DIO — The Last in Line

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DIO - The Last in Line cover
4.05 | 74 ratings | 6 reviews
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Album · 1984

Filed under Heavy Metal


1. We Rock (4:35)
2. The Last in Line (5:47)
3. Breathless (4:09)
4. I Speed at Night (3:22)
5. One Night in the City (5:16)
6. Evil Eyes (3:38)
7. Mystery (3:58)
8. Eat Your Heart Out (3:50)
9. Egypt (The Chains Are On) (6:57)

Total Time: 41:36


- Ronnie James Dio / lead vocals, keyboards
- Vivian Campbell / lead guitar
- Jimmy Bain / bass guitar
- Vinny Appice / drums, percussion
- Claude Schnell / keyboards

About this release

Release date: July 2nd, 1984
Label: Warner Bros. Records

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siLLy puPPy
After the successful and phenomenal debut DIO wasted no time following up with their sophomore release THE LAST IN LINE which came out in 1984. The lineup is the same except that they added Rough Cutt keyboardist Claude Schnell to the band. On this album it is clear that a formula had been established and there seems to be a strange change in music in the 1983-84 timeline where highly original music was suddenly becoming more commercial and “dumbed” down. That is evident on this second release. The first release had a magical feel as it incorporated the best of what Ronnie James DIIO had been doing in his different incarnations as a band member in his career. On this album I get the feeling that other forces were intervening.

This is still a very good album because there are several excellent tracks like the title track, “Eat Your Heart Out,” “Egypt (The Chains Are On)” and to be fair the other tracks are not bad, however the flow of the album just feels stilted in a way that the band doesn't know exactly which way they want to go. It seems they are trying to keep the old audience while they make some more commercial sounding tracks like “Mystery” to appeal to a wider audience. This is a phenomena that would permeate the 80s but more surprising when a respected artist like Ronnie James DIO goes that direction. For me this album is pumped way up by the strong tracks but the weaker ones are so weak that I wish this was an EP of the best tracks. Of course, Ronnie's vocals are stellar and the musicianship is brilliant but it really boils down to the songwriting on this one that makes this a big step down in quality from the debut.
Line Dio’s second studio album The Last In Line is a really strong album, full of heavy and hard rocking songs that draw upon the fantasy lyrics for which the band is remembered, lots of guitar solos and of course, Ronnie James Dio’s distinctive and unique voice.

If you’ve heard Holy Diver and are wondering where to explore next, The Last In Line should definitely be considered for your next step.

The line up on the album is the same as that on Holy Diver (Dio, Campbell, Bain, Appice) only with the addition of Keyboarder Claude Schnell, who brings a different feel to the keyboards which would gradually become more prominent with subsequent releases.

The album begins, as with all the first four Dio albums, with a fast and energetic opener that is followed by a considered and mid paced title track. The rest of the album is a mixture of hard and heavy material (Breathless, Evil Eyes) speedy numbers (I Speed At Night) and some more commercial melodic moments (Mystery)

As usual with Dio, you get great performances and top notch musicianship (Vivian Campbell in particualr deserves special mention on this album), plenty of memorable riffs and choruses, a fair production job and a bunch of lyrical references to Rainbows. Put simply, if you enjoyed anything else Dio has done, you will enjoy this too.

Put simply The Last In Line is a fantastic album, up there with the very best Dio material and well worth buying if you haven’t already.

This album features the classic Dio tracks "We Rock", "The Last In Line", and "Mystery" which all received considerable airplay during the 80's as well as video play on MTV back in a time when MTV actually played music videos. In addition, to these 3 tracks the album also included the fist pumping "I Speed At Night". The other standout track from this album is the epic Egypt (The Chains Are On). The remaining tracks are also decent or good, but somewhat generic in nature and less memorable than the previously noted tracks.

Admittedly, DIO was one of my favorite artists during the 80's. The two albums Holy Diver and The Last in Line are both essential to any 80's metal collection. The band was a bit of a supergroup as it included Ronnie James Dio, the frontman for Elf, Black Sabbath, and Rainbow; Vinnie Appice, a drummer for Black Sabbath; Jimmy Bain, bassist for Rainbow; and Vivian Campbell, who was a relative unknown at the time but had played guitars for Sweet Savage, and would go on to play guitars for Def Leppard. In addition to the well-known musicians, the keyboards were played by Claude Schnell.

The highlight of any DIO album is the golden voice of Ronnie James Dio, who in my opinion (as well as many others) has one of the top 5 voices in metal history. I would suspect that most readers of this review will be familiar with his work, so there is no reason to go into alot of detail. However, if you aren't familiar with him, or only know him from his work with Black Sabbath, Heaven or Hell, or Rainbow, and you are interested in checking him out then I don't think that you can go wrong with The Last In Line, as it is definitely one of the classics when it comes to 80's metal albums.

