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Album Review :HARDLINE /LIFE

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HARDLINE are finally back with what I can best describe as one of the best bodies of work they have ever put their name to. Don’t be fooled into thinking this band perform in a glossed over shiny melodic rock style because this new album just rages with some up tempo classic sounding rock. Formed many years ago on the sunset strip HARDLINE have amassed some quality members over the years, with “Neal Schon” and “Deen Castronova” to name but two. A few years ago I found myself lucky enough to see them in concert and the one thing that struck me was the almost cult following from their hard core fans, With a current line up of 

JOHNNY GIOELI / Vocals

ANNA PORTALUPI / Bass

MARCO DI SALVIA / Drums

MARIO PERCUDANI / Guitar

ALESSANDRO DEL VECCHIO / Multi Instrumentalist, Production and Song writing.

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLPbMaQwh7Y&w=560&h=315]

So what does HARDLINE 2019 have in store ? Well if a simple kick drum intro with a wailing pissed off guitar forming the intro to opening song “ PLACE TO CALL HOME” sounds appealing then the next 3 minutes 34 seconds should be very satisfying. Hurtling along showing no compromise this is all about making a statement with “Mario Percudani” doing his best impression of a shred monster, with new drummer “Marco Di Salvia” pounding seven shades out of his kit.

“TAKE A CHANCE” is the first appearance of the typical HARDLINE chorus to which they have a reputation for, with “Johnny Gioeli” vocals belting it out and taking the song up a notch or two, this is such a cracking solid fist in the air start for the album with both tracks thundering out my speakers.

Track three, “HELIOS SUN” keeps the up tempo feel going with plenty of backing vocals and that AC/DC vibe of gaps in the music between the drums and the vocals, then dear me a 70s hammond organ appears to which the mighty and sadly missed “Jon Lord” would be proud of.

After such a hectic ball breaking opening 3 songs things slow down with “Page Of Your Life” with gentle piano intro and vocals sung with such feeling and emotion some ballads are cheesy some ballads are well constructed and just build and build, this thankfully falls into the latter statement and another guitar solo that is so outrageously soaring its almost knocking on the door of the international space station.

“HOLD ON TO RIGHT” with its slightly down tuned guitar sound is again just another head down foot stomper, such a solid sounding track with more fantastic vocals, then rather dramatically the song veers into a quiet vocal only mid section, then with thunder drums and another jaw dropping guitar solo its back up to the original head down tempo. Its fast getting to the point with this album that the listener has to brace themselves for the next guitar solo such is the talent of “Mario Percudani” and another highlight in the HARDLINE cannon.

“HANDFUL OF SAND” again a mid paced track with the band members holding back slightly to allow the vocals to take centre stage, a very simplistic refrained song but in its own way one of the best tracks to rear its head so far on this ever improving album. “THIS LOVE” the second slow burner on the album with additional power chords and gentle keys slowly pushes the song along with a chorus that BON JOVI would be proud of, proves that the softest gentle of ballads can still contain some gut heavy fret work, “THIS LOVE” deserves a diploma in song arrangement just flawless in my opinion.

“CHAMELEON” with its gentle southern sounding guitar plucking and rattlesnake sounding shaker introduces this riff laden number which winds itself up into a coil before solid drumming drives this mid paced rocker into a almost WHITE LION sounding effort and again those magical riffs keep upping the ante, the song has a really strange ending with the sound of a needle being scratched along a vinyl record which brings this second to last track to an abrupt head scratching climax.

“MY FRIEND” brings the new studio album to a fitting end. With gentle acoustic guitar and the solo voice of JOHNNY and some well placed soft backing vocals. Its all about trying to thank your friends for all the good they do in your life and what they mean to you, or at least thats how I understood it to be. The difference between this song and the foot on the monitor head down rockers the band do is the difference between night and day but that’s one of many reasons why this release works so well in my eyes. This year from FRONTIERS records we have had the some great releases from the likes of

“TONY HARNELL” and the wonderful “THE END MACHINE” well “HARDLINE” ( LIFE ) can now sit proudly alongside to form a amazing trilogy of top class hard rock releases. “HARDLINE” should be over the moon with this album and so should anyone that buys it, cracking stuff indeed.

TRACKLISTING
1. Place To Call Home
2. Take A Chance
3. Helio’s Sun
4. Page Of Your Life
5. Out Of Time
6. Hold On To Right
7. Handful Of Sand
8. This Love
9. Story Of My Life
10. Who Wants To Live Forever
11. Chameleon
12. My Friend
Review by Steve Bruty for metalplanetmusic
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