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  HARDLINE
'Danger Zone'
(Frontiers)
Release Date: 21st May 2012


Phil Kane

phil kane



hardline danger zone


Anyone who is even remotely into AOR or melodic rock should know about Hardline. The band's 1992 debut, 'Double Eclipse', is an absolute classic. Sadly lady luck did not grace the band with her favours, they did not gel long enough to take full advantage of their debut's excellence and so have remained pretty much unknown outside the right circles. Consequent albums proved nowhere near as good and 'Danger Zone' is unlikely to buck the trend.

That is not to say it does not deserve credit for trying. Album opener 'Fever Dreams' sets the scene pretty effectively with 'What I'd Like', 'The Only One', 'The Danger Zone' and 'I Don't Want To Break Away' rocking out but these are the exceptions rather than the rule and for the most part it is a case of steady as she goes.

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Hardline have managed to create a sound for themselves that is quite recognisable, almost unique even, especially with Johnny Gioeli's superb vocals. There are some fantastic performances here and the production is top drawer but the songs don't quite have the zip to seize you by the grits and though 'Danger Zone' is a real classy chunk of AOR, it politely asks for rather than demands your attention.

The problem for Hardline is that their debut set such a high benchmark that anything that followed was never going to match it without a drastic change of approach. 'Danger Zone' finds Hardline comfortable in its groove, making no effort to push the envelope even a little bit.

Yet the quality of Hardline's work remains such that lesser bands could, and probably have, built careers on their throwaways and castoffs as well as the contents of the edit room floor. The changes needed have never been made so whilst 'Danger Zone' is a cracking melodic rock/AOR album, it is not the absolute stone cold killer we are still waiting for.

14.5.12








 

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