If you've been a fan of melodic rock/AOR (arena oriented rock) you would have had to be hiding under a rock to not have heard Hardline. We are now at the 20th anniversary of their amazing debut release Double Eclipse, a benchmark in the melodic rock genre. The problem Hardline has been facing is with having such an outstanding freshman release all their future work will continue to be judged by it. But I say Double Eclipse is one of the best albums ever recorded in the history of music so take it easy on comparing their other work to that gold standard.
With every album so far we've seen a new lineup for Hardline. The only remaining original member is the amazing front man Johnny Gioeli. His strong, passionate vocals ARE Hardline, so don't worry about them losing their mojo. All four Hardline albums have the same vein of passionate melodic rock though they each have a slightly different "flavor" if you will.
Double Eclipse - 1992: An unbelievable album full of unforgettable songs, super addictive hooks, and amazing drumming (thanks Deen!). The lusciously layered, expertly produced sound on this recording is out of this world.
II - 2002: A strong release with more catchy guitar driven songs, some heavy stuff (Y & Hold Me Down), some lighter stuff (This Gift, Only a Night), and a powerful ballad "Face the Night". A very underrated album due to its comparison with Double Eclipse.
Leaving the End Open - 2009: The long awaited 3rd album comes with some great ballads (In This Moment, Start Again), some light rockers (Falling Free), and more solid Hardline rock. A strong album and very welcome addition to the Hardline canon.
Danger Zone - 2012: Here we have some great fun rocking through well-crafted, hook heavy melodic rock! Hardline delivers once again!
Danger Zone is all Hardline but a whole new lineup for the band gives an exciting new flavor for this outing. I mean, it's still Hardline, and I rejoice at this fact. Much credit should be given to Johnny Gioeli & to Frontiers Records President Serafino Perugino for keeping Hardline alive.
Strong songwriting; check. Catchy choruses; check. Well-crafted lyrics; check. Solid musicianship; check.
"Fever Dreams" kicks things off with a really catchy chorus and nicely done keys.
"Ten Thousand Reasons" is a solid relationship commentary song that is about the pain that some relationships can bring.
"Danger Zone" is a heavy, groovy, kickin' track that I really love.
"What I'd Like" gives us some more fun including a nice guitar solo.
"Stronger Than Me" Here we are treated to an excellent ballad.
"Never Too Late for Love" is also a memorable light rocker (sounds like it could be featured in a movie).
When I heard "Stay" kick off with that catchy kick drum and guitar I knew I was in for a treat. This one features a captivating chorus taking us through a journey of love.
"I Don't Wanna Break Away" is guitar/keys pulsating throughout with affable, head nodding rhythm.
"Look at You Now" is a slower grooving track that features rich keyboards and a really good vibe going on.
"Please Have Faith In Me" brings emotional lyrics together with delightful guitars and keys.
"Show Me Your Love" rocks along with crunchy guitars that, when it finally breaks into the chorus we hoped was coming, really endears itself to me.
"The Only One" closes out the album with a nicely paced rocker featuring some solid guitar work.
I have to say that when I saw Johnny had a whole new crew for this one I was nervous but my fears were unfounded. All of the musicians are solid players and I'm glad to have them in the Hardline family. Nicely done boys (and girl)! You all rock!!!
Bottom Line: Danger Zone is an amazing melodic rock album that Hardline fans will love and deserves a good listen from any AOR fan.
*** Addition - 5/27/12 - Now that I've had a few more days to listen to this album I must say that it is amazing! This sounds much more like what I was hoping to hear as a follow up album to Double Eclipse. Excellent!!!