Hot off the Press

Hardline | Danger Zone

by Nikiforos Skoumas
Staff Writer —

Hardline - Danger ZoneSince the release of their debut- Double Eclipse – in 1992 it took a good decade for the world to see a second Hardline album (II) and another seven years for a third one (Leaving the End Open); so clearly few would have expected a fourth Hardline album in such short notice.

What started as the hard rock vehicle of guitar legend Neil Schon in an attempt to explore a heavier style of melodic rock, has turned into the melodic hard rock outfit of singer Johnny Gioeli, the only original member since their debut. Guitar-hero Josh Ramos, a big part of the preceding two studio albums, is also out of the picture leaving Gioeli and Frontiers records to assemble a new Hardline line up.

Entering the line up are keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio and guitar wizard Thorsten Koehne both of the melodic metal band Eden’s Curse, plus girl bassist Anna Portalupi (formerly of Mitch Malloy) and drummer Francesco Jovino.

So, really, those familiar with the names mentioned above have every reason to be exited with this new offering, and their hopes are well rewarded from the opening notes of “Fever Dreams,” the very definition of arena rock songwriting followed by the melodic hard rocker “Ten Thousand Reasons” and the anthemic “What I’d Like”. Clearly with a title like Danger Zone one can not possibly expect anything other than a ‘80s oriented melodic holocaust and between Koehne’s melodic shredding, Jovino’s double bass-tom drumming and Gioeli’s extraordinary vocal performance, that’s what you get.

Danger Zone features a fair amount of external contributions in terms of songwriting (by such household names as Matti Alfonzetti, Daniel Flores and Chris Laney) while the majority of tracks are composed by Alessandro who also produces the album. So on that basis, the new Hardline album can not stand that far away musically from Eden’s Curse or Vecchio’s solo project Edge of Forever which is by no means a bad thing given that melody and attack have always been the essence of Hardline. What’s more? Gioeli and Vecchio are already planning a fifth album-by the looks of it the new Hardline is here to stay.

Genre: Melodic Hard Rock, Arena Rock

Line up:
Johnny Gioeli – vocals
Alessandro Del Vecchio – keyboards and backing vocals
Thorsten Koehne – guitars
Anna Portalupi – bass
Francesco Jovino – drums

Track List:
01. Fever Dreams
02. 10000 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 Wanna Break Away
09. Look At You Now
10. Please Have Faith In Me
11. Show Me Your Love
12. The Only One

Label: Frontier Records

Hardrock Haven rating: 8.5/10