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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on March 31, 2012
This edition of The Last In Line is remastered by Andy Pearce as are the other Dio 2012 deluxe releases, which means, unlike other Deluxe Editions out there, this one isn't simply a volume bloated re-release. Very fine, clean and detailed sound, but just a tad bright. Disc 2 has some wonderful rare goodies that alone make this worthy of the purchase. The packaging is your standard for these editions, a wonderful foldout digipak and an informative booklet stuffed into one of the open flaps. Highly recommended edition if you have the cash. Tracklist below.

Disc 1 (Original newly remastered album)

01. We Rock
02. The Last In Line
03. Breathless
04. I Speed at Night
05. One Night In The City
06. Evil Eyes
07. Mystery
08. Eat Your Heart Out
09. Egypt (The Chains Are On)

Disc 2

01. Eat Your Heart Out (Live B-Side of Mystery)
02. Don't Talk To Strangers (Live B-Side of Mystery)
03. Holy Diver (Live B-Side We Rock)
04. Rainbow In The Dark (Live B-Side We Rock)

Live At The Pinkpop Festival 1984:
05. One Night In The City
06. We Rock
07. Holy Diver
08. Stargazer
09. Heaven And Hell
10. Rainbow In The Dark
11. Man On The Silver Mountain
12. Don't Talk To Strangers
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2001
Holy Diver was an excellent debut from Dio, and this album, just a year later, continued to show
Dio at full glory. Still, I think most people would agree that it does fall a bit short of Holy Diver,
but still it ranks very high. The album kicks off with one of heavy metal's top ever openers - We Rock.
And indeed it rocks. This is the classic type of metal opener you'd imagine: fast, furious and it rocks!
Excellent. The title track is next, and is the highlight of the album. The Last In Line for me is one
of Dio's top-3 songs ever, along with Holy Diver and Rainbow In The Dark, both from the previous album.
Everything is perfect about this song, and I think it would be correct to categorize it as something
between Holy Diver and Rainbow In The Dark, great stuff! Breathless is next and is a good metal song,
quite fast, decent chorus, and strong solo's. I Speed At Night has some of metal's best solo's, and
has an extemely cool riff. One Night In The City is a mid-tempo song with some strong riffs, that would
best be compared to 'Shame On The Night' from the previous album (nothing to do with the 'night' though).
Evil Eyes is another short and fast rocker, sort of like Gypsy, with strong lines throughout, very good. Mystery is a ballad, with some good keyboard work by Ronnie himself. Its slow but manages to stay solid.
It reminds you a little of Rainbow In The Dark, but surely not of that caliber. Eat Your Heart Out
is a nice mid-tempo song, with nice solo's by Vivian Campbell, once again.
The closing song is Dio's best ballad - Egypt (The Chains Are On). Its a slow song, but has excellent
crunching riffs, great lyrics, and is a real classic. At the same year Iron Maiden released
'Powerslave' which also deals with the same subject, has roughly the same length, and is also an excellent
song, interesting. In conclusion this is a very solid metal album. Not as good as Holy Diver, because some of the tracks
are just missing that energy crunch that was vivid throughout almost all of Holy Diver.
But its still a must for all Dio fans for sure, and for all serious metallists as well.
Excellent musicanship, and Dio has never reached this level of music ever since.
Highly recommended.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on May 9, 2003
THIS is EXACTLY what metal should sound like. Dio knows EXACTLY what he's doing. He truly is the metal God. Since I got this cd yesterday, I seriously have not stopped listening to it. I got in trouble for listening to it at work today. When I think "metal", I think DIO!!!
The opener "We Rock" is one of the best openers I have ever heard. It just takes hold of you and rocks the hell out of you. It is so cool because in the chorus, when he shouts "we rock!", you know he's so right!! The whole band is incredible, and when they play together, they truly do rock. The title track "The Last In Line" is incredible also. It has an epic kind of sound, and the main synth line is mind-blowing.
The intro to "Breathless" absolutely freaked the hell out of me. The breathing thing is insanely weird and freaky. Dio sings so well throughout the album too. Trading off with Vivian Campbell's awesome guitar soloing, they make one of the best vocalist-guitarist duos ever. Plus, the rhythm section is amazing too. Vinny Appice is one of my favorite drummers, and Jimmy Bain tears it up. The production is excellent, you can hear all the instruments perfectly at all times.
My favorite songs are "We Rock", "The Last In Line", "I Speed At Night" (a great fast rocker), "Mystery" (a really catchy single), and "Egypt (The Chains Are On)". This last song is one of the greatest album closers in metal history. Its main riff is totally awesome, and the whole song is an epic adventure in that slow-paced Dio kind of way.
What more can I say? Every single song is a winner, with the possible exception of "Eat Your Heart Out" which is kind of run-of-the-mill. But other than that one song, all the songs are top-notch metal. I couldn't have hoped for a better metal album. Dio typifies the perfect metal sound. He rocks, he knows it, and he sings about it.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2004
First and foremost, I am a longtime Dio fanatic, as I am sure you probably are if you're shopping for this album. This remaster is definitely worth the money; The Last in Line has always been a masterpiece marred my poor engineering. The 1984 issue of the album sounded great on tape, back when we didn't know any better. The CD version? Well, what was supposed to sound dark and epic came across as weak and tinny, with all the raucous gusto of a nasal bleat.
This Japanese remaster of The Last in Line captures all of the mix you could almost but not quite hear before, adding some much-needed low end punch to the mix. The opening chords of "We Rock" hit you with the sonic equivalent of a kick to the temple from a steel-toed work boot. You can hear all -- and I mean ALL -- of Vivian Campbell's nuances on the guitar, from harmonics to whammy bar divebombs that were previously lost to the drums. Jimmy Bain's bass playing comes forward in stunning clarity, yet doesn't drown out the rest of the mix. And, of course, Vinny Appice's drumming sounds better than ever; you can tell you're listening to cymbals and not recording hiss. Of course, bear in mind, the original tapes were done in 1983-84, and you can tell by Ronnie's vocals, but I feel that it adds a certain charm.
Overall, the remaster adds some badly needed air to the studio. If you listen closely during "Breathless," you can hear Vivian's amplifier hum. You can actually distinguish what he's playing now as well, which, for a guitarist such as myself, is nigh to a religious experience. This disc puts the spotlight back on the whole band, rather than just Ronnie. Give it a listen, and you can see why Vivian Campbell was one of the few men who could be considered Randy Rhoads' contemporary counterpart. A must for hardcore fans and collectors, and probably not a bad idea for a casual fan who doesn't already have the original.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
After being booted from Sabbath in 1982, Ronnie James Dio came back with a roaring storm as a solo artist with Holy Diver. The album was a perfect slab of metal at it's finest, showing his old bandmates and rival Ozzy he could most definitely stand out on his own. For his next album, The Last in Line, he continued in the similar vein as Holy Diver. But for some reason, besides the 3 hit singles We Rock, the title track and Mystery, this album seems to be a bit underrated. It firmly holds up to the incredible debut, each song is a killer, with no filler. It is apparent in this album where Dio would go on to later in his career for the next few years, for a slight more accessible sound(IE 'Mystery), but still retaining his metal roots.

