Sunday, February 28, 2016

LAST IN LINE: "Heavy Crown"

Rating: RR
Label: Frontiers 2016
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

Do you recall Viv Campbell complaining about DIO and blunt metal? You know, when he joined Def Leppard. Apparently no longer afraid to expose the basic meat and potato stuff as these melodies and riffs are straight from the book of 'metal for dummies'. One thing's for sure. Do not expect to find another classic album such as Holy Diver, or indeed, Last In Line. It's more like Angry Machines only not quite as brutal. Opener, Devil In Me, one of few homerun(s) on the record and they're playing the outfield?

Originally formed in 2011 as the DIO tribute act by guitarist Viv, the late and great bassist Jimmy Bain (Dio, Rainbow, Wild Horses), and drummer Vinny Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, etc). They eventually found vocalist Andrew Freeman and set out to record this debut under the reign of producer Jeff Pilson (Dokken). The result is not pleasing to these ears and it's difficult to mark down any other winner(s) than the semi-ballads of "Curse The Day" and "The Sickness". The rest are all pretty much stuck in second gear and the dull and gloomy formula of the 90's sound and era. It's got absolutely nothing to do with classic DIO. That's perhaps a good thing too, since you'd hate them to be copy cats?

Damned if you do, damned if you don't? Not really since you'd like a wee bit more of the fun and classic rock. The production by Pilson simply add the typical Dokken sound of the 90's and several tracks are steeped in their mode and style. Not to mention that some of these tracks such as 'I Am Revolution', had me seriously thinking about Wolfsbane (feat. Blaze Bailey) and their extremely boring metal of the past. Have a go at this if you enjoy the idea of a super-group and end up bitterly disappointed. Definitely last in line. RIP Jimmy Bain.

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