Review Summary: Simple but great.
Some may argue whether Metallica, Megadeth or Slayer is the best Thrash band. Some may argue whether Iron Maiden or Judas Priest is the kings of NWOBHM. Some may argue whether In Flames or Dark Tranquility is the better MDM band. But if there is one thing that I have seen almost no controversy about is that Dio was the king of metal. In my whole life I have never met a single metal head who didn't love, or at least appreciated the work of Ronnie James Dio.
Dio is truly the god of metal.
The 'Last In Line' had big shoes to fill, as Dio's debut 'Holy Diver' was and still considered one of the best albums in metal history, but in my very own opinion it filled them damn well. So well, actually, that The 'Last In Line' is even slightly better than the former.
The highlight in this album, as you have probably already guessed, is the vocals. Dio gives an excellent performance, as usual. He is one of those rare singers whose vocals never wore off. The drumming here is also amazing; Vinny Appice was always one of my favorite drummers. The guitar and bass are fantastic, and the production is great.
Still, all those things exist in Holy Diver as well, so you may ask yourselves, why would I choose The 'Last In Line' over one of the most-loved albums in history, that contains metal anthems such as 'Holy Diver', and 'Don't Talk To Strangers'?
The answer is not that simple. Firstly, the diversity in 'Last In Line' is what makes this album more fun and enjoyable to listen to. Songs like the title track and the epic 7 minute long Egypt couldn't be found in the somewhat diverse Holy Diver. In addition, 'Last In Line' still contains classic Dio such as Breathless and We Rock. Other than that, I guess it's just a matter of opinion, and The 'Last In Line' and Holy Diver are maybe just as good as each other.
The only flaw in this album is the songwriting. Dio writes rather cheesy metal lyrics, which are still enjoyable, but get old after a few plays. But this isn't important enough to ruin my perfect 5/5 rating for this album, because in every other meaning the album is beyond amazing.
The 'Last In Line' was released in July 13, 1984, and with the releases of Anthrax, Metallica and Iron maiden it wouldn't be exaggerating to call this year the best year of metal. The record label is Vertigo and it is 41:51 minutes long.
Ronnie James Dio – lead vocals
Vivian Campbell – guitar
Jimmy Bain – bass
Claude Schnell - keyboard
Vinny Appice – drums, percussion
Recorded at Caribou Ranch, Colorado, USA
Produced by Ronnie James Dio
Engineered by Angelo Arcuri
Assistant engineered by Rich Markowitz
Mixed on Westlake Audio BBSM6 monitors
Originally mastered by George Marino at Sterling Sound, New York, USA
Remastered by Andy Pearce (2012 Universal Deluxe Edition)
Illustration by Barry Jackson