mercoledì 23 maggio 2012

HARDLINE - Danger Zone (2012)

HARDLINE "Danger Zone" (Frontiers Records)
rating: 90/100

Twenty years ago, Johnny and Joey Gioeli's sister let them meet Neal Schon (Journey) and the latter became aware of Gioeli's bros music dream. In a short time he was producer and guitar player of their wonderful debut album "Double Eclipse".
But the grunge storm arrived soon and their wishes turned to ashes so only in year 2002 Johnny and Joey reformed the band publishing a new album pretty average compared to "Double Eclipse", so Joey left the band which later recorded a live and a studio album ("Leaving The End Open", 2009), then Johnny called brand new musicians.
Also following Frontiers' suggestions, his new partners in crime are Thorsten Koehne (Demon Drive, Sunstorm, Eden's Curse - gt), Alessandro Del Vecchio (Edge Of Forever - keyb), Anna Portalupi (Lionville - bs) and Francesco Jovino (Edge Of Forever - dr) and this time they hit the big target!
Now, twenty years since their debut but "Danger Zone" sounds like the time and attitude have stood still with big guitars, roaring vocals and a big sound just like when hair metal was ruling the world with its joyful music and some great instrumental skills.

The start of "DZ" is burning with the arena rocker "Fever Dreams", which might come straight from "Double Eclipse" session with some great Gioeli's vocals, and the pure class rock of "10.000 Reasons", close to the best Dokken and catchy refrains.
The titletrack slows the pace and also quality is a bit lower but it should work very fine when played live, and the same goes for "What I'd Like", hard-AOR tune with a refrain similar to Yngwie Malmsteen's "Heaven Tonight"and "Stronger Than Me", a pretty moody and monotonous balld.
Not bad the cover version of "Never Too Late For Love", already done by Phil Bardowell and Mark Free, but it's the following "Stay" that Hardline play huge again with those refreshing AOR sounds and a great refrain.
You can skip the weak and confused "I Don't Wanna Break Away" and enjoy the pleasant and relaxed rocker "Look At You Now", good for every moment of your day, and the pure AOR melodies of "Please Have Faith In Me".

The album gets on fire again towards its end with the melodic hard rockers "Show Me Your Love" and "The Only One" enriched by a fast rhythm section and some high level harmonic structures.

In the late '80s this album would have gained huge praises but I hope that also today there's room for Hardline's new album, only a small step below their incredible debut album (ABe)

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