Best Metal buddy Scott Coverdale landed me another album, that flew under my Hard Rock radar many years ago. Here is how the phone conversation went, (after many, many moments of trying to guess what band Scott was quizzing me on): Dude, have you ever heard of Hardline? Neal Schon, man! Whoa… this band Rocks! This is one unbelievable album! The praise Hardline - Double Eclipse was getting from Scott went on and on. I don’t recall one microscopic fault that Scott could find with this album. Some excitable F bombs were probably dropped around in his praise as well, from what I recall. Metal truth be told, I informed Scott that I vaguely remember the Gioeli brothers being involved in a band… however, I never listened to them, ever. Connecting Neal Schon to Hardline was not in my Metal memory… that is why Scott is a Metal Odyssey – Metal Researcher. (I remember vividly Neal Schon being a key member of HSAS, with Sammy Hagar, back in ’84. I always liked the HSAS album Through The Fire a whole lot. Throw in the Metal facts that I revere Neal Schon for his accomplishments as a Rock/Hard Rock guitarist and my adoration for Journey, (and not all the Journey ballads)… well, Hardline – Double Eclipse needed to be finally heard by me!!
I do agree with Scott that Double Eclipse is a great album, it has many hard and heavy moments. I do differ on one key musical aspect of Double Eclipse… the ballads. Oh, they are present… oh yeah. Can’t Find My Way is as annoying to me as a long line at the gas pumps. Lead vocalist Johnny Gioeli is fabulous on Double Eclipse, it’s just that dreaded sappy emotion of Can’t Find My Way that ruins it for me. I’ll Be There is much more upbeat, both with the believably emotional vocals of Johnny Gioeli and the up-tempo of the entire song. Still, it’s a ballad. Change Of Heart brings on that love is in the air feeling… ugh. Understand, I have never embraced ballads in Hard Rock and Heavy Metal my entire life… I am very finicky about them. Ballads have their place… only why interrupt the Hard Rock flow of an album with them? Bad Taste rocks the F’n house down… and it is a song right before Can’t Find My Way! I got all pumped up, psyched out, only to get bummed out immediately after with sappy silliness.
Alright, enough with ballads, why I despise most of them and onward with the songs on Double Eclipse – that rage with the hard and heavy! Takin’ Me Down, (see music video below), takes me down a Hard Rock colliding with Heavy Metal path that I don’t mind taking. Neal Schon is scorching on guitar throughout the non-ballads of Double Eclipse, he really takes it to the top on Takin’ Me Down. The vintage guitar tone of Neal Schon never screams louder than on Hot Cherie… just a damn great Hard Rock song. Everything is a song that sounds like a ballad that was modified to become a more edgier and harder song at the very end, a memorable song for my anti-ballad ears.
Life’s A Bitch, Dr. Love and Rhythm From A Red Car are the first three songs on Double Eclipse, it’s a shame that the entire album could not have followed the Hard and Heavy blueprint of them. These first three songs are what Hard Rock meshing with Heavy Metal is all about! At the end of my Metal day, I will listen to Double Eclipse again… and again. My personal distaste for ballads is just that… personal. I will state, that the ballads heard on Double Eclipse are fantastic for what they are, especially if you are into Rock/Hard Rock ballads!
Just because the ballads heard on Double Eclipse don’t move me, does not mean that they should never be praised or enjoyed by others. Across the Metal board, the credibility in the vocals of Johnny Gioeli and the musicianship of each member of Hardline cannot be ignored or disputed. Johnny Gioeli has the quintessential Hard Rock meets Heavy Metal vocals… a standout singer who really seems to feel the songs, something I find most admirable. This 1992 debut album from Hardline holds strong Hard Rock relevance to what’s currently being created in 2010 and arguably better than a noticeable percentage of current Rock/Hard Rock today… ballads included.
Here is the music video for Takin’ Me Down… it’s pretty darn cool, despite the visual being a tad fuzzy:
Hardline – Double Eclipse was released on April 28, 1992, on MCA Records.
Hardline, as they appeared on their debut album – Double Eclipse:
Johnny Gioeli - lead vocalist
Neal Schon – lead guitar
Joey Gioeli – rhythm guitar
Todd Jensen – bass guitar
Deen Castronovo – drums
Track Listing For Hardline – Double Eclipse:
Life’s A Bitch
Rhythm From A Red Car
Change Of Heart
Takin’ Me Down
Can’t Find My Way
I’ll Be There
31-91 (Metal Odyssey note: an acoustic guitar instrumental – very mellow, yet good)
In The Hands Of Time