Hardline - Human Nature
"Hardline..... Isn't that the band from the early 90's with Neal Schon?"
I hear you out there.
This is the very same band, with the very same singer. The rest of the band lineup has changed, but to say it's any weaker would be a complete fib. In fact, this may be the strongest that Hardline has been since its inception.
Following the feel of the band's debut, Double Eclipse, Human Nature delivers a set of songs that has loads of movement and emotion. We find the band getting rough and tumble with songs like "Nobody's Fool," bluesy with "Trapped In Muddy Waters," and slow and passionate with "Take You Home." But, the common thread throughout all of these songs is the attention given to their melodic rock roots. No matter what angle they're coming from the melody remains supreme. Keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio is a key songwriter here, the keyboard player, and the producer. He is obviously responsible for a huge part of their sound. The band is rounded out by guitarist Josh Ramos (The Storm), bassist Anna Portalupi (Tarja), drummer Francesco Jovino (Primal Fear), and original singer Johnny Gioeli.
Singer Johnny Gioeli is one of the best rock singers out there, and he hasn't lost a step since '92. From the opening line of the leadoff track ("Where Do We Go From Here") he melds strength, range and emotion into each and every note. Imagine Jon Bon Jovi with testicles. The phrasing may be similar to Bon Jovi's in spots, but Gioeli's instrument is like a weapon of mass destruction. I hate to point you to the ballad on the album for reference, but Gioeli's performance on "Take You Home" is absolutely crushing. It's brute strength and emotion poured into a tender piano ballad; a combination that only a few can pull off, and he does it as good as anyone out there.
If you're hesitating on this one because of the lineup changes, do yourself a favor and go forward without fear. The band is just as strong as it was in '92, and the songwriting just might be superior to the debut. And, c'mon, it's on the Frontiers Records label, it's gotta be good.