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I tend to give this band no small section of the shaft whenever they come up, calling them snoozers and such, and to the then 14 or 15 year old mind who was in vivid search for some lost sibling of Slayer, Wildfire were sleepy and yet another Mausoleum tragedy that had mugged him in the heavy metal section of the record store, but now that time has healed most of these scars, it can be admitted the quintet weren’t estranged from ‘83’s use-it-or-lose-it chronology. However, Brute Force and Ignorance as a title for this particular album is a faulty weapon dipped in nativity, for the force isn’t brutal and their unawareness of it is apparent before the first side ends. Even the name Wildfire may be kind of a stretch for some, looking like something effortless like Exciter or Killers. Basically, if you didn’t glean anything too lofty or high-headed from the words written on the front cover, you built yourself a nice little buffer. But despite petty aesthetics, this band has its fine ingredients and glory moments.
One spice from the rack is Paul Mario Day (one of those unobtrusive, three-pronged names that sounds as if it shoulda played an integral part in some bigger band’s slightly gone heyday, like Joe Lynn Turner or something, which proves kinda true), a former of cool ass More and really early Maiden casualty, washing up on shore with his semi-veteran maw sweeping some of the inbred averageness from the marketable tracks while helping spark plug the minority belters. Then there’s two old Weapon escapees in Bisland and Summers, a decent backbone that do a clear-headed job unleashing a bevy of civilized, respectable, and fortunately bendable hooks and corners. Meanwhile the Shiva Studio production wipes the instruments free of debris without worrying if you can eat off the clinic’s floor.
Peeking under the hood, it’s pretty clear the band’s motor is comprised of an alloy made with as much hard rock as metal, powered by commercially viable fuel that luckily falls short of skirt-chasing scumbag rock or the AOR red flag, though when you finally pass finale “Eyes of the Future”, there’s little doubt Wildfire could’ve rolled up with much softer tires if they wanted. Unluckily for us, however, only about two or three of these need seatbelts. Cool n’ dashing are “Violator” and “Another Daymare”, sliding along with enough dynamic steam to make you think your pick at the store was a good one, but alas the former is the album’s opener and soon-to-be-discovered as a flasher of the false green light at the line considering what follow (save the latter and maybe “Redline”) have a much lower stall speed. The other vehicles are a little overfilled with coolant - “Victim of Love”, “If I Tried”, “Eyes of the Future”, “Lovelight” - very melodic while stirring up a small nest of catchiness, out of harm’s way while being harmless themselves, and unapologetic for the success-savvy brainwerk that could probably be seen wriggling under their skulls even while nothing’s really boneheaded, tawdry, or childish about these tracks, and is another reason why I can’t burn this thing like cheese in a microwave.
On the worldwide front, Wildfire rounded the table but couldn’t find their nameplace amongst the Whitesnakes and Dokkens (or any of the second shelfers they probably would’ve sat nicely with), but as they duked it out with more battle dressed Crossfire and Ostrogoth for Mausoleum’s marketing eye, they sorta succeeded, coercing from the label some full page ads and another disc that few worry over. Unfortunately not even a stepping stone to someone’s brighter future.