Classic Songs to Be Discovered, Influenced, Music, My Stories, Unsung Heroes

The Record Vault: Dio – The Last In Line

The Vinyl Cover
The Cassette Cover.

Did anyone else think that the Dio logo upside down spelled Devil?

I did.

“The Last In Line” was my first Dio purchase and I played the cassette a lot. There isn’t a song I don’t like on it and if you want an introduction to Dio, then this is the album to sink your teeth into. Vivian’s guitar work also became very influential to me.

To this day, I still have the original cassette.

But I cannot locate the LP and the CD which I purchased much later on. As part of my many house moves I lost a lot of music.

The band is the same as the “Holy Diver” album with Ronnie James Dio on vocals, Vivian Campbell on guitars, Jimmy Bain on bass and Vinny Appice on drums.

We Rock

How good is the Intro?

Appice is working away on that snare while Campbell plays the A minor pedal point riff.

And that solo from Vivian Campbell is perfect. It’s fast and melodic and it has a bluesy feel with doublestop bends and pentatonic licks.

The best part is the outro chorus when Vivan is playing the Am pedal point riff and the chords change from Am to F under it via Jimmy Bain whole Dio is ad libbing his vocals and Appice is driving the song home.

You can’t get better at that.

On Spotify it’s got 22 million streams.

The Last In Line

Sitting at 33.2 million Spotify streams.

That fingerpicked intro.

How good is the section when Dio holds the “home” vocal note and the band comes crashing in around him with an epic “Kashmir” like groove.

And the stop start music in the verse so the vocal melody is the centerpiece, goes to show how a strong melody can carry a song.

“Well know for the first time if were evil or divine” is one of the best lines Dio has put to paper.

For so many of us we live a life which we think we’ve done good and when it comes to judgement at the pearly gates, the almighty one might have other views.

Breathless

If the sound of a person being breathless in the intro isn’t enough to get you interested, then that groovy riff that kicks in will do it.

Dio’s strength (apart from his voice and good business sense) was the addition of a young guitarist that resonated with the youth and all the new young shredders who wanted to make their mark in Hard Rock and Metal.

Even though they parted ways bitterly, the three albums Dio did with Vivian set up Dio’s solo career, in the same way the two albums Ozzy did with Randy Rhoads set up Ozzy’s solo career.

Check out Campbell’s solo on this and the snare work from Appice to come out of the solo.

One other thing that I always enjoyed with Dio songs is Dio’s ability to ad lib in the Outro.

I Speed At Night

A speed metal song before speed metal became a thing or a genre. If you don’t believe me, then press play on this song.

If the riff sounds familiar, it should. It’s “Stand Up And Shout” re-imagined.

And that solo again from Vivian. It’s perfect.

One Night In The City

The music is head banging material for a song that introduces a dark child called Johnny, who was promised but seemed to get into trouble and then found some form of love.

Did you get that?

Cool. I’m still confused.

And what about the drum fills from Appice after the solo and into the outro.

Who said drummers are not important?

I can even air play the fills.

Evil Eyes

They promise you treasure if you fly and fly Dio did. It’s a perfect combination of fast blues and metal.

And Campbell again steals the spotlight with his guitar hero solo.

Mystery

It’s in the key of Dm and it moves between major and minor keys throughout like F major in the chorus and D minor in the verses.

The Intro has moments of “Rainbow In The Dark”.

And Vivian is on form again in the guitar solo department.

Eat Your Heart Out

In the key of Em and Vivian is all over this one. From a guitar point of view there is a lot to unpack in the riffs department.

And for the guitar solo, what can I say. Vivian kicks it off with a tapping lick before blazing into some arpeggios and finishing it all off with some pentatonic lines.

It might not be Dio’s most famous song but it’s a guitar players delight.

Egypt (The Chains Are On)

The best track on the album for me and the drumming from Vinnie Appice is excellent under the epic and groovy guitar riff.

The verse riff is basically the feel of “Heaven And Hell” and Dio references his singing style from the same song in the verses.

I love the lyric line, “when the world was milk and honey”. Dio puts it out there that the world was nice and sweet once upon a time and so far removed from the warmongering, greed and ills that came after. For singer well known for introducing the Devil horns salute, his lyrics are influenced by the Bible.

Did I mention that Appice lays down some serious groove?

Well he does. It’s so effective, so simple and fucking frightening.

And in the outro, Vivian plays the intro riff and the Jimmy Bain changes the chords under it, like in “We Rock” and it’s brilliant.

This is a band in form and on top of their game. Vinny Appice on the drums is an unsung hero on this.

For such an influential album in hard rock and heavy metal circles it’s certifications are at platinum for US sales.

By the end of the album I was doing the Devil horns. \::/

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