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Last In Line: Heavy Crown

Last In Line were formed initially be ex-Dio bandmates Vivian Campbell (guitars), Jimmy Bain (bass) and Vinny Appice (drums) (as well as keyboard player Claude Schnell, who it would appear is no longer in the band) to celebrate the music they made some 30 or so years ago. Recruiting ex-Lynch Mob frontman Andrew Freeman they hit the road to great acclaim, before announcing their intentions to lay down some new tracks and keep the outfit going alongside the members' other bands and projects. That their debut, Heavy Crown, arrives mere days after the sudden and tragic passing of Bain is sad to say the least, however it does allow us to state with full belief that the bassist went out on a high note and with a canon of work (Dio, Rainbow, Wild Horses, Phil Lynott, Gary Moore) anyone would be proud of.

However putting all of that aside, what do we have here? Well unsurprisingly given those involved, Last In Line are a classic heavy rock/metal band, however if you think Heavy Crown is merely a rehash of past glories, then you're going to be pleasantly surprised. Yes, Holy Diver era Dio is an obvious touching point, but with a nod to the past in a Ronnie James Dio fronted Black Sabbath style and eye for a slightly (and I stress slightly) more commercial streak on a few occasions, then taken purely on its own merits, this album is a resounding success.

The chemistry between the band members is clear from the off, nothing sounding forced or contrived and proving a huge lesson for the many who have tried to follow down this path. Instead, other than a cutting edge production job from another ex-Dio man (but from a different era) Jeff Pilson, Heavy Crown is one of those albums that doesn't try to whisk you back to a time gone by, instead simply revelling in a hugely effective sound this band specialise in. Whether through the riff heavy "Blame It On Me", which provides one of the more Sabbath-like moments (Appice is immense here and throughout), the punchy guitar crunch of "Heavy Crown" itself, or mighty smack of lead track "Devil In Me", it's really hard to find much to fault.

Interestingly, and possibly through Freeman's links to Lynch Mob and Pilson's to Dokken, there's a decided George Lynch feel to some of Campbell's phenomenal guitar work (having the chance to hear him unshackled from his role in Def Leppard is a joy), "Martyr" and "Already Dead" adding a surprising, but welcome injection of US classic rock. Freeman himself is fantastic, his ability to resist the temptation to ape, not just Ronnie James Dio, but any of the classic singers of years gone by one of the main reasons this album doesn't feel like an attempt to simply step back into the past.

Whether Last In Line will survive without the on stage and in the studio presence of Jimmy Bain is anyone's guess. However the statement made on Heavy Crown is one of which Last In Line should be, whether it proves to be the end of an era, or the beginning of a brand new chapter, immensely proud.

See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!

Track Listing
1. Devil In Me
2. Martyr
3. Starmaker
4. Burn This House Down
5. I Am Revolution
6. Blame It On Me
7. In Flames (bonus track)
8. Already Dead
9. Curse The Day
10. Orange GLow
11. Heavy Crown
12. The Sickness

1. Devil In Me (Videoclip)
2. Starmaker (Videoclip)
3. Making Of Heavy Crown

Added: February 7th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Last In Line on Facebook
Hits: 2032
Language: english

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