Review – Last In Line – Heavy Crown
Frontiers Music Srl (2016)
Reviewer: Phil Schofield
February sees the release of the bands debut album from Vivian Campbells side project to Def Leppard featuring ex Dio band members.
Indeed Vivian Campbell , Vinnie Appice & Jimmy Bain have co written 12 new tracks that also feature the vocal talents of Andrew Freeman, all ably produced by Dokken & Foreigner’s bassist Jeff Pilson.
Last In Line first started life as a 2011 jam session that then toured briefly in 2013/2014 playing songs from the Dio back catalogue.Sadly with Vivian’s well documented fight with illness laying him low & his ongoing recording & touring with Def Leppard, the projects new material has taken most of 2015 to be honed & shaped into the Heavy Crown album.
This album contains a series of all new compositions kicking off with the first single ‘Devil in Me’.
From the off the thunderous thud of Vinnies drum sound combines with Vivs thin piercing guitar sound that could easily have been lifted off the either of the first two Dio albums.
Hot on its heels follows ‘Martyr’ a double bassed piece of fast riffery that lets Freeman & Campbell both show their talents as pro musicians with a gentle reminder of early Stand Up & Shout from the Holy Diver album.
‘Starmaker’ is full of pomp & ceremony whilst ‘Burn This House Down’ also has the feel of another track lifted from an earlier time or forgotten outtake from the early eighties.
Its always hard not to draw comparison when presented with “ex members of” albums but what surprised me was that in Andrew Freeman they have a vocalist who never tries to mimic or clone Ronnie’s very recognisable vocal style preferring to let his own range of capabilities shine through.
The remaining tracks all show that all ex members still have the technical abilities to conjure the feel of a hard rock sound of a bygone time & for the Dio purists this is squarely aimed at not mimickry but more stylised sounding that supports Ronnie’s legacy.
If you like the album then look out for a possible tour sometime in the new year.