HARDLINE – Human Nature
Johnny Gioeli balances his melodic hard rock work with Axel Rudi Pell and his roots of AOR/rock in Hardline. "Human Nature" is the fifth Hardline album, continuing forward with keyboardist/ producer Alessandro Del Vecchio and the same lineup from "Danger Zone" released in 2012. Vestiges of Aerosmith and Y&T come peeking through the bluesy melody choices from Johnny and deeper 70’s strains musically for "Nobody’s Fool", while "The World Is Falling Down" cranks up the Whitesnake charm. You have to love the little Dennis DeYoung/ Styx pomp keyboard action during the instrumental break for "Where the North Wind Blows"- possibly a tip of the cap to one of Alessandro’s influences.
Drummer Francesco Jovino propels the material to energetic heights due to his professional fill accents against robust back bone grooves, while guitarist Josh Ramos steps up when necessary to deliver that killer riff or lead break. The ballads tug at the heart strings, in a just world "Take You Home" would be a top 10 hit in heavy rotation, as it’s right in the vocal/piano sweet spot. We may not get Hardline records as often as we’d like (understandable given the hefty recording/touring schedules for many in the group), but "Human Nature" is a worthy successor to the last effort – and gives us 11 more songs to treasure.