Review Summary: YOU'RE HOT. CHERIIIEEE!1 of 1 thought this review was well written
Ah, 1992. A decade of radio airplay. Right in the middle of the Mainstream Rock Charts and numerous chart-topping hard rock albums, in comes Hardline, a stuck-in-the-middle band formed by brothers Johnny and Joey Gioeli (both of which have now raised to astounding success), just trying to make it big, like every other band. The brothers contacted Neal Schon of Journey, ex-Sequel bassist Todd Jenson, and Deen Costronavo.
Double Eclipse was recorded from September 1991 to February 1992, then mixing and mastering finished in April of 1992. The album was a surprising change from the glam and hip hop genre back in the days, and was able to break through onto the Mainstream Rock Charts. It entered at #25 as its highest mark, eating up fourteen weeks at that position, and original release was #37, at a total of four weeks. Pirate Radio had played Hardline's debut constantly on their station before closing down. Double Eclipse is something of an extraordinary album, because of the underrated nature of it all.
Let's start with this: Johnny Gioeli, alone, is worth buying the album. Gioeli's voice echoes through with insane bursts of maturity and a low pitch that tweaks on through the audio tracks, and is absolutely breathtaking. Gioeli sounds great in every track: and keeps up this superb vocal range throughout the entire 12-track LP. The guitar playing is excellent, Schon keeps the melodies and tempos gliding along through the songs. Joey Gioeli is mindlessly good on a rhythm guitar: and keeps the echoing audio moving.
The lyrics are also a high point, though they are cheesy as hell. It never truly does reach the tedious mark, but they tend to follow a mark: like the thunderous tempo over lyrics about love in "Dr. Love" and "Hot Cherie", the excellent "31-91" instrumental from the extraordinary Neal Schon, a surprisingly eerie lyrical flow over a great drum beat in "Takin' Me Down", creating an almost gritty atmosphere for it over the guitar lines. "In The Hands of Time" could be Hardline's best song, period, starting with a heartwarming acoustic intro, following with a calming drum beat and a serenading, freely calm pitch from Gioeli's amazing voice, wailing into the microphone "Day after day I won't walk away from this dreeeeeam of mineeeee / It's in The Haaaaaaaaaaaandssssss of Tiiiiiime...", then kicks off with an explosive solo from Schon. Absolutely
The disadvantages this debut has are very little. Beats tend to get a little rhythmic and alike after a while, such as in songs like "Rhythm From A Red Car", and it tends to annoy the mind at times. And there's at least one or two songs in this album you could pick away out of the deck of cards, and it would be fine without them, next to the juggernauts this underrated album presents. This could be one of the greatest debuts from a band that nobody knows about, and one of the best period. Could it be better? Yes. It very much could be. But the ambitions and expectations this album set were high: a great escape from glam metal and hip hop. And sure enough, it succeeds. This album also set a high note for each of the band members: it consumed Schon with solo works and greetings from other bands. The Gioeli brothers set a high underground and radio reputation, which would later get Johnny into Axel Rudi Pell, and get Jun Senoue's attention for Crush 40. The album was named after a rare event that happens every 20,000 years. Is this album that exactly? No, but pretty damn close. Highly recommended.
Hot Cherie (#25 on Mainstream Rock Charts)
Takin' Me Down (#37 on Mainstream Rock Charts)
In The Hands of Time
For Schon fans
Axel Rudi Pell - Kings and Queens
Hardline - Live at the Gods