cacumen, who released two albums before changing the name to Bonfire. Unfortunately perhaps, the songs are drawn heavily from their 4th and 5th albums (and a drum solo!). So it is not a great representation of their career to that point but I liked the two CD’s they played the songs from (KNOCKOUT, POINT BLANK) so it is OK! Those were the two albums that actually had a little distribution in parts of the world other than Germany. Since the band left RCA/BMG have been hard to find their material, hence why few people remember or know they are still very active.
Bonfire play classy, melodic hard rock, with big hooks, big choruses, big power ballads, they really do sound like Firehouse, Pretty Maids, older Bon Jovi and others. Great fun, sing-along songs with anthem choruses. Why did I give it only a three? Well…the presentation was weak, no old stuff, no unreleased or rare material. However their infectious delivery, great songs and good production make this a recommended buy for fans of Bonfire. It you haven’t heard them before and are curious read my review of HOT & SLOW-BEST OF THE BALLADS here.
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