Tag Archives: Deen Castronovo

HardLine/Double Eclipse(1992)

Let’s be honest here people I have hammered on this blog about  Neil Schon pretty hard for back in the day(1980s) Neil would always pump every Journey album as “Lot’s Of Guitar Rock”…Ummm Ok Fella but when I read that and went and bought Journey’s 1986’s Raised On Radio his guitar was so buried under Jon Cain’s Keyboards that I Raised My Hands and Gave Up!

Of course Schon took his trade and moved onto Bad English and Man don’t get me started on those Yahoo’s of Power Syrup Rock. Bad English to this day still haunt Tbone as Moi and Tbones Brothers will still take the occasional jab at him for this 1989 Purchase! If you look on the site here I reviewed the debut Bad English under the 3/4’s Filler Section…….

Well 1992 roll’s around and I read in I think it was Metal Edge Magazine that Neil Schon was back with a couple of Bro’s in a new band called HardLine and once again Schon was going on about how heavy the guitar was sounding and once again Deke drank from the Schon Kool Aide cup and …..

HOLLLLLEEEEEE Sheeeeeeeeeit! Schon did not lie! His guitar is jacked to the masses and here’s Ol Neil ramping up some heavy guitar in the  year of 1992 with all things Grunge going on musically. It  took all of 8 years to get his heavy guitar Rock n Roll Ball’s after that great H.S.A.S album he did with Sam Hagar back in 1984. Welcome Back ….

All songs written by Neal Schon, Johnny Gioeli and Joey Gioeli except where noted.

“Life’s a Bitch” – 4:22
“Dr. Love” (Mark Baker, Brian Connors, Mike Slamer) – 5:31
“Love Leads the Way”- 4:04 (bonus track for Japanese release of the album only)
“Rhythm from a Red Car” – 3:40
“Change of Heart” – 4:42
“Everything” (Schon, Gioeli, Gioeli, Eddie Money, Jonathan Cain, Tony Marty, Mark Tanner) – 3:55
“Takin’ Me Down” – 3:34
“Hot Cherie” (Randy Bishop, Daryl Gutheil, Jeffrey Neill, Kenneth Shields, Kenneth Sinnaeve) – 4:47
“Bad Taste” – 4:23
“Can’t Find My Way” – 5:28
“I’ll Be There” (Schon, Gioeli, Gioeli, Cain) – 4:36
“31-91” (Schon) – 1:33
“In the Hands of Time” – 6:18

Band members
Johnny Gioeli – lead vocals, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar, percussion
Neal Schon – lead guitar, rhythm guitar, catgut guitar, guitar synthesizer, backing vocals, producer
Joey Gioeli – rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Todd Jensen – bass, backing vocals
Deen Castronovo – drums, backing vocals

Double Eclipse is a real good no make that a pretty great album of Hard yet Melodic at times Rock that doesn’t even border on wimpy even with Jon Cain creeping on co writes on two tracks!

The album gets off to the get go with Life’s A Bitch( with Schons guitar tone sounding Heavvvvy) and Dr Love. Sure there are underlying sounds of the synth going on but first and foremost this is a Guitar Record! Plus the vocals of Johnny Gioeli  are tailor made for this kind of music! Dude has a good set of pipes and the performances of the other Cat’s on this record is excellent.

Below posted is a Radio Broadcast of these guys playing Dr Love. Great stuff…Schon plays some super duper lightening bolts of lick’s at the beginning of the track. Love the chorus so simple yet so Friggin catchy!

Rhythm From A Red Car is for my money down the best song on this album! Listen to Schon Folk’s he smokes the frets on this tune (blast the video posted)and even at the 2 minute 40 second mark or so he inner channels his best Angus Young and Jeeper’s Creeper’s now we are talking!

For all us Canucks out there Hardline cover StreetHeart’s Hot Cherie and there’s a fine mix of good hard (Takin Me Down/Bad Taste) with some not so hard rock but still good nevertheless(Everything and especially album closer In The Hands Of Time)

The musical climate at the time wasn’t kind to this album even though they got on as support for Van Halen’s Carnal Knowledge Tour(1992) still though an uphill struggle for all these guy’s and a few years later OL Neil took his guitar and hooked up with the reunited Journey and Neil’s guitar vanished into the Fog Of AOR Rock!

But for a brief time …….

SONIC WAVES….Revolution Saints/Revolution Saints

 

Who woulda thunk it that my first purchase of a new release from 2015 would be a band featuring a dude from Journey(Deen Castronovo) a fellow from Whitesnake(Doug Aldrich ) and a chap from one of Tbones 80s Guilty pleasures Nightranger(Jack Blades) .

One of my blog pals from Sweden Jon who writes his own great stuff at Festival and Music Guide gave these guys a 9/10 review of there debut. Too be honest  with ya’s the thought of put together bands with outside writers just wants to make me puke and I kinda alluded to this fact on Jons Facebook page.

Years past I have dabbled with supergroups and they have been a let down I mean one of the biggest musical car crashes was that Contraband band record from 1991! Remember that one on paper it looked good it had Micheal Schenker/Bobby Blotzer/Traci Guns/some chic from Vixen on bass and Richard Black a vocalist from a band called Shark Island(who were good) but man Contraband I bought and man what a pile of Vinyl Poo! Listened to It once and heaved it somewhere….Utter crapola!

Since I troll music sites daily like Blabbermouth and Bravewords I knew of Revolution Saints and seen as they were getting the press etc but I dunno I thought oh yeah here we go yada yada but Jon  said give it a try and his great review sold me on it so I preorderd it on iTunes and well …..good call Jon….this is a classic piece of well done AOR ROCK!

