Heartlyne – No Retreat No Surrender [1988]

HEARTLYNE was one of the best hidden treasures in German hard rock history. Arisen from the ashes of Dark Avenger, Heartlyne quickly became famous due to their professional approach and their spectacular live shows.Founded in late 1986, the young outfit from West Berlin formed around singer extraordinaire Tommy Heart (Fair Warning, Soul Doctor, Zeno, Dark Avenger, V2), guitarists Chris Lyne (Soul Doctor, Countach) and Claus Johannsohn (Dark Avenger, Double Action), bassist Jogy Rautenberg (Soul Doctor, Dead Marian), drummer K.K. (Ballantinez) and keyboard player Alexander Strauch (She’s China, Devil’s Soldier, Soul Doctor) and caused a storm in the Berlin hard rock scene. Listeners of the German radio statio SFB voted them as “best heavy rock band” and in early 1987 they won an important German rock contest. A tour followed and the band even got some airplay on national TV.

No wonder it was then decided to enter the Hansa studios in Berlin, where they recorded their first songs with producer Thomas Stiehler (Marillion, The Cult). They recorded this album back in 1987 and got some interest from various labels but without getting the big break. “No Retreat No Surrender” is a time capsule trip, mid eighties feeling is here, a keyboard driven heaven, with big hookliness and melodies, although Tommy’s voice didn’t reach the full potential yet, but it sounds wonderful and above the standards of that time.

The album opens up with “Starlight” and probably the best of the bunch, an airy summertime AOR track, with melodic and catchy hooks filled with tons of keyboards and a fantastic chorus. You get even more fluffy keyboards on “No Retreat No Surrender”, a huge arena rocker with a catchy chorus where the bass line is pretty focused on what makes the song a bit groovy. The mid tempo “Victims Of Your Love” have a great mix of melodic rhythm guitars and keyboards,as it aimed at a more opulent orientation and breaks something in the prog-rock corner, without being obviously missed the necessary catchiness. Cracking AOR rocker “Broken Promises” is brilliant with strong hookliness, spacey keyboards,grandiose chorus and harmonies. A magnigicent piece of its represent, what immediately comes across even more beautifully atmospheric.

“Strike An Arrow” is a fantastic 80s ballad with wonderful melodies and a shinning vocal performance from Tommy Heart. Another gem is the wonderful keyboard driven fest “Stay With Me”, with melodic guitar riffs and a great  songwriting, similar of what was to come from Tommy with Zeno and Fair Warning. Of course we must not omit the rest of the songs that are particularly noteworthy. “Change (All Over The World)”, “Sacred Heart” and “Don’t Walk Away” are particularly catchy and melodic while lovers of Zeno will jump of joy when they hear “Empty Eyes” because this could have been on their debut album, a great song with a perfect collaboration of keys and guitars, and the album closing with an alternative version of “Starlight” that deserves attention.

Some of the songs sound today may be a little cheesy, but yes we are talking also of an album from 1987. If you like pure mid 80s guitar and keyboard stuff you won’t regret it.

Band Members
Tommy Heart – Vocals
Chris Lyne – Guitars
Claus Johannsohn – Guitars
Jogy Rautenberg – Bass
K.K. – Drums
Alexander Strauch – Keyboards

Tracks
01. Starlight
02. No Retreat No Surrender
03. Victims Of Your Love
04. Broken Promises
05. Strike An Arrow
06. Change (All Over The World)
07. Sacred Heart
08. Stay With Me
09. Empty Eyes
10. Don’t Walk Away
11. Starlight Different Version

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Heartlyne - No Retreat No Surrender [1988], 5.0 out of 10 based on 3 ratings