July 12, 2021

Another name that needs either minimal or even no introduction is the American melodic rock band Hardline, a truly wonderful AOR band and another that consistently delivers classic hard rocking AOR albums. They hit the ground running in 1991 with a truly stellar line-up including the Gioeli brothers, Neal Schon, Todd Jensen and Deen Castronovo but then had to contend with new line-ups, break-ups and all sorts of issues but they always delivered perfectly formed rock albums. It is only in the last decade that they have finally settled down and had something approaching a consistent musical output.

These days vocalist Johnny Gioeli remains the bands only original member but his voice is so integral to the Hardline sound that the band remains a viable vehicle whilst he remains involved; a Hardline without Johnny Gioeli is frankly an impossible proposition to even consider. Indeed, the band has now kept the same line-up since 2018 and this is the same team that produced Life in 2019 and the live album Life Live in 2020. So, the band remains as Johnny Gioeli on lead vocals, Alessandro Del Vecchio on keyboards and backing vocals, Mario Percudani on guitars, Anna Portalupi on bass with Marco Di Salvia on drums and what a tight unit they have become.

As with Life previously the band deliver their brand of melodic rock with a really sharp edge that could almost cut glass with guitar, keyboards, bass and drums all combining to give the power needed but never threatening to overshadow the main selling point which is the voice of Johnny Gioeli which is as strong and potent now as it was way back in 1991. I do not normally pick out the singles that are released to promote albums but Fuel To A Fire is a barnstorming rocker that perfectly sums up this new album with Gioeli in imperious form and some truly killer guitar work form Mario Percudani; to hear the single is to want the album so a job well done there and what a way to open the album. What I have always admired bout Hardline is that it is ostensibly a melodic rock band but it has always pushed the envelope in the search for a new sound and have always preferred a grittier side to their AOR rather than the polished and super slick sound that some others have gone for. You always get the impression that Hardline could be as metal as anything should the desire take hold and they are the masters of hard, cutting AOR. There are enough riffs and solos here to satisfy any metal fan but it is delivered with style, class and plenty of melody.

Superb vocal harmonies and a real passion ensure that Hardline remains at the top of the melodic rock tree and in Heart, Mind And Soul the band has produced another classic.

Heart Mind & Soul track list

  1. Fuel To The Fire (3:34)
  2. Surrender (4:21)
  3. If I Could I Would (4:26)
  4. Like That (3:50)
  5. Heavenly (6:47)
  6. Waiting For Your Fall (4:08)
  7. The Curse (4:12)
  8. Heartless (4:48)
  9. Searching For Grace (4:52)
  10. ’80s Moment (4:20)
  11. We Belong (4:17)