This is one of the rare occassions when an album of over 12 tracks actually sustains its quality. An acquired or discerning taste, if you are uncomfortable with cliched 80s-style hard-rock, a la Whitesnake, then you will not be lovin Bonfire. But if you are one of those who freely embraces the cheese and/or are a child of the times then knock yourself out. In no uncertain terms, Bonfire rock! In a very european, uncool kind of a way but that's part of the allure. There first album was slightly rough around the edges and lacked tunes. Fireworks found them finding themselves as a band and some truly incredible, and heavy tracks that cemented their sound (and their hairdos!). Point Blank saw them moving on even further with a less chunky sound but a definite honing of their technical and creative skills. Every track is a well structured hard rock anthem/party/ballad track and it stays consistent all the way to the end.
'Bang Down the Door' is as near to classic as you're going to get for a Bonfire track. It's a perfect opener with a great riff and an urgent beat. 'Waste No Time' continues this with a more thoughtful track that manages to be even better, with a killer chorus and some heavy guitars. 'Hard on Me' is the single and is a lot of fun. It's not the best track here but deserves 4 stars for once again creating a well structured, catchy song. 'Why Is it...' is the first ballad and it is a doozy. Quiet strumming and wind effects, together with heartfelt lyrics roll into a chunky bar-chord bridge and a soaring chorus that just manages to stay the right side of power ballad. 'Tony's Roulette' is not quite as good but nevertheless retains a catchy chorus and takes its time to become a very interesting song. 'MInestrone' is a silly aside of about a minute of tomfoolery singing but it's a bit of a laugh. Then 'You're Back' brings the party back. Saying that it has a very serious tone and is foot-tappingly addictive. 'Look of Love' is another ballad that is fairly straightforward but infinitely catchy. Then a track that wasn't on the original vinyl (you can always guess the oldies!) appears. And it is equally as good as the rest. 'Price of Loving You' is a mid-paced semi-ballad that only has a place in a cheesy 80s hard rock euro-pop record.
The second side kicks off with even more grandeur than the first. 'Freedom is My Belief' is a band classic and rightly so. It's a no-brainer, content-wise but the music is sublime. 'Gimme Some' is of the 'Hard on Me' ilk and is ok without being terrible or classic. A good rocker. 'Say Goodbye' is another of the 'non-vinyl' tracks and is not as good as 'Price...' but holds it's own and is in the right place on the album next to 'Gimme Some'. 'Never Surrender' has the same feel as 'Waste...' and is another perfect slice of hard-rockery that's hard to deny. The classics keep on coming with '20th Century Youth Patrol'. Great in every way: fun, catchy, heavy and creative. 'Jungle Call' is a nice little spoon ditty. Mmm. 'Know Right Now' is a safe little rocker that doesn't offend anyone but happens to be pretty catchy too. And the closing proper ballad (with no electric guitars) 'Who's Foolin' Who' is a lovely song that ends the album on a high.
While this is not for everyone it stands pretty tall on a creative level. It belongs to a certain time and genre but that is also its charm. Unfortunately I failed to follow the band on their many albums after this one but after dredging up the hard-rock past with this overlooked beauty I may just see if I can catch up...
If Bon Jovi had recorded this one it would have got top reviews and sold bucket loads , all the songs are really good here , a few distraction s and fillers present , but the songs on here are all top notch , do yourself a favour and pick this CD - and others by Bonfire as well - you will be glad you did