What started out as little more than a jam session in Los Angeles during 2011 has now become a full-fledged recording project between Ronnie James Dio co-writing band mates (Holy Diver, Last in Line and Sacred Heart) culminating in the release of HEAVY CROWN later this year.
On February 19th LAST IN LINE will release their highly anticipated début hard rock album ‘Heavy Crown’
The new album will be supported by a concert tour of the United States and Europe, with a set-list that will include songs carefully chosen from the classic songbook as well as the new numbers.
LAST IN LINE was formed by three original members of DIO including Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell (guitar) and Vinny Apice (drums) with Jimmy Bain (bass) and named after DIO’s 1984 studio album — The Last In Line.
The band vocalist is Andrew Freeman (The Offspring, Hurricane and Raiding the Rock Vault Las Vegas show.)
We had an early listen to ‘Heavy Crown‘ :
The album starts with ‘Devil in Me‘ [video below) and some familar arrangements and a ‘rockin groove reminiscent of ‘Shame On the Night‘ (Holy Diver) — this has a classic rock tempo.
It is smooth and elegant and even has the whiff of hair band 1980’s eloquence. Whether it has the bite and snarl of early DIO works is debatable. But, without a doubt, this is gratifying and slick.
Then we get ‘Martyr‘ which grizzles as it worms. Sparkling guitars flicker and agitate under the strong pace that strikes through the melody.
The vocal is a narrow mass of fibers — stretched and strained until manly release. It is then that the thoroughly voltaic guitar flies in like a seething dragon cresting the edge of a storm. Yup! This is one helluva track … full of chemical action and dynamic tension.
‘Starmaker‘ hobbles like an ogre on the warpath. The bass buzzes like a watchful killer bee and the guitars build a layer-cake of rich sounds.
This is a contemplative and emotional. And, although it does not have the heat and excited energy of other tracks, it will still burn within you.
The title track comes towards the end of the album. It has a lazy jazzy vibe. And a zeppelinesque atmosphere.
The vocal is gruff and hirsute, the bass is yielding and amenable and the riff is smokalicious and warm. This is not immediately compelling — but you will find that it improves your spirit long after the other songs have done their job. It’s gonna be an everlasting classic!
The album ends with ‘The Sickness‘ with it’s impressive ambition and range.
Fizzing guitars spiral out of the steaming, froth-pot of textures that make up the landscape. It’s not long before the super-sized lead solo (Campbell) starts to make intrusions. This is nostalgic and starry. Effective and edifying.
After listening, again and again — we are still not quite sure if Andrew is tough enough to pull off the tension that’s required …
But no matter, this is still the closest you will ever get to another album by Dio — and with the original band.
The legacy lives on …
Words: @neilmach 2016 ©
Last in Line will be on the Def Leppard Cruise in just 3 weeks time!
Album out Feb 19th pre-order here: Heavy Crown on Itunes or Heavy Crown here on Amazon