Last In Line – Heavy Crown (Frontiers)

Genre: Heavy Rock

It’s nigh on impossible to judge Heavy Crown through anything other than rose-tinted spectacles given the tragedy that has struck this most unlikely incarnation of Dio.

Quite apart from Vivian Campbell’s ongoing battle with cancer, the sudden death of bass player Jimmy Bain has cast a considerable shadow over Last In Line’s eagerly anticipated debut. And as a consequence of the fate befalling the band it almost seems crass to criticise what is, in reality, a bang average hard rock record.

Nevertheless, it’s with a heavy heart when we say that Heavy Crown is light on substance: an album conceived by a bunch of the industry’s biggest hitters that simply fails to realise its obvious potential. It’s not bad but it’s not the best set you’ll hear all year.

If the plan was to evoke Holy Diver-era Dio then the decision to employ vocalist Andrew Freeman seems bizarre. A brilliant singer in his own right, he’d be better fronting a post-grunge outfit more befitting of his Chris Cornell-esque tone – Last In Line offers the seasoned pro little opportunity to shine.

Devil In Me, Starmaker and feisty closer The Sickness are all solid hard rock anthems boasting a slick production and undeniable pedigree. But the spark that made Dio’s band so special back in the early 80s is never truly reignited here.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 6/10 Heavy Rotation