Last in Line: ‘II’

To be released on February 22, 2019 (Frontiers Music Srl)

Last in Line
 are releasing their second album almost three years to the day from the first issue, Heavy Crown. Drawn from the remnants of Dio, the band consists of Vinnie Appice (Dio, Black Sabbath, Heaven and Hell, etc), Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard, Dio, Whitesnake, etc) and Andrew Freeman (Offspring, Lynch Mob, etc.) and following the death of bassist Jimmy Bain, the addition of Phil Soussan (Ozzy). It seems that supergroups are the order of the day. There’s a real difference between the old timers drawing on experience versus the hungry up and comers trying out new sounds. I don’t think that changes anything in evaluating the album II.

One of the things I detest more than a weak ballad is a pointless “intro” track with no musical value. Sure enough, II opens with a minute of moody nothingness intended to set the tone for what is to come. Meh. Get to the point. If it’s supposed to be part of “Blackout The Sun”, then use it as such as a single cut. Speaking of “Blackout The Sun”, it’s got a great intro (opening not included) and some good drumming. The chorus goes a bit limp, but overall, I don’t mind it. “Landslide” is more consistent. There’s a hard rocking element that recalls ’80s era Whitesnake. The technical element surrounding the musicianship on “Gods And Tyrants” is interesting. It’s not all power chords and shouting vocals. Clever and playful with a hard edge is how I would describe the theme.

Now, “Year Of The Gun” showcases the hard rock abilities of each member of this supergroup with such a great opening sound, and the way the band members seem to feed off each other. The energy created in the opening carries along right to the end. “Give Up The Ghost” plods along and lands with a pretty good vocal line and chorus. Something caught me about the intro to “The Unknown.” Not exactly, but in my mind, close. Imagine a slow motion version of the intro to Iron Maiden’s “The Number Of The Beast.” Things go wrong for a bit here with a ’90s style quiet verse, until the very Lynch Mob chorus. The powerful beat of “Sword From The Stone” overcomes the average bridge and chorus. “Electrified” impresses me not only because of its up-tempo aggression, but also the quality and accuracy of the musicians.

“Love And War” to me, sounds like something Jake E Lee wrote for Badlands. A bluesy feel with some solid rock talent behind it. The limp bass line opening “False Flag” makes it hard to get to the interesting bits, which are fast and heavy, and not at all bad. I was expecting the closing track to be a throw away ballad, and “The Light” started off that way. It turned into what might be the most aggressive track on this album, with a hard edge.

Sleaze Roxx reviewed the first album by Last in Line back in 2016. In that review, there were questions about how this line-up could perform without Ronnie James Dio at the mic. It was said, “You can’t reunite Dio without Ronnie. But, luckily, what Last In Line released is a fitting tribute that sees old friends reunite and not attempt to rip off or tarnish the legacy of Dio in any way. In fact, they revisit the past just enough to make you remember how great this line-up was and yet create a natural progression of sound by all of the musicians involved, that leaves you eagerly waiting to see if they will release another album after the loss of Bain.”  Well, the band has moved on from Ronnie, and Jimmy, to create something unique to them as musicians, while still paying tribute to those who have gone before.

Track List:
01. II Intro
02. Blackout The Sun
03. Landslide
04. Gods And Tyrants
05. Year Of The Gun
06. Give Up The Ghost
07. The Unknown
08. Sword From The Stone
09. Electrified
10. Love And War
11. False Flag
12. The Light

Band Members:
Andrew Freeman – vocals
Vinny Appice – drums
Phil Soussan – bass
Vivian Campbell – guitars

Band Websites:
Official Website

Reviewed by Metal Mike for Sleaze Roxx, February 2019

Last In Line‘s “Landslide” video:

Last In Line – “Landslide” (Official Music Video)

Subscribe here for more videos – | From the album “II”. Get your copy NOW: “II” on Pl…

Last In Line‘s “Year Of The Gun” video:

Last In Line – “Year Of The Gun” (Official Lyric Video) #RockAintDead

Subscribe here for more videos – | From the album “II”. Get your copy NOW: “II” on Pl…