You Can Still Rock N America …..even if it’s 2015!

BACK ON MY TRAIL-this opener reminds me of a juiced up Nightranger track. It’s a fast rocker and well man the  question becomes apparent pretty quick why is Castronovo the Journey drummer and not the lead vocalist? My question is yeah he has some style reminiscent of Steve Perry but not a actual copycat of Perry! Who knows man but Deen has a smooth as silk AOR delivery and holy hell he can play some slick drums and of course with Jack Blades nailing down the 4 string and ok let’s talk about the guitar guy Doug Aldrich I guess he split from Whitesnake last year and he’s a great guitar player as it shows in this tune! Too be honest I guess he cowrote two Whitesnake records with Ol Dave Coverdale(Forevermore and Good To Be Bad) so the dude can hold his own but man he rips a pretty decent solo and so far track 1 is a winner !

TURN BACK TIME-Aldrich starts off with a nice opening riff and Deen and Jack share co lead vocals on this track! The other thing is if these guys ever go live there gonna have to drag a keyboard guy with them that’s for sure! Now I kinda get nauseated when I think of AOR and keyboards but these are mixed below Aldrichs guitar and for that SALUTE! This being a rock record I mean this thing is full of singles and this is another one for sure!

YOUR NOT ALONE- speaking of keys piano it is at the start of this track and well Arniel Pineda Yep the lead vocalist from Journey does the singing and I see why the record company wants to sell records so let’s bring in the current Journey vocalist! I get it I get it but man let The Saints forge there own identity and do it themselves but I don’t pay the bills so …. But seriously this is a great written track the chorus it breathes with Power chords and man Yep it’s not a balls out rocker but a good song here at Arena Rock is a good song! If this was 1990 this song woulda chugged easily into the top 10!

LOCKED OUT OF PARADISE-more straight ahead rock from The Saints! These guys Aldrich/Blades and Castronovo know the deal stick with what Ya know and it’s what they know which is there chops and the Aldrich pulls of some Van Halen Balance like playing! Love how the keyboard sounds like UFO like. Castronovo also plays some good drums on this record I mean the guy followed Steve Smith in Journey for Gods sake so he has to have it right ? Well I can say here he does! The solo is wickedly good here and man the solo and ending riff is deadly!  A  big boot of AOR up the back side!(currently my fav on here)

WAY TO THE SUN- this track features Deens boss from Journey and that’s Neil Schon. Hey and not since the fantastic Hardline Total Eclipse album of 1992 that Schon was on can I hear him rock the guitar! Geezus he still has it! Now this is the Neil Schon I wanna hear! Not the watered down sap a roo mix job that is done on Journey releases! This is a epic track that has all the trimming of late 70s early 80s Pomp Rock! Acoustic guitar/electric guitar/keys/Drums/Huge vocals! It’s all hear it’s basically wrapped in a package tighter than a Snickers Chocolate Bar!

DREAM ON- big time happy go lucky driving song I mean these are feel good tunes! This one is tailored made for radio! Man I hear Styx in this tune if Styx was playing at 190 mphs! Big chorus and the Saints know the deal. Don’t bore us get to the chorus and oh yeah the Aldrich solo! He steps up and drives the song and man the cat knows his deal don’t solo forever keeping it short and simple is no big deal!

DONT WALK AWAY- piano and man this song is good the verse is mellow and the song well this is a power ballad and so the chorus amps up a bit and the solo is smoking good…

HERE FOREVER- piano once again starts this song and it has more oomph than Don’t Walk Away but I think I woulda kept these two apart(my gripe) but still it’s good! I mean once again it’s down to the guitaring …

STRANGERS TO THIS LIFE- back to AOR Rock! The pre chorus is good,love the use of the Hammond organ on some of these tunes. I hear Whitesnake 1987 style in this tune and no not Slip Of The Tongue Whitesnake ….Geez seriously I guess I had to note that to my friends (readers out there)out there.

BETTER WORLD- umm you might think I’m on something but a part of this I hear Ozzys Shot In The Dark in the  chorus. The song shifts speeds and piano plays a part I mean it’s commercial Rock! I still can’t get that few bars of Shot  In The Dark out of my noggin! Hahahaha….great solo….shit man Aldrich is taking this record and carrying it on his shoulders to keep the hard rocker in me happy! Bravo Dougie boy!

HOW TO MEND A BROKEN HEART- cool rocker of a track! Deener pounds the skins and the vocals and this song will go over live well. The band is firing on its cylinders here. Man I guess I gotta give some props to Jack Blades as he carries the bottom end through out the record,knows his place and doesn’t overplay but than again if he did Aldrich would drown him out!

IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER(Fernandos Song) -piano once again paces this track and it’s a power ballad but Deen drives the tune forward with his drums (thanks a bunch) and it’s a fitting finale to a rock record.

IN CONCLUSION-ha…this is a very good record! I purposely tried to stay away from Journeyisms on this review and why not these guys should be commended for doing there own deal and if they could have have kept the two Journey handlers off this record it would have been better but like I said it’s about paying bills! Doug Aldrich holy shit the guys playing on here is just plain awesome! He plays at speeds when he has to,and can slow down when he has to! In other word he plays to the song and  not all over the fuckin place to make it a shred fest to give this old man(me) a headache!

Kudos to Aldrich/Castronovo and Blades and Jon for reviewing it!(good job chap)…..