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Bonfire: The Rauber
Theatrical/Melodic Hard Rock
Rating: 4.75/5.0

I will tell you from the beginning the story of Bonfire's new release 'The Rauber' is a complex one. Hot on the heels of their fantastic 'Double X' work, Bonfire explores of all things musical theater. When director Pierre Politz proposed to work on a project for the stage of the theatre in Bonfire’s hometown Ingolstadt together, Claus Lessmann and Hans Ziller answered:'We hate the theatre!' But Politz had a clear idea, which material he wanted to work on with the famous melodic Rock band: Friedrich Schiller's 'Storm and Stress' drama 'Die Räuber.' This is where it gets complex: the theatrical work debuted in February; and the story itself is complex in its historical context. For more about Schiller's play click here to read the Wikipedia entry. (A synopsis is found on the right sidebar.)

The bottom line is this: Bonfire rose to this challenge and has produced, without doubt, their best work to date. Yes, several cuts are sung in their native German. But do not let this dissuade you from listening to 'The Rauber.' (Actually, I was quite impressed with these track even though I don't know a lick of German!) This is great melodic rock wrapped in a interesting story performed by a great and legendary band.

From the opening to the end, I was enthralled by the music. There are some fantastic cuts on the work like 'Love Don't Lie,' Refugee Of Fate,' the awesome rocker 'Black Night,' 'Hip Hip Hurray,' a simple but fundamental and fun melodic rock number,' and also 'Let Be Your Water,' truly inspired melodic rock. Mr. Lessmann has never sounded better. He seems inspired by the lyrical content and the fine composition. As for the rest of the band: they play with all their skills and talents. 'The Rauber' is a wonderful work.

Obviously, you've read my praise for 'The Rauber.' Bonfire excels beyond all possibilities on this album. This is excellent melodic hard rock from a band who choose to explore something beyond their normal boundaries. The result is a sterling accomplishment. Bonfire's 'The Rauber' is highly recommended.

The Story

The Robbers (German: Die Räuber) was the first drama by German playwright Friedrich Schiller. The play was published in 1781 and premiered on January 13, 1782 in Mannheim, Germany. It was written towards the end of the German Romanticist Sturm und Drang ("Storm and Stress") movement and has been considered by many critics, such as Peter Brooks, to be the first European melodrama. The play astounded its Mannheim audience and made Schiller an overnight sensation. It later became the basis for Verdi's opera of the same name, I masnadieri.

The plot revolves around the conflict between two aristocratic brothers, Karl and Franz Moor. The charismatic but rebellious student Karl is deeply loved by his father. The younger brother, Franz, who appears as a cold, calculating villain, plots to wrest away Karl's inheritance. As the play unfolds, both Franz's motives and Karl's innocence and heroism are revealed to be complex. It is believed that the The Robbers was loosely based on real-life brothers John von Christophe Kasebier (who was trained as a tailor by his father, and whose son became Count of Wittgenstein's personal tailor) and Andreas Kasebier (who was a notorious 18th Century German crime boss who was eventually sent to a Polish prison).

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