Sunday, 31 July 2011

CD Review: The Last In Line, by Dio (1984)

Dio's second solo effort is standard 1980s power metal fare, a notch or two below the rightfully more celebrated Holy Diver. The Last In Line is enlivened by two excellent tracks, but otherwise suffers from sameness and a limited creative spark. Ronnie and his band are smoothly efficient and professional, but as they are standing at the tail end of that line, they rarely stray into memorable territory.

The title song The Last In Line does take its place among Dio's classic songs, a power-packed, earth-shaking six minute journey through the gates of the afterlife, marching to a colossal Vinny Appice beat, Dio assuring us that We'll know for the first time / If we're evil or divine / We're the last in line.  At the end of the album is the even more ambitious but less brilliant Egypt (The Chains Are On), a seven minute eastern-tinged epic celebrating the majesty and decrying the slavery of that country, with lyrics that Dio could have intended for either ancient or modern history. It's a lumbering track that succeeds despite not exactly shaking off the shackles of predictability.

Otherwise, We Rock is an energetic work-up-the-crowd fist-pumper that jumps around within the limits of its ambitions. The other six tracks come and ago in a celebration of Dio's voice and his salute to basic power metal structures and anthems. The supporting band do their job with minimum fuss, but the stand-out moments are few and far between, The Last In Line never overflowing with inspiration. It's an album that delivers exactly what would have been expected from Dio, none of it bad, most of it good, and sprinkled with a light dusting of admirable.


Ronnie James Dio - Vocals
Vinny Appice - Drums
Jimmy Bain - Bass
Vivian Campbell - Guitar
Claude Schnell - Keyboards

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. We Rock - 8
2. The Last In Line - 10
3. Breathless - 7
4. I Speed At Night - 6
5. One Night In The City - 7
6. Evil Eyes - 7
7. Mystery - 7
8. Eat Your Heart Out - 7
9. Egypt (The Chains Are On) - 9

Average: 7.56

Produced by Ronnie James Dio.
Engineered by Angelo Arcuri.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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