After the monumental “Holy Diver”, little man Dio had huge expectations to meet with the follow-up and boy did he deliver!! An album like this really just makes me smile form ear to ear – when someone reaches deep down and comes up with something that is even better than the aforementioned album. Of course many will disagree with me here, but I do feel that this album blows “Holy Diver” out of the water.
You see whereas Holy Diver had some really brilliant songs, it also contained some real bummers (to me at least) like “Straight Through The Heart” and “Shame On The Night”. On this album the quality is consistent throughout and the songs are more epic and diverse than before. You get everything on here: speedy numbers (“We Rock”, “I Speed At Night”), the ballad-like song (“Mystery”), catchy old school Metal songs (“One Night In The City”, “Evil Eyes”) and the obligatory epic number (“Egypt..”). Even though he dabbles with all these different styles, Dio never disappoints on this one, whether it’s the great driving riff in opener “We Rock”, the very ethereal keyboard intro in the title track or the all out Thrash-iness of “I Speed At Night”, it never fails to impress.
The line up is almost unchanged from the previous outing, with the only change being Claude Schnell replacing the great Jimmy Bain on keys. The boys are all in fine fettle here, especially Vivian Campbell whose guitar playing is a bit more varied and adventurous this time around. As has always been the case (fortunately) the production is excellent and all the instruments and little nuances are clearly audible.
Hell, there really isn’t a lot more to say about this little gem. It is always somewhat overlooked due to its much lauded predecessor and the other great Dio efforts that followed, like “Dream Evil”, but this one is a killer.
If you want Grade-A traditional Metal with class, brains and majesty, look no further than “The Last In Line”. A Classic!! (Online April 12, 2006)