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Hardline – Hardline II

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Hardline II
Hardline

(Frontiers)

Releases do not come more anticipated than this one. Disappearing after their acclaimed debut, the band are finally back with the follow-up a decade later, and it was worth the wait. Having seen their headline show at this year’s GODs show, it was fairly obvious they still had it. This is not a radical departure from their debut, just a bit of modern tweaking, the opening track being the most “modern” one on here. It rocks hard and provides a great intro to a damn good album that gets better with each listen. Like any decent hard rock album it has all the elements you want and none of the ones that annoy. There is no filler and no lame rap-rock, just straight ahead melodic rock. I might be overstepping here, but I think HII is actually a more solid effort than even their first. Take, for example, ‘Y’, a song where you are singing along to the chorus on your first listen, as you do with ‘Face the Night’. Face is a power-ballad in all its glory. Josh Ramos (Two Fires) does an excellent job in place of Neil Schon, who is now back in Journey. Schon plays on the final track ‘The Gift’. HII is certainly the come-back album of the year and could rival Def Lep’s X for melodic album of the year. I suspect both will be on my playlist for a long time to come. HII should be huge even in mainstream rock circles; arena rock at its best!

Marty Dodge 9

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