Hardline keeps on coming up with brand new albums in regular time frames at least in the past 12 years. All these albums have one basic thing in common: you may enjoy them but in no way can be regarded as exceptional records that can go shoulder to shoulder with their seminal album of 1992. In addition, since those days and the line-up of “Double Eclipse”, only Johnny Gioeli carries the Hardline flag and I guess that’s something that had played a crucial role in the overall development and evolution of the band. But let’s see what “Heart, Mind and Soul” had in store for us…
For starters, I never hid through the years my disappointment of Alessandro Del Vecchio’s constant presence in all those Frontiers projects/releases. Yes, he is the in-house producer/composer and all-around guy but this is exactly the reason why almost all the Frontiers releases sound exactly the same. Hardline is not an exception to that rule. Truth be told here; there are some good songs on the album (eg. Waiting For Your Call, “Like That”) and Gioeli is once again phenomenal behind the mic. Nevertheless, what we are getting here is a bunch of good songs but the overall production is flat, sterile and quite honestly generic thus the songs don’t get a fair chance.
All in all, I believe that “Heart, Mind and Soul” is a decent album but I don’t think that will stir any buzz whatsoever. That’s too bad given Gioeli’s undisputed vocal qualities.
Highlight: Gioeli’s overall stage presence aura and persistence.