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Classic Review: Wildfire - Summer Lightning
Summer Lightning

Label: Mausoleum Records
Year released: 2002
Duration: 47:19
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: January 6, 2003
Reviewed by: Iwarrior
Readers Rating
Summer Lightning

Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (7 Votes)

Every now and then, one is reminded of bands from the past that could have and should have become bigger stars than they were. Wildfire is such a band. Although they only recorded two albums and one non-LP single, Wildfire show on this, their second and final full-length release that they deserved to fill stadiums with their stellar brand of traditional and connectable English heavy metal.

Summer Lightning is one of those almost-flawless, righteous headbangs. The album starts out with a brief instrumental called "Prelude In F Flat Minor", which ends up catapulting the following track, "The Key" over the walls of the fortress in the same way "The Hellion" did to "Electric Eye" on Judas Priest’s Screaming For Vengeance. Only the awkward power ballad "Give Me Back Your Heart", the somewhat out-of-place popster "Nothing Lasts Forever", and a slightly muddy production job make this gem less than perfect. However the record’s highpoints hide these blemishes well. The aforementioned "The Key" with its razor-sharp, steel-piercing, double-harmonized riff, the bounce and strut of the title tune, the driving assault of "Gun Runner", and the magnificent chorus of thundering anthem "Fight Fire With Fire" are only part of the magic that makes Summer Lightning a minor classic. The second half of the equation lies in the fabulous throat of Iron Maiden alum Paul Mario Day, who sounds reminiscent of Dee Snider yet with far greater range, power, and class.

Mausoleum recently reissued this unsung work with a bonus track titled "Jerusalem", a heavy and serviceable take on the old standard which was released as a non-LP single, and predates Bruce Dickinson’s superior version by about 15 years. Summer Lightning is a fine piece of vintage British steel that can bring a smile to a seasoned rivethead’s face and also a frown due to the realization that a group of potential legends burned brightly for such a short period of time and were noticed by so few.

Additional Information

Originally released in 1984

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