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CD REVIEW: LAST IN LINE – Heavy Crown

| 26 February 2016 | Reply

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Label: Frontiers Music srl

Release Date: February 19, 2016

Rating: 9.5/10

Reviewed by: Todd “Toddstar” Jolicoeur

What happens when you pull together three musicians responsible for three of the classic heavy metal discs of the 1980’s, if not all time?  In the case of Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain, and Vivian Campbell, you have pulled together the band behind Ronnie James Dio on Holy Diver, Last In Line, and Sacred Heart.  Wanting to create more music together in the classic rock and metal vein without destroying the legacy they are a part of, these guys went out, wrote some songs with singer Andrew Freeman, and have put together a killer collection of tracks that are an extension of what they previously recorded together.  The discs first single “Devil In Me” kicks this disc off and sets the tone for everything that is to come.  The opening riffs and bottom end are a great nod to their past, but once the vocals kick in, it is obvious these rockers are out to make classic rock in the modern era.  The chugging riffs keep the verse flowing, between choruses and the bridge, which features a killer solo from Vivian Campbell.  “Martyr” picks up the tempo and allows drummer Vinny Appice to flex his muscles a bit and provide a solid anchor for this track.  Twist in some heavy-handed bass from Jimmy Bain, and you have the perfect foundation for this song.  The vocals and guitar are perfect for the vibe of this track.  “Burn This House Down” is another track with a familiar rock groove buried underneath great vocals.  Andrew Freeman, while channeling a heavier classic rock vibe for his vocals, does what he does best without imitating or trying to recreate the past.  “Blame It On Me” is a slower track that accentuates the groove from each of the instruments and the vocals.  Appice’s drums sound crisp and swirl nicely in the rhythm section with Bain’s bass.  When the vocals move across the track and dance with the guitars, you have a bottom heavy rocker that creeps along hitting highs and lows.  “Curse The Day” gives us a different sound and texture in Freeman’s vocals on the verse.  He dials up the energy and intensity at the chorus, allowing his voice to shine from open to close.  This track sounds and feels slightly different than other tracks on the disc without deviating from the direction of the other songs.  Disc closer “The Sickness” brings together all of the great qualities from the other tracks on the disc, including awesome guitar solos, some of the best vocals on the disc, excellent drums and bass, and combines them to create a wall of sound that relies more on the basics of rock and roll than anything else.

“Starmaker” brings that classic Dio-feel to the table, with thought provoking lyrics, killer percussion, droning bass, and searing solos.  Freeman’s vocals add depth to the tracks heavy vibe and give the song a push through the chorus.  Once you get past the meat of the song and into the bridge, you experience one of the best solos on the disc.  Vivian demonstrates killer fretwork and takes this to the next level.  “I Am Revolution” combines heavy metal, punk, and modern radio rock creating a song that sounds as much like Motörhead as it does classic Dio, thanks to the punishing bass work from Bain and the cool solo from Campbell.  “Already Dead” is an 80’s track through and through.  The catchy cadence and tempo get your foot tapping, your head banging, and your fists ready to pump the air.  Throw in a ton of guitar pings, squeals, and riffs and you have a song that sits alongside a lot of the great metal tracks from that era, let alone this one.  “Orange Glow” is a moodier rocker that leans more on modern rock than classic metal, but still has the familiar tones of Campbell’s guitars from days gone by, Bain and Appice’s perfectly matched timekeeping, and Freeman’s rich vocals.  Title track “Heavy Crown” gives us a different and more ethereal sound from the vocals at the verse that builds, along with the guitars, at the chorus.  Campbell shines on guitar at the verse and the rhythm section delivers a perfect groove.  Once the bridge arrives, all gloves are off and we get an awesome solo.  This disc isn’t meant to be the next Dio album and may never have come to fruition had Dio not passed in 2010.  This isn’t Dio 2.0.  This is Last In Line – Campbell, Appice, Bain, and Freeman – and they rock this disc from open to close.  Unfortunately, the magic here cannot be replicated due to the recent untimely passing of bassist Jimmy Bain, but I cannot wait to see how they overcome and move forward.  Hopefully we don’t have to wait another 30 years…

​Tracklisting: Devil In Me – Martyr – Starmaker – Burn This House Down – I Am Revolution – Blame It On Me – Already Dead – Curse The Day – Orange Glow – Heavy Crown – The Sickness

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Todd ‘ToddStar’ Jolicoeur

Category: CD Reviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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