So how does this Deluxe version hold up? Quite excellent in every sense. This blows the previous original 80's CD out of the water, right from the get-go of 'We Rock', it's a sonic bliss this album has needed for well over 20 years. The remastering is prestine, not overly compressed but a healthy, warm sound that bring out the best of each instrument. The bonus content is welcome for the collector and/or hardcore fans,from B-sdies to displaying Dio live at his height as a solo artist in the mid-80's. This version is highly recommened for hardcore fans or even ones who want a better sounding version, this deluxe edition does justice to Ronnie's legacy(R.I.P.). Here's hoping they do the same for Dream Evil, Lock Up The Wolves and Strange Highways(especially the awful-sounding original Dream Evil they shell out in bargain bins in almost every CD store). This Rocks!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on November 30, 2005
After a classic like Holy Diver, how could you come up with an album as awesome? Well...Dio came very close with his second album The Last In Line. Very metal! Vivian is still wailing and Ronnie is still in peak form and aside from a few soft spots, this album has classic metal written all over it. We Rock, The Last In Line, One Night In The City, I Speed At Night, Breathless, Eat Your Heart Out & Egypt (The Chains Are On) all rock on every level. Mystery is a little too reminiscent of Rainbow In The Dark & Evil Eyes is the Diet Coke of Metal (Just one calorie, not metal enough!) Still a stellar effort! I saw Dio in '84 on the Last In Line tour in San Diego from the front row and I gotta tell you it was AWESOME! Still one of my favorite albums of all time!

