Last In Line - 'Heavy Crown' (Frontiers Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Lee Kendrick   
Wednesday, 20 January 2016 03:00

LILHCcover300Last In Line started out as bit of fun for ex-Dio members Vivian Campbell, Vinny Appice, and Jimmy Bain back in 2011. The guys got together with vocalist Andrew Freeman with the intention of playing a few shows showcasing the classic Dio material from the mid eighties.


The guys enjoyed the handful of shows immensely and they realised that the old chemistry was very much intact. They entered the studio with the same enthusiasm and spirit as they had done 30 some years ago and the result is this album that I hold in my sweaty hands.


Needless to say as a massive fan of the first three Dio albums - 'Holy Diver', 'Last In Line', and 'Sacred Heart' - this particular scribe was rather excited at the prospect of hearing new material from three quarters of the original Dio line-up. So, I put the kettle on and grabbed a couple of rounds of toast and put the shiny disc in to play.


As the opening few bars of 'Devil In Me' blasted through the speakers I slowly broke into a massive grin and was instantly taken back to THAT sound. Oh, how great is it to hear Vivian Campbell playing real metal again?! I always thought he was wasted in Duff Leotard anyway, but I suppose the pay is pretty good.


All of the trademark guitar squeals and solos are here as well as Vinny Appice's powerhouse drumming and some great bass work from Bain.


What about vocalist Andrew Freeman? Well, to compare him to Lord Dio would be silly. He does a sterling job here and his vocal style is a combination of Chris Cornell, Kip Winger, and David Coverdale and on the odd occasion Tom Keifer... not bad, eh? He complements the band effortlessly and gives Last In Line their own identity instantly.


Production is handled perfectly by ex-Dokken man Jeff Pilson which brings out the best in the entire band.


'Martyr' kicks off with a tasteful drum intro from Appice before we head into full neck-stretching mode with a chugging riff and screaming vocals before another classic Campbell solo brings the song to the forefront of the album. 'Starmaker' has a Zeppelinesque feel to it with a very memorable chorus. 'Burn This House Down' continues with the classy performances but my favourite track has to be 'Blame It On Me' which has Dio written all over it. A fantastic riff from Campbell and some drumming that John Bonham would have approved of with more wailing vocals from Freeman. Class!


There are some weaker moments here such as the plodding 'Curse The Day' which doesn't really go anywhere and final track 'The Sickness' which is pretty standard classic rock/metal and left me rather cold.


All in all though a very strong release with plenty to keep the spirit and essence of RJD very much alive. Apparently Last In Line plan a tour of the U.S. and Europe in 2016. Will definitely be on my list of gigs to attend.


To pick up your copy of 'Heavy Crown' - CLICK HERE