Melodic masters Hardline are back with a brand-new studio album ‘Life’. Drawing influences from 1992’s ‘Double Eclipse’ and the more recent ‘Human Nature ‘and from the energy of their live shows across Europe and the UK, this new album allows new members Di Salvia and Percudani to offer up their abilities and help this album to shine as brightly, if not brighter than the last.
The album is like a recipe book for how to construct successful melodic hard rock. Each track has a smattering of guitar solos and spectacular riffs, a dose of catchy choruses, layers of vocals, heaps of key changes in just the right places, but each song is varied enough to have its own identity and the album doesn’t become boring.
There are a few stand out tracks like ‘Place to Call Home’ with its hard and heavy opening, there is a wall of sound that just grows, layers of riffs, keys, and a powerful expressive vocal. ‘Take A Chance’ launches in with an explosive riff but a more bluesy vocal, still packed with power but a lovely swagger to it. A key change heralds the chorus and it’s a cracking one at that. Back to the hard-melodic vibes with ‘Helio’s Sun’, a scorcher of a track. The energy flooding out through the music and into your ear canals.
‘Page of Your Life’ steadies the pace, the simple piano opening allowing Gioeli’s voice to demonstrate its pure melody. ‘Out Of Time’ brings back the density of the hard rock. No doubting the song-writing ability of all involved, the complexity of the layers of music and the way the lyrics are woven into the music. I love the snarling aggression of the guitars on ‘Hold on to Right’. Another earworm of a chorus too, tempo changes and some seriously huge tub-thumping support the soaring guitar solo.
The rumbling bassline of ‘Handful Of Sand’ adds to the party going on in my ears along with the dirty sounding riffs. ‘This Love’ is the ballad on the album, I was waiting for one and here it is, it’s got a smoothness to the lyrics and melody, power-packed thudding and guitar riffage bring through the chorus, a perfect recipe and one I’m more than satisfied with. Galaxy reaching guitar solos and the emotion Gioeli packs into the vocal gave me goosebumps. I do like a big power ballad!
‘Story of My Life’ cranks up the aggression from the guitars, keys filling out the sound and another cracking vocal. Covers of songs don’t always tick the boxes for me especially when it’s the iconic Queen song ‘Who Wants To Live Forever’ – dangerous territory but this is a ‘no-nonsense Johnny singing his head off to a song he seems to genuinely get’ cover. It’s a very emotional song and I am almost relieved to say, one which the band have done justice too.
‘Chameleon’ is rich in blues vibes, twanging guitars, elevating itself in the power stakes but retaining the layers of richness. The last song, ‘My Friend’ brings in the softer side of the band to close what has been an exceptionally good album.
It’s most definitely harder and heavier than the bands previous offerings but a bands evolution and the inclusion of new blood should have that effect. Another very well produced album and I am looking forward to catching the band on their tour later in 2019.
Alessandro Del Vecchio
Marco Di Salvia
Hardline – ‘Life’ is out now via Frontiers SRL.