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Dio

The Last In Line

Review by Greg Olma

The Last In Line has always felt like “Son of Holy Diver” to me. It’s a great album from start to finish, and even a filler here or there does not distract from the overall record. If you look at the previous three records Ronnie James Dio was involved with, you can see a pattern on song placement and overall flow of each record. Even though Holy Diver was (and still is) the best Dio album, The Last In Line follows as a close second. There is a little bit of variety on this one with a pop metal tune thrown in there to try to get a hit single/radio play. There are a couple of epics in the title track and album closer, but overall this is a solid release from the classic line-up of Dio.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) in Music Street Journal: 2020  Volume 1. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2020.

Track by Track Review
We Rock
Things start off with this quick rocker that is a call to arms in much the same way “Stand Up And Shout” was on the previous record. It’s a thumping metal tune that moves along nicely and was the perfect encore for future tours.
The Last In Line
Here is where Dio (both the man and the band) shine. This epic title track starts off slow, but before you know it, Dio belts out “home,” and the tune turns into an epic piece with some great guitar work from Vivian Campbell.
Breathless
Breathing sounds usher in this tune that is good but falls a bit flat compared to the rest of the material. There is a good amount of melody, and the chorus is catchy enough, but there is something missing. “Breathless” should not be skipped, but it won’t make any Dio playlists either.
I Speed At Night
Now this is more like it. This fast paced metal tune is the unsung hero of this record. It sounds like each musician is racing to finish the track, but somehow it works. The music is very frenetic, and Dio seems to be singing with a “keep up with me” attitude. In my opinion, “I Speed At Night” is one of the more overlooked great songs in the Dio catalogue.
One Night In The City
The band slow down a bit but still keeps things moving along nicely in this mid-paced rocker. This is another standout piece on The Last In Line and keeps up the quality of the whole album.
Evil Eyes
This was a B-side for the “Holy Diver” single from the year before. They even played it as an encore for the Holy Diver tour. This version is re-recorded for The Last In Line and has a slightly more polished sound compared to the original. As a song, I thought it was good enough to be on Holy Diver, so I was happy that they finally put on this record but truth be told, I like the original rawer version better. Still, this album is a bit more polished, and this new version fits the album better.
Mystery
Another hit single in the vein of “Rainbow In The Dark” is what the band was going for with this tune. It is a lot more pop metal, but the melody and chorus are really infectious. I remember not liking the track back in 1984, but with time I have grown to like it.
Eat Your Heart Out
Even though this one shows all the signs of being a filler, it is a great tune. There is some great riffing, and the track had a very demo feel, even though it is fully produced. Dio is almost spitting out the lyrics, and you can hear the venom in his voice. This one was trotted out on stage very rarely, but must not have made much of a mark with fans. I like the guitar work, the vocals and overall feel of this mid-paced rocker.
Egypt (The Chains Are On)
The record ends on an epic plodding number that was a show stopper on stage. Previous records that RJD was involved with showed the discs ending with a slower, moody number, and The Last In Line follows the pattern. 
 
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