Members reviews

I really cannot agree with SOUTHSIDEOFTHESKY reviewer about his low rating for this amazing album!I cannot understand why he gave to this superbe album only 2,5 stars?!?!I respect his opinion,but in the same time I consider that it's a great injustice!For me-this album represents so much-it was something magical and mythical in the communist period of my youth in a forgotten Eastern European country called ROMANIA!I had the chance to get the vinyl from the former YUGOSLAVIA country-the album was edited there-I don't know how legally it was-but having an original vinyl with texts and everything-was something sensational for us!Then-the music-the fantastic opening WE ROCK-was like a WAKE UP,ROCKERS!-and it was absolutely breathtaking!Metal music was forbidden in Romania and the feeling to hear something not permitted by the communist authorities was special!This was the music of FREEDOM and LIBERTY for us,a sign of protest and disobedience against the regime!EGYPT-THE CHAINS ARE ON-was something like the situation in Romania was in these dark days.It was like a protest of DIO-in our imagination-against communism and dictatorship!Evem more-we thought that the cover of the album really express the political situation in Romania during the communist period-The big evil was CEAUSESCU and the slaves at the bottom were the people,the simple citizens of the country,opressed by an inhumane political regime!That was the sense,the meaning and the importance of hard rock music for us,the young of that dark period!And ,this album is sensational from the first to the last song!All are pure anthems and brilliant masterpieces!Dio's voice is amazing and the musicianship on the album is fabulous!I cannot give more ten 5 STARS,but this album worths 100 STARS,because it's wonderful!A monument!
Evil or divine? A bit of both actually!

After the success of Dio’s first album, it seemed as if Ronnie James could do no wrong – first Rainbow, then Black Sabbath then a classic album as a leader of his own band. Musically, Holy Diver was a kind of crossover between what Ronnie James had been doing with Rainbow and what he did with Black Sabbath but with more of an 80’s sound and more polished production and injected with a couple of more commercial hook-laden songs. The Last In Line is no different in that respect. Indeed, this is basically Holy Diver part II. However, those aspects of the Holy Diver album that worked best, works even better or at least as good here, but those aspects of it that didn’t work so well are even worse here! This makes for a much more uneven and inconsistent album compared to its predecessor with a couple of real gems among several much weaker moments.

The line-up remains the same as on the debut with the exception of the addition of keyboard player Claude Schnell who first joined Dio for the tour in support of Holy Diver. This means that ex-Rainbow bassist Jimmy Bain and ex-Black Sabbath drummer Vinny Appice are still on board.

The album starts with We Rock which is fast song that fills the role that Stand Up And Shout filled on Holy Diver. It lives up to its title well and became a standing show-closer for the band for many years (I think). Next up is the excellent title track that, in my opinion, is one of Dio’s best songs. This song is easily up to par with anything from Holy Diver and is a classic in its own right with captivating vocals and lyrics. Together with this album’s closing number Egypt (The Chains Are On), The Last In Line is also more ambitious than virtually anything that Dio has ever recorded.

Sadly, what follows are three rather generic and predictable songs in Breathless, I Speed At Night and One Night In The City. These songs are significantly less exciting and also too similar to each other to be of any particular interest for anyone other than Dio fanatics. Evil Eyes are slightly better, but the momentum is lost. Mystery is the obvious follow up to Rainbow In The Dark with a similar keyboard-heavy riff and a catchy hook. While this type of song is certain to put some Metal fans off, I actually think Dio does this kind of thing rather well! But it is very predictable after the success of Rainbow In The Dark and much less effective this time. At least the guitar solo is very good.

Eat You Heart Out too features excellent guitar work, but the feeling of ‘I have heard this before’ prevails. Not until the aforementioned closer does the album once again get interesting. Egypt (The Chains Are On) is even stronger than the title track and an absolute gem. This song is somewhat similar to the excellent Sign Of The Southern Cross from Black Sabbath’s Mob Rules album on which Ronnie sang and on one of their recent tours Dio actually mixed these two songs in a very effective medley (as can be heard on the very good live CD/DVD called Evil And Divine – named, by the way, after a line from The Last In Line). But this great song comes in too late to save this album from mediocrity.

To sum up. The Last In Line features two of Dio’s best and most ambitious songs, but the rest is predictable at best and downright boring at worst. Approach therefore with some caution!
Dio's second solo album is perhaps less consistent than his first, but it makes up for it with a handful truly classic metal tracks. The album opener, "We Rock" is thrash heaven, guaranteed to get your adrenaline going. Talk about opening with a bang! Things slow down slightly with the title track, or so it would seem. After a pastoral introduction, the lead riff comes crushing down like a ton of bricks. "The Last In Line" is really on of the greats as far as metal songs go. It's easily the equal to anything on "Holy Diver."

There are also a couple of poppier numbers, for those who are into that sort of thing. "Mystery" is catchy enough, and Dio can get away with being a little obvious and commercial due to the immense power of his legendary vocal cords. There are a couple of misses, sure. "Evil Eyes" and "Eye Speed at Night" are certainly not his strongest work, but he brings it all home at the end with the epic "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" which lives up entirely to its great title.

Personally, I think "The Last In Line" is every bit as good an album as "Holy Diver," and while they both have their flaws, together they showcase some of the best work of one of metal's greatest frontmen and should not be missed.

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