Released: 2012, Frontiers Records
Hardline, especially on their debut album DOUBLE ECLIPSE, has always been considered something of a gold standard in melodic hard rock. The pairing of the Gioeli brothers and Journey axeman Neal Schon was a perfect match. Coming out in 1992 as they did, major success evaded them. In the 2000’s the band has stayed active, releasing both two more albums and a live disc, all of which were well-received by their fans. Here in 2012, Hardline is back with their fourth album, but of the original members, only extraordinary vocalist Johnny Gioeli remains.
For DANGER ZONE, Gioeli has paired up with a multi-national group of players, most notable of which is Alessandro Del Vecchio, who is responsible for the majority of the music. Fortunately, Del Vecchio grew up a fan of the band, so he knew exactly what type of music to write: classy guitar rock, smothered in melodies and keyboard washes. For the most part, the album is a smashing success and you’d never notice that, for example, Schon isn’t a part of it. Johnny Gioeli’s vocals are as powerful and passionate as ever, and the songs Del Vecchio has given him to sing on are classic Hardline, a nice mixture of the debut and the more grown up-sounding LEAVING THE END OPEN.
Although most of the songs are strong, the album ends with a quartet of tracks that are easily the best on the album. Indeed, “Show Me Your Love” and “The Only One” are rockers that could easily rival anything on DOUBLE ECLIPSE, while “Look At You Now” is a wistful semi-ballad that really allows Gioeli to shine.
Despite the lack of original members, fans can rest easy – DANGER ZONE is another damn good release from this long-running franchise, and easily lives up to the band’s considerable legacy.