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Heart Line - Back in the Game Award winner

Heart Line
Back in the Game
by Leanne "Metal Maiden" Evans at 23 January 2022, 8:28 PM

Created by French guitarist and Producer Yvan Guillevic (YGAS, PYG, United Guitars), and with the help of active members of the French rock scene, HEART LINE is the new kid on the block and a true melodic rock AOR paradise. Drawing inspiration from 80’s heavyweights JOURNEY, FOREIGNER, WINGER and WHITESNAKE – to name a few – HEART LINE have created an enticing collection of easy-listening tracks, in the debut album, “Back in the Game”. Laden with smooth vocals, heroic guitar solos and soaring keyboard melodies, this album is everything your AOR heart could possibly desire, with every aspect of the AOR formula satisfied AND some.

From the opening track, “Fighting to Live”, you instantly hear Emmanuel’s syrupy tones and are drawn into the bygone days of the 80’s arena of AOR pleasure. The intoxicating mix of the light and airy, to the punchy and powerful bring a BON JOVI “Slippery When Wet” era feel, which continues into the soaring “One Night in Paradise”, intertwined with Yvan’s meaty guitar work, but softened with plenty of melody.  Every track on “Back in the Game” is oozing with 80’s glitz and swagger, especially with the cliché key changes in “Hold On”, drenched in powerfully projected vocals, Emmanuel achieving inhuman range as effortlessly as the likes of Steve Perry. Man alive, the first section of the album packs a punch!

The likes of “I’m in Heaven” pumps hard with its upbeat tempo and acts as the beating heart to the album, with “On Fire” delivering the same delicious 80’s bite and core components of belting vocals, well-timed keys, irresistible licks and sexy shredding. But it’s the title-track that encompasses everything you come to hope and expect from your AOR. “Back in the Game” is backboned by tight drum work that doesn’t overpower, with plenty of hooks and a very infectious chorus. In fact, you could say that HEART LINE perfect catchy, hooky AOR, much like in the vein of FOREIGNER and JOURNEY, bands that are also renowned for nailing a bloody good ballad, too. In true AOR style, HEART LINE delivers a SURVIVOR meets DANGER DANGER feeling ballad in the form of “Once in a Lifetime”, quite the ‘bedroom’ track.

The final section of “Back in the Game” serves nothing short of powerful, full-frontal tracks that get your heart racing and blood pumping. The SCORPIONS sounding “Fire Dance” makes for a cat-and-mouse playful cut that seamlessly transitions into the equally rambunctious “Stranger in the Night”. But it’s “In the City”, a cut that could easily be straight from WHITESNAKE’s catalogue, that really defines the homage to classic AOR in “Back in the Game”. The dialled down silky smoothness, coupled with Emmanuel’s noticeably softer vocals, the playful tinkering keys and Yvan’s steamy guitar interludes, will get you hot under the collar and thirsting for more.

“Back in the Game” is a collection of eleven-tracks of the heartsore, the longing and potently powerful, all perfectly shrouded in melodic keyboard musings, muscular shred work and mellifluous vocals. The crisp, clean and polished production enhances each note and every chord to cherubic level, epitomising hard rocking 80’s AOR, additionally injected with a contemporary vibe that complements this outstanding release. The infectious hooks, killer choruses and weighty guitar work are just a few of many reasons to immerse yourself in HEART LINE’s magnificent debut full-length. If AOR is your jam, you need this slice of heaven in your collection.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Fighting to Live
2. One Night in Paradise
3. Hold On
4. I’m in Heaven
5. On Fire
6. Back in the Game
7. Once in a Lifetime
8. Fire Dance
9. Stranger in the Night
10. In the City
11. I long to Rise
Lineup:
Emmanuel Creis – Vocals
Yvan Guillevic – Guitars
Jorris Guilbaud – Keys
Dominique Braud – Bass
Walter Francais - Drums
Record Label: Pride and Joy Music
     


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