Last in Line’s debut was unfortunately marked by the sudden and unexpected death of bassist Jimmy Bain; a tragic incident that naturally overshadowed the well-known health issue of Vivian Campbell. “Heavy Crown” was meant to be Bain’s last ever performance on an album and luckily for all of us it was a perfect swan song for him.
The truth is that Last in Line didn’t receive initially a warm welcome due to Campbell’s decision to revisit his past with Dio after all that was said between Ronnie and himself. Personally, I believe that Vivian Campbell had every right to do an album under the Last in Line tag for two reasons: a) he was an integral member of the compositional team of the first three classic Dio albums and b) Vinny Appice and Jimmy Bain were members of the original Dio line up.
Musically speaking, “Heavy Crown” is a really remarkable record that honors the glorious past but at the same time it looks straight ahead into the future and the modern heavy rock attitude. That being said; there are moments (eg. “Devil In Me”, “Starmaker”, “Heavy Crown”) that could have easily fit into a classic Dio album but we are also treated with some modern influenced songs like “Already Dead” and “I Am Revolution”. Viv’s guitar parts and solos are astonishing and remind of the good old 80s heydays when the title “guitar hero” met a newfound glory. The best (kept) secret on the album is Andrew Freeman whose voice doesn’t bring in mind Dio and he has such a distinguished raspy and melodic tone quality. Of course, Vinny Appice’s powerful drums are rooted straight into the heart of all those classic 80s albums and all in all I’d say that this is definitely a successful debut album by Last in Line and we sincerely hope for a similar (if not better) sophomore effort.
Highlight: The band management has done a perfect job in promoting at first the best songs on the album (“Devil in Me” and “Starmaker”) thus creating a buzz over the imminent release.