Category Archives: Last In Line

Last In Line – Heavy Crown [Album Review]

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Last In Line – Heavy Crown
2016, Frontiers Records

Buy the album

1. Devil In Me
2. Martyr
3. Starmaker
4. Burn This House Down
5. I Am Revolution
6. Blame It On Me
7. In Flames
8. Already Dead
9. Curse the Day
10. Orange Glow
11. Heavy Crown
12. The Sickness

Band:
Andrew Freeman – Vocals
Vivian Campbell – Guitar
Jimmy Bain – Bass
Vinny Appice – Drums

Producer: Jeff Pilson

If you bought this album expecting to hear music similar to the first three Dio albums, prepare your to be disappointed. Despite using their Dio connection for marketing purposes, Heavy Crown doesn’t attempt to make another Holy DiverThe Last In Line, or Sacred Heart. Instead, a lot of the music on Heavy Crown is quite modern sounding. While the group initially joined together to celebrate the music they created with Ronnie James Dio back in the 1980’s, the new material does not find itself dwelling in nostalgia or going for a “retro” feel.

These songs were not written for someone like a Ronnie James Dio to sing. Andrew Freeman sounds nothing like Ronnie. His voice is much more suited to a modern hard rock sound and that’s a lot of what Heavy Crown brings to the table — a more contemporary hard rock sound. There are a few old school moments with songs like “Devil In Me” and “Starmaker” almost seems a Dio-style sound brought into modern times. Other songs like “The Sickness” and “Curse the Day” could easily be heard on radio today. Some of this stuff songs like Alter Bridge or Shinedown.

Heavy Crown is a solid album but I think where it becomes a slight disappointment is in regards to the Dio connection. I mean, the band originally formed to play Dio songs and named themselves after a Dio album they all played. Then they release original material using that same band name, with an album cover that looks like something the Dio band might’ve had but the music inside really doesn’t sound like Dio at all. I think that’s a bit of an unfair game for the band to play with fans and it probably sells the band short a bit as well. No one is getting what they are asking for.

Also, there’s the lack of keyboards. Original Dio keyboardist Claude Schnell was originally part of the band, but was ejected when it came time to write and record new songs because Vivian felt keyboards weren’t needed. Great guy, that Vivian.

Taken on its own terms, Heavy Crown is a solid hard rock album with some definite leanings to the old school. It’s worth checking out for sure and perhaps it will grow on me more as I continue to listen to it. It seems I like it more with each spin I give it.

Sadly, this is last album to ever feature legendary Rainbow/Dio bassist Jimmy Bain, as he passed away shortly after the album’s released. If there’s a tour or second album, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jeff Pilson to step in since he not only produced this album but he was also a bassist in the Dio band for a few years.

Highlights: “Devil In Me”, “Blame It On Me”, “Curse the Day”, “Orange Glow”

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