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Hardline - Leaving The End Open (CD)

Leaving The End Open
by Maria Kallinikou at 21 April 2009, 12:02 PM

HARDLINE, oh yes! With bands that have offered significant pieces in music generally, it is tough to look upon their new releases without connecting them somehow with the past. That is the 'curse' of every band, when an album - in the case of HARDLINE it's Double Eclipse - has been characterised as the cream of the crop, to do their best in order to set new limits or at least remain in the same line. But I do not know, this is music and not Olympics. I bet that this band needs no great introduction, so I will be just brief. After the earthshaking debut Double Eclipse in 1992, which was featuring members of BAD ENGLISH and JOURNEY, they were back in the saddle with II after a decade. Leaving The End Open now, with a few lineup changes, is their third studio album from Frontiers.

A nice melodic beginning is made with Voices. This track, with an interesting intro, could be perceived like a welcome song after all these years, great chorus, and I am glad to see that the vocals of Johnny Gioeli haven't changed through the years. Falling Free is, in a way, the Voices - pt II as it kind of continues in the same melody and tempo. Honestly, if you don't observe the player list there is no way to notice that it is another track.

Let's not forget that it's been 17 years since the first album and no matter what each of us may cry out for, it is hard to remain fully dedicated in the past line. Hence, this album has a lot of modern elements, including mainstream influences, which - though - are cohesive with the classic sound of the band. Hole In My Head and She Sleeps In Madness are some of the more intense examples. On the other hand, there are melodies that help you recall the good old times, like the ballad Start Again with its sweet guitar solo.

In This Moment is another ballad, with amazing keyboard work from Michael Ross, and together with Give In To This Love, which has a sleazy touch plus great rhythm guitars,  and Leaving The End Open, which has so much of BAD ENGLISH, are my personal favourites. Pieces Of Puzzles is a song with nice hook lines while Bittersweet combines updated sound with the past.

There are albums that win your positive opinion from the very start, and albums that need time. Leaving The End Open belongs to the second category, at least this is how it worked with me. Listening to it after a ten days break, I come to realise that it is a good album. Of course the band walks with the era, but they have kept all these elements that define HARDLINE. Leaving The End Open has everything in spades, rocking guitars, sweet melodies, is immaculately voiced and with a production that reaches a 10 out of 10 scale. I ought to mention the fictive cover here as well. It is a tight constructed album, it just needs time and you will surely love it.

4 Star Rating

Falling Free
Start Again
Pieces Of Puzzles
She Sleeps In Madness
In This Moment
Give In To This Love
Before This
Hole In My Head
Leaving The End Open
Johnny Gioeli - Vocals
Josh Ramos - Guitars
Michael T. Ross - Keyboards
Jamie Brown - Bass
Atma Anur - Drums
Record Label: Frontiers Records


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