HARDLINE - review added 22nd May 2012
Album Review: Danger Zone (2012)
For fans of: Hard Rock
It's the 20th anniversary of Hardline's excellent debut release, so what better time to release another album? It has to be said this band is no longer Hardline in the original sense of the word. Most important member Johnny Gioeli is still there on vocals, but the rest of the line-up has changed completely, as has the sound. Hardline's modern output sonically owes more to Johnny's other regular musical outlet Axel Rudi Pell than to debut album "Eclipse". However, taking into account the quality on show here it's easy to forgive.
"Danger Zone" is the band's 4th studio LP, following on from 2009's "Leaving The End Open". Italian songwriter and producer Alessandro Del Vecchio has taken over main music-creation duties, which probably accounts for the majority of the shift-in-sound.
The contemporary Hardline vibe is upbeat, easy-on-the-ears hard rock lacking any sort of metal bite, but offering loads of melody, interesting hooks and clever drum beats. The musicianship is ample, although more fire wouldn't have gone amiss. Johnny's vocals are as good as they've ever been...which of course means bloody good. He's clearly a man who knows how to look after a set of pipes, as he doesn't seem to have aged since day one.
Of the songs, opener 'Fever Dreams' is an absolute monster, 'What I'd Like' is groovy and cool, 'Stay' has a great sing-along anthemic feel, and the Boston-esque 'Please Have Faith In Me' works very well.
"Danger Zone" is just about on a par with the last release, not quite in the same league as the debut. Still, there are a few great songs here, and Johnny sounds as wonderful as ever. I can't see this disappointing fans too much.
Overall (Not An Average Of The Above):
01. Fever Dreams
02. 10000 Reasons
03. Danger Zone
04. What I'd Like
05. Stronger Than Me
06. Never Too Late For Love
08. I Don't Wanna Break Away
09. Look At You Now
10. Please Have Faith In Me
11. Show Me Your Love
12. The Only One
Johnny Gioeli – vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio - keyboards and backing vocals
Thorsten Koehne - guitars
Anna Portalupi - bass
Francesco Jovino - drums