Album review: HARDLINE – Human Nature

HARDLINE – Human Nature

Frontiers Records [Release date 04.10.16]

Former super-group Hardline return with their 5th studio album “Human Nature” following on from 2012’s “Danger Zone”.

Vocalist Johnny Gioeli and brother Joey formed Hardline on LA’s sunset strip back in 1991 and they found fame with debut album “Double Eclipse” partly, I’m sure, through the presence of the mighty Neal Schon. In took another 10 years before the follow up, the imaginatively named “II”, was released featuring The Storm guitarist Josh Ramos (a band also featuring former Journey members).

Joey left in 2003 leaving only Johnny to carry on. “Human Nature” features the aforementioned Johnny Gioeli and Josh Ramos together with Italian keyboard maestro Alessandro Del Vecchio, bassist Anna Portalupi and Primal Fear drummer Francesco Jovino.

“Human Nature” kicks off with the catchy Where Will We Go which highlights the quality of Johnny’s vocals. Nobody’s Fool follows with its classic, if a little dated, hard rock sound bringing mid 1980’s Whitesnake to mind.

Title track Human Nature is a superb power ballad which has echoes of Damn Yankee’s High Enough. Muddy Waters is, as you might expect, a bluesy rocker (a la recent Europe output) which improves with repeated listens.

Take You Home is the album’s solitary ballad with Johnny’s vocals only backed by a piano. Simple but effective. Where the North Wind Blows oozes quality even though it could be by any number of melodic rock bands.

Closer Fighting the Battle starts with some heavy riffing but leads onto a very non-descript first verse…but fortunately things then improve and the rest of the number cannot be faulted.

Production is crystal clear and the cover artwork is cool depicting the Earth in an environmental Yin and Yang nightmare scenario.

A quality release if a little generic in places…and Johnny’s vocals are as powerful as ever.  ****

Review by Phil Berisford

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