July 9, 2018 Gioeli-Castronovo – Set The World On Fire (Album Review)
A bond in music is a union which lasts forever, and Rock soldiers Vocalist Johnny Gioeli and Drummer/Vocalist Deen Castronovo prove reuniting after 25 years apart has only strengthened the links of friendship between these two phenomenally talented musicians. No strangers to the game, the duo are best known for playing vital roles in the early ’90s Hard Rock band Hardline. In the blink of an eye, two and a half decades have flown by since Johnny and Deen last performed together on Hardline’s 1992 debut Double Eclipse. A humble rebirth, the guys reconvened in 2017 to form Gioeli-Castronovo, a commanding Arena Rock project all their own. A prideful showing, Gioeli-Castronovo are on cloud nine to announce their debut album, Set The World On Fire, is slated for release on Friday, July 13, 2018, via Frontiers Music s.r.l.
It is not enough to simply listen to Set The World On Fire to know who Gioeli and Castronovo are as a band or as individuals. So, for Rock fans who are unfamiliar with the road both men have traveled to reach this moment in time, let us get acquainted with these veteran musicians. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Johnny Gioeli is a stunning vocalist who formed Hardline in 1992 alongside virtuoso guitarist Neal Schon of Journey, and of course, Deen Castronovo. As Hardline, a 1980’s style Arena Rock outfit, debuted at the onset of the 1990’s Grunge era, the band’s aforementioned debut LP, Double Eclipse, saw moderate success. Though Hardline initially started laying the foundation for a sophomore album, the band sadly relinquished the project due to internal issues. After working outside of the music business for a few years, Gioeli returned to the scene in 1998 to join the band of German Guitarist Axel Rudi Pell. The right fit, Gioeli has been singing for Pell ever since while collaborating on other projects.
A new beginning, in 2002, Gioeli, the one original member, reformed Hardline with a new lineup. Later that year, Hardline released their second album, entitled II, followed-up by three more albums, 2009’s Leaving the End Open, 2012’s Danger Zone, and 2016’s Human Nature. To this day, Hardline continue to Rock the stage with Gioeli at the helm.
Practically Gioeli’s equal, from Westminster California, Deen Castronovo is an incredible vocalist who just so happens to be a thunderous drummer as well. Castronovo began playing drums at the age of 6, was the Vocalist/Drummer for early 1980’s Heavy Metal band Wild Dogs, and has played with everyone from Journey to Bad English. Well respected, Castronovo, whether as a session or touring musician, has gigged for major artists such as Steve Vai and Paul Rodgers. Hardworking, Castronovo is currently the drummer for two other bands, supergroup Revolution Saints – featuring Bassist Jack Blades (Night Ranger) and Guitarist Doug Aldrich (ex-Whitesnake) – as well as The Dead Daisies, alongside John Corabi (ex-Mötley Crüe, Union).
Shooting for the stars, Gioeli-Castronovo renewed their musical friendship in Italy to create Set The World On Fire alongside Guitarist Mario Percudani, Bassist Nik Mazzucconi, and, Set the World On Fire Producer, Keyboardist Alessandro Del Vecchio. An explosion of quintessential Rock melodies, reminiscent of Arena Rock icons Journey, Set The World On Fire embodies a keyboard-driven, bright, passionate sound, reflecting back to the 1980s and early 1990s. A prelude to their new endeavor, the first two singles, the dynamic call-to-action, “Set The World on Fire,” and an easy smash hit, “Through,” story everything about Johnny and Deen coming full circle.
Trying to understand, “Who I Am” is an uptempo ballad about discovering how well you know someone. Charismatic “Fall Like An Angel” is an irresistible, larger than life, catchy ’80s style number that could easily be in a Rocky movie, with an unbridled array of flashy keyboard melodies, soaring vocals, and alluring tone to keep concert-goers on their feet. Moving on, “It’s All About You” will never take you for granted before the unexpected cover of Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now.” The pedal to the floor, on “Ride of Your Life,” Gioeli-Castronovo deliver the imperative tones and message which all great Arena Rock anthems host. Thereafter, the ballads “Mother” and “Walk With Me” make way for the inspirational rocker “Run For Your Life.” Remembering promises made, the vibrant “Remember Me” speaks of memories gone, but not for long before the final track, “Let Me Out,” is an acoustic cry to be released from the chains of love.
A devastatingly wonderful debut, on Set The World On Fire, Gioeli-Castronovo fearlessly composed one of the most impressive releases in recent memory. A blueprint for Arena Rock, Set The World On Fire exemplifies all the fiery elements needed to conjure up great Rock songs. Everything about Set The World On Fire is done to perfection, from the sonically pleasing keyboard sound to the heartfelt lyrics, arresting guitar riffs, and the way Gioeli and Castronovo seamlessly trade off vocal duties. Listeners will be hooked instantly! The future seems limitless for Gioeli-Castronovo and fans will be thirsty to see what’s next. Highly-recommended, CrypticRock gives Set The World On Fire 5 out of 5 stars.