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Live at the Gods 2002
Released: 2003, Frontiers Records
I missed out on Hardline the first time around, way back in 1992 when they released their highly acclaimed DOUBLE ECLIPSE. The band appeared right at the beginning of the grunge explosion and was lost amidst the tide of flannel. Skip ahead a decade and the band is back, still led by the brothers Gioeli, with a new record, simply titled II, and this energetic live album. So, how does Hardline stack up in anno 2003?
The first thing I noticed is that the mix on this album is hideous. The vocals completely overpower everything else, with the rhythm guitar and bass getting completely screwed. Thankfully Johnny Gioeli’s vocals are awesome, so I don’t mind that too much. Plus they made sure that Josh Ramos’ leads were perfectly audible, somewhat salvaging things. Another MAJOR problem is the absolutely atrocious backing vocals. I don’t know if it’s the band doing them or if they hired singers (it sounds like it) but they are by far the worst I’ve ever heard. In mean, they totally ruin “Face the Night”, despite Gioeli’s best efforts. Brutal stuff man, and not in that funny way either.
The last complaint I have concerns Johnny Gioeli’s stage raps. He comes off foul-mouthed and angry, without anything much to say. I mean, I know that it’s a rock show and meaningful raps have no place on the stage, but the pathetic audience reaction to his mention of the new album is truly sad. I don’t know, maybe it’s the bad mix.
Anyway, all of my previous bitching might have led you to believe that I don’t like this album. Nothing could be further from the truth! The songs themselves are flawless and rock as hard as ever. Had this disc come out in the mid-80s it would have gone double platinum with no trouble. Heavy, melodic, and extremely catchy, this stuff is great. The best sign though is that the new songs from II stand up just as well with the classic stuff from DOUBLE ECLIPSE. You can tell that the band loves the older stuff though, as they seem to play it with a fire that shows they mean business.
This is definitely a welcome return for Hardline, and a fairly good document of the band’s live prowess. Hopefully they’ll stick around this time and not take another decade to release a new album!
3)Life’s a Bitch
5)Face the Night
6)Takin’ Me Down
8)In the Hands of Time
9)Only a Night
10)I’ll Be There
12)Rhythm from a Red Car
15)Hypnotized (new studio track)
16)Only a Night (acoustic)
17)Mercy (new studio track)
Johnny Gioeli: Vocals
Joey Gioeli: Guitars
Josh Ramos: Guitars
Bob Burch: Bass
Michael Ross: Keyboards
Bob Rock: Drums
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