Monday, 9 November 2015

Dio "The Last In Line" (1984)

Dio are an American Heavy Metal band fronted by Ronnie James Dio who passed away in 2010. Named after their singer, ther band are very much defined by his soaring vocal presence, a powerful and melodic voice that can hold notes with an unrivaled tenacity. Being a metalhead of the 90s and 00s eras there are many 80s bands that are beyond my scope, but how Dio evaded me all these years is a mystery. The band have sold over ten million records and have a sound about as definitive of Heavy Metal as it gets, fitting in alongside the greats of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Ozzy Osbourne.

The record starts with the fist pumping, anthem-like sing along "We Rock" setting the tone for an energetic foray of arena rock Heavy Metal that never slows down. From start to end its just classic fist pumping, head banging Heavy Metal with rattling drums, big grooving baselines and heavy chord driven guitars. The records tempo slows at times with elements of Ballard rock. The occasional use of synths fit in well but for the most part its a pretty traditional approach executed with a spark to define it as Dio.

The guitar work is solid, a great balance of thrashier picking rhythms and drawn out power chords that are elevated thanks to an excellent set of baselines courtesy of Jimmy Bain. They hammer and groove with a warm and bold tone that's high in the mix without overpowering the over instruments. Its often the focus of the energy alongside Dio's powerful voice commanding every note he hits. On the front of theme and execution everything here is pretty typical of 80s Heavy Metal, however nothing is corny of cheap, this is pure quality from start to end and made for the live audience with each song feeling fit for a stage in front of thousands.

Favorite Tracks: We Rock, Mystery
Rating: 7/10