Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dio - The Last in Line

Following up their 1983 debut Holy Diver (click here for that review), the heavy metal band Dio returned to the studio to work on their next record. The result was The Last in Line which is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary today (July 13th). The album spent thirty-five weeks on the US Billboard Album chart, peaking at number 23. It is also reached number 51 in Canada, number 23 in Germany, number 7 in Norway, number 6 in Sweden and number 4 in the UK.

The 1984 release was the first by the group to include Claude Schnell on keyboards; he had previously been in the band Rough Cutt.

Side one begins with the appropriately uproarious “We Rock”. Listeners did not need the obvious title to tell us that, indeed, Dio did rock - hard. As the second single, it peaked at number 42 in the UK and number 14 on the US Mainstream Rock chart.

The title track “The Last in Line”, the third single, went to number 10 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. This track starts out like a gentle rock ballad; I was thinking “…what the…” as it was an unexpected surprise. But things take a one-eighty turn at the one minute mark. You got me good, Dio.

“Breathless” is up next. It certainly has a chorus that is contagious and will stick with you long after the four minute track ends.

The B-side to the first single was breakneck “I Speed at Night”.

“One Night in the City” closes out the first half with a tragic tale of youth gone wild.

Side two opens with “Evil Eyes”.

The first single was “Mystery” reached number 34 in the UK and number 20 on the US Mainstream Rock chart. I can see how this one charted as well since it has a crossover rock sound that was in line with other acts in the same genre at the time. That said, I did not find it as interesting as others on the record.

Next up is “Eat Your Heart Out”, a firm middle finger to a relationship that has come apart due to a cheating lover.

The album closes with seven minute epic “Egypt (The Chains Are On)”.

This was my first listen to The Last in Line, and I liked it well enough. It is one I would have to revisit a bit more before deciding to purchase though.

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