When Johnny Gioeli is part of a project, I take notice. In 1992, his band, Hardline, released one of the best metal albums of that era, in my opinion with “Double Eclipse”. If this had been released in the mid-80s, Hardline would have been a giant force in the MTV / radio era of metal. His vocals are absolutely perfect for a powerful metal voice, but he also has the gift of singing power ballads as well as anyone. He is also the current vocalist for Axel Rudi Pell who has released a string of albums that are all classics. His voice along with Pell’s guitar work make every album special. For this new album he has teamed up with original Hardline drummer Deen Castronovo. Castronovo is a great drummer and vocalist in his own right. His list of accomplishments is also long and distinguished. He has worked with Bad English, Hardline, Journey, Ozzy and more recently Revolution Saints and The Dead Daisies.
It is great that they have teamed up on the new album Gioeli-Castronovo’s “Set the World on Fire”. The album begins with the title track which takes no prisoners. The song starts out with some blistering guitar provided by Mario Percudani. Gioeli’s vocals start in with smooth perfection. The way he accents his voice at the end of a verse is magical and really sets him apart. You hear this in every band he has ever sung for. The chorus is perfect and now the song has you hooked. This would be a song of the year candidate back in the mid to late 1980s. A great guitar solo by Percudani fits perfectly into the song. The drumming by Castronovo is unrelenting and carries the pace of the song well. Needless to say, after one song I am completely mesmerized.
Next up we get our first power ballad Through. We have some nice mellow guitar to start the song with Gioeli delivering his sweet ballad voice. The chorus really kicks it up a notch, before falling back into the ballad style. The rasp in Gioeli’s voice can be heard throughout the song. What I really like about this song is how the chorus really kicks this song up a notch, while a lot of the verses are very mellow. The song really takes you on a great ride. A lot of the songs follow this style where they are a little mellow, but really kick it up on the choruses. We also get a lot of great guitar solos and riffs throughout the album by Percudani.
Another highlight on the album to me was Fall Like an Angel. This has a nice keyboard intro by Alessandro Del Vecchio who is quite an amazing musician in his own right. This song is classic metal at its best! Great guitar and keyboard work, incredible chorus, and the backing vocals are well done. This is a song I always listen to twice when I am enjoying the album. Another great melodic, but edgy guitar solo is perfectly done in this song. There needs to be more hard rock / metal like this being released. The final verse of the song, Gioeli really unleashes that power voice he has to hammer home the end of the song.
It’s All About You is the pure 80s metal ballad. A great piano intro that leads into Gioeli laying down the perfect soft vocals. This is an easy song to sing along to and it really takes you back to all the classic ballads of the 80s. The song even has that awesome blazing guitar solo you would find from ballads of that era. The song does pick up the pace after the solo but stays true to being a ballad. Another great solo takes us even higher and then the song finishes off very softly to end the perfect ballad.
The song Ride of Your Life features Castronovo on vocals and I love the variety it adds to the album by having two talented singers. We have another fantastic piano opening to this song. Castronovo’s vocals have a nice warmth to them. When he holds a note at the end of a verse you can really feel it. This song continues the theme of great choruses found throughout the whole album. This song definitely has a different feel to it but is a great addition to the album.
Another rocker on the album is Run For Your Life. The chugging guitar in the background gives this song its harder edge. The backing vocals in this song are well done, and really accent Gioeli’s vocals. The song has a nice flow to it and is done very well. More awesome guitar work with a heavier solo accompanies this song. It is hard to describe, but this song just feels good. It ends with some interesting keyboard sounds.
After listening to this album several times, I am hooked. You get twelve songs and forty-eight minutes of great music. It is amazing to me that Gioeli fronts Hardline, Axel Rudi Pell and Gioeli-Castronovo, but all three bands have very different sounds. That is quite an achievement. This album is a little more mellow and I would classify it as hard rock, but it is a great album. The quality of production, writing, and the musicianship on this album makes it special. If you are into this kind of music, this album is a must have. You will get a ton of listening enjoyment out of it. I know for certain I will.
Pre-order your copy HERE.