HARDLINE – Danger Zone

Hardline - Danger ZoneFor all of us older farts who were rocking our way through the eighties / early nineties, digging our way through all the great melodic rock bands who were on the scene then, Hardline weas one of those bands who we all thought would make it big next.  Not only did they make a fantastic debut album in Double Eclipse, they also had two good looking brothers Joey (guitars) and Johnny Gioeli (vocals) at the front and they also recruited non other than Neal Schon (Journey) and drummer Deen Castronovo, who had just split from Bad English.  But despite a couple of hit singles and decent sales, the band split after just that one album.

However, singer Johnny decided that he wanted to keep the band going after a few years and put together a new version of the band in which he works  with while fronting german guitar player Axel Rudi Pell’s band as well.  Gioeli has put out two albums under the Hardline banner before this one, none of them with any success, which is understandable as they haven’t really delivered the goods at all.  So with Gioeli’s third attempt (which contains a third line up…) after the split, I wasn’t exactly aroused when I put the album in my player to give it a go.

But when the first track, the single ”Fever Dreams” poured out of my speakers, I thought that maybe this time Gioeli and his new band might be up for something cool.  The song doesn’t reinvent the wheel by any means, but it is a very good track, catchy as hell which leaves you wanting more.  The same goes for ”10 000 Reasons”, which also makes for very good single material. Half ballad ”Never Too Late For Love” is great and leaves you humming long after the song has ended, ”Stay” is an AOR /pop – killer which feels like a hit on the spot, while ”I Don’t Wanna Break Away” is a good song, but where the verses are way more catchy than the chorus. ”Show Me Your Love”, a good melodic rock track and ”The Only One”, also melodic rock, but a bit faster are both very good songs, but a bit forgettable.

As a whole, Hardline, which has to be seen as a Johnny Gioeli solo project, has made a good album in the melodic rock / AOR vein.  The biggest problem with this project is that, even though the songs are good, it feels too common, like you have heard this kind of album thousands of times before and I’m not too sure that I can find that one little thing that would make me want to take this album over any other well produced album in the same genre.

That said, this is easily the best Hardline album since the debut.

Jon Wilmenius (7/10)

01. Fever Dreams
02. 10,000 Reasons
03. Danger Zone
04. What I’d Like
05. Stronger Than Me
06. Never Too Late For Love
07. Stay
08. I Don’t Want To Breakaway
09. Look At You Now
10. Please Have Faith In Me
11. Show Me Your Love
12. The Only One

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