Heart Line
Back in the Game

Label: Pride & Joy Music
Three similar bands: Foreigner/Journey/Winger

Rating: HHHHHHH (4/7)
Reviewer: Daniel Källmalm
1. Fighting To Live
2. One Night In Paradise
3. Hold On
4. I’m In Heaven
5. On Fire
6. Back In The Game
7. Once In A Lifetime
8. Firedance
9. Stranger In The Night
10. In The City
11. I Long To Rise

Emmanuel Creis - vocals
Yvan Guillevic - guitars
Jorris Guilbaud - keyboards
Dominique Braud - bass
Walter Français - drums



Produced by Yvan Guillevic
Mixed By Yvan Guillevic & Jorris Guilbaud
Mastered by Brett Caldas Lima (Tower Studio)
Artwork by Stan W. Decker

Released 2021-11-19
Reviewed 2022-01-08

pride & joy

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Back in the Game could be interpreted as a return to the stage after a long absence, but for French AOR band it is the debut album. However, you would be forgiven if you thought it was a comeback for a band from the eighter when hearing what the band has to offer. It is even told in the press sheet that they look to take us back to the beating heart of the eighties with guitar heroism and soaring vocals. And that is the style they offer, hence the imagined comeback idea. The cover looks good though, so what about the album?

Classic AOR, styled like something from the eighties. Think of bands like Journey, Toto, Winger, Foreigner, and all those bands that made their names back then, the bands that actually went ahead of the pack when this genre was fresh and interesting. That is also why it was commercially viable then but not now, fresh ideas can still sell. This band doesn’t have any fresh ideas, they go with the tried and tested and their songs therefore sound a lot more familiar than songs from a new album should sound.

So, it is familiar, but is it any good? Well, AOR music is usually good, derivative or not. But the problem is when everything is good, why should you bother with it? Other than the review material I get I never really listen to AOR anymore, I love the genre, but I am so fed up with all the derivative middle-of-the-road stuff that I don’t really care much for the good bands either. I just don’t understand the desire to copy what everyone else has already done, why not do you own thing instead?

This album is fine, you can listen to it, enjoy the songs perhaps. But there is no point whatsoever to buy the album, Back in the Game is just another one of those albums. If you already have a floor in your home, why get another one? It is the same thing, I already own plenty of AOR albums, there is no need for another one. So while you may enjoy this one, it is still too bad to be great and too good to hate. And it is not a memorable album, it is a middle-of-the-road kind of thing.