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Many consider Sacred Heart to be a step down from The Last in Line but I conclude the opposite. The Last in Line while having better standouts than Sacred Heart doesn’t have as good of an overall cohesive structure. Like Sacred Heart The Last in Line is more speed metal based than Dio’s debut album Holy Diver. The Last in line is less repetitive considering more focus on changing riffs than chorus based songs.
The songs range from mid-tempo traditional/power metal songs to the more speed metal numbers like We Rock. The choruses are strong as usual but like on Sacred Heart most of the songs are more lead and riff based than on Holy Diver. The Last in Line is a bit heavier than Dio’s debut and on ever future release the albums would continue to get heavier. This time around The Last in Line epic number is the awesome Egypt (The Chains Are On) being easily one of Dio’s most melodic and greatest songwriting accomplishments of his long career.
Ronnie James Dio’s voice shines the most on the title track and Egypt (The Chains Are On). His performances on the rest of the songs are average for him but nothing special. Vivian Campbell guitar work is the highlight of the album and really shows his abilities to draw you in on his leads and solos. Jimmy Bain hasn’t changed since Holy Diver his bass guitar is still audible and his performance is solid. Vinny Appice’s drum work is more solid here than on Holy Diver unfortunately he doesn’t really bring much attention to himself. A new member is present in Claude Schnell he shows that he is much better at providing keyboard atmosphere than Dio was.
The Last in Line unfortunately has its fair share of weaknesses as well. A few filler songs are present which really brings down the albums effectiveness. While the album standouts are pretty good they aren’t as entertaining as on Holy Diver. Finally Dio’s lyrics are easily some of his corniest yet and make many of the songs funnier than they are entertaining.
The Last in line isn’t as good as Holy Diver but is certainly a solid follow up. Best songs are We Rock, I Speed at Night, Evil Eyes, and the album standout Egypt (The Chains Are On). I recommend this album to Ronnie James Dio aficionados and any fan of classic power metal.
-10 points filler songs are present bringing the score down a lot
-5 points weaker standouts and overall weaker album than Dio’s debut
-5 points some of Dio’s corniest lyrics of his career