After the 1984 debut and sporadic live shows among their main job duties, the Norwegian musicians strike back with 11 new tracks brought to a new level thanks to a stellar production, placing themselves into a niche somewhere between AC/DC, Metallica, Rush, Motorhead and many other influences.
There're tracks where the music and the voice sound pretty similar to AC/DC and Brian Johnson ("Shout"), but on the other hand on this CD you find tighter, rawer and faster tunes, such as "Go to Waste". "Call My Name" is a perfect bridge between modern Hard rock and Pageian riffs, along with a torrid axe solo, whereas the title track touches Punk and Hardcore territories, showing the band can deal with diverse styles without cutting out poor figures.
Hardline, not to be confused with the younger yet more popular US homonymous outfit, also offer a ballad ("Still More Days"), which would ideally conclude the first side of the platter; the result is not bad at all.
To remind us AC/DC once again we have "Sweet Reverie", followed by "Caveman", a bit psychedelic, a tad Foo Fighters and System Of A Down, mesmerizing peak of the record under all aspects, along with "Days Of Supression", a sheer Metal song whose main riff is worth buying the CD. I strongly believe this is the path they should follow more steadily when writing new songs.
As for "Showdown" the Norses even end up playing Stoner metal with a Grunge melodic inclusion and a Blues Hard rock guitar solo, while "Times to Come" teaches how to write a whiskey dark ballad.
The track chosen to conclude the album, "Leave Your Home", is a pattern of Alternative modern Hard rock virtues, which sets ablaze on several occasions.
Not only Hard rock in these 11 tracks, and that's a bit surprising, for it seems they were all composed only by the guitarist; usually this brings homogeneousness in the fortunate cases, whereas the worst case scenario is repetition and flatness throughout the songs. That's why he deserves a further praise: some may like Hardline or not, others might like only a few songs, but you can bet they won't bore you at any moment!
MARKUS GANZHERRLICH - 20th January 2011