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On disc: Hardline

Double Eclipse - Claudia Ehrhardt - 9 stars
Danger Zone - Claudia Ehrhardt - 8 stars

Danger Zone

Danger Zone
(Frontiers Records - 2012)

Hardline's debut Double Eclipse was released in 1992 and due to the line-up it got a lot attention. Back in the days it was Journey's Neal Schon, bassist Todd Jensen, drummer Dean Castronovo and the Gioeli brothers. Bad timing prevented that they became super stars, coz grunge destroyed the hard rock / glam metal scene. Now 20 years later the 4th Hardline album is out, but Johnny Gioeli is the only original member. These days Edge Of Forever keyboarder Alessandro Del Vecchio is responsible for the songwriting.

They kick off with Fever Dreams, a catchy melodic metal tune which offers surprising tempi changes. Guitarist Thorsten Koehne is doing a good job, but to take over from guys like Neal Schon and Joey Tafolla isn't easy. In my opinion the guitar should be more prominent... At 10,000 Reasons there is a lead guitar passage where Thorsten Koehne can shine. The title track Danger Zone is a bit heavier than the first two tracks, a heavy groove is driving this one. The more guitar-based tune What I'd Like is bringing back memories of the past, of the debut... Partly the keyboard is too prominent - at least for me -, especially when the guitar downs in it. One of my favorite songs at Danger Zone is Never Too Late For Love, this one is closer to the tracks off the debut than the others. Another one which sticks out is Look At You Now, the song has a moody edge. At Show Me Your Love Thorsten Koehne gets more space to shine, a guitar-based rocker. With The Only One they close this chapter, and like the opener the closer is a strong one with speed changes and different atmospheres.

It's a good album, but for me it can't keep up with Double Eclipse. Anyway, fans of Johnny Gioeli and melodic metal should dig Danger Zone.

8 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


Double Eclipse

Double Eclipse
(MCA Records - 1992)

The expectations are pretty high, coz this is a super group! Their names are known by every rock music fan, Hardline is: Neil Schon (g), Johnny Gioeli (voc), Joey Gioeli (g), Deen Castronova (dr) and Todd Jensen (bs)! Not necessary to introduce them or to talk about their abilities.

Starting with drums they kick off the album with Life's A Bitch. The song is a real heavy rocker which grooves and is catchy. Most of the songs are written by Mr. Schon and the Gioeli brothers, but they got a helping hand from known song writers as well. Songs like Dr. Love, Everything and Takin' Me Down bewitch the listener when you first listen to. Pounding drums and hammering bass starts Bad Taste and make you move. With 31-91 they have an instrumental on the album which is special and makes you want more!

But outstanding is Hot Cherie which is the first single and video clip. That song rocks! Most songs are mid-tempo ones, but they have slower tunes and ballads like Change Of Heart and Can't find My Way. But they are best when they rock, Johnny Gioeli's voice has a lot of power and so fits better to the rocking tracks.

That the record company didn't try to save money by hiring a no-name producer or send them to cheap recording studios, they sent this bunch of musicians to the best studios around. The album is produced by Neil Schon, but he got assistance by Tony Philips, so it's no surprise that the album sounds great.

9 stars

Claudia Ehrhardt


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