Dig it!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 22, 2000
This is not quite as good as "Holy Diver", but it is a nice follow-up. I remember it really solidified Dio as a metal force in the mid-80's after the buzz created by "Holy Diver".
There are a few weaker tracks, but "We Rock" does and "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" is a masterful epic. "Evil Eyes" is quite fine, too.
I like the title track even though it is from the same cookie-cutter as "Children of the Sea" and "Sign of the Southern Cross". Similarly, "Mystery" does kind of a pop twist on "Rainbow in the Dark", and it is not good.
Anyway, this is pretty good, but if you are new to Dio, you would be better served to pick up his stuff with Rainbow or Black Sabbath. Vivian Campbell is good, but he's no match for Blackmore or Iommi.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2007
Dio's debut album, "Holy Diver" was a metal classic, so Dio and company decided to do the same thing again. . .plus a few changes and compromises presumably intended to gain more airplay. Now, there really isn't anything wrong with this in theory, especially since metal like this was mainstream at the time anyway, but, in practice, these changes weakened the sound a fair bit. The biggest hit, by far, comes in the production. The guitars are weak and distant and just totally wussed out. Now, "Holy Diver" wasn't exactly the most bone-crushingly heavy album you're ever gonna here, and it was more about the energy and catchiness than the intensity. Nevertheless, this is metal, and you need some crunch, and "The Last in Line" just doesn't have enough. Beyond this, they've also increased the number of synths they used. I've no strict ban against synths in metal, but they need be used sparingly and well, which doesn't always happen here. They're not a huge problem, but a few tracks are weakened by poor synth work.

More significant than the minor changes in the sound, however, is the drop off in the quality of the songwriting. Most of the songs here are quite good, a few very good, but it's got nowhere near the consistency of "Holy Diver". Like that album, "The Last in Line" opens with a speed metal opener followed by the more mid-paced title track. Both are solid, if not totally remarkable. ("I Speed At Night" would've been a better opener, as it's another speed-metal number, but just better than "We Rock") "Breathless" is the first real standout, a good, driving mid-paced track with one of those unforgettable Dio choruses. "One Night in the City" is even better, and probably the best track here. It's one of the most overtly commerical tracks here, a quaso-ballad story song, but it's still the strongest track, with Dio's most intense, operatic vocals on the album.

The second half isn't as solid as the first, though it too has no obvious filler. (Though "Mystery" come close.) "Egypt (The Chains Are On)" is probably the strongest track here. Honestly, there should probably be more going on in it, as it's meant to be an epic, but it never gets dull, and Dio's overwhelming vocals carry the day once again. The lyrics are a bit silly, but that's part of the fun. "Evil Eyes" is probably the next best late track, and is fairly comparable to "Breathless", if not quite as good, though it suffers from some unneeded synth work.

I'm coming across as more critical of "The Last in Line" than I actually feel. It's a solid metal album through and through. Still, comparisons to "Holy Diver" are inevitable, and "The Last in Line" is bound to come up short when looked at this way. Still, it's more than worthwhile in its own right.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2007
After releasing the landmark recording Holy Diver, the pressure was on for Dio to produce a follow-up that would do it justice. 1984's Last In Line was that album, perhaps not quite as perfect as it's predecessor but very close.

THE PACKAGING: Last in Line sports terrific cover art, with enslaved minions portrayed laboring in scene of ruin and destruction. The demon Murray (Dio's unofficial mascot) looms over the scene, his hands formed into Ronnie James Dio's trademark horns. Like most pre-CD jacket art, it was MUCH cooler on a 12-inch LP sleeve instead of these tiny CD jewel cases. There's not much to the liner notes, just a track listing, credits, and the chorus lyrics for the song "Last In Line".

THE BAND: The same lineup that recorded Holy Diver is featured here as well, with the rhythm section consisting of Vinny Appice on drums and Jimmy Bain on bass providing the foundation for the guitar histrionics of Vivian Campbell and powerful vocals courtesy of the great Ronnie James Dio. This core lineup is now augmented by keyboardist Claude Schnell, who was initially hired for the Holy Diver concert tour and wound up sticking around to record the next few albums.

THE SOUND: If anything the musicians sound even better than they did on Holy Diver. This band positively smokes, and the experience of playing live together night after night on the Holy Diver tour did wonderous things for their interaction as a group. Individually thay're great players; the tour turned them into a fully integrated machine. Guitarist Vivian Campbell plays with the same fire that characterised his Holy Diver performance, but with a refinement that speaks of greater maturity. Drummer Vinny Appice is powerful and dynamic, and bassist Jimmy Bain plays with his usual solidity and outdoes himself in terms of inventiveness; dig his bassline on the title track. RJD is in rare form, turning in one of the best vocal performances of his career. Although keyboards aren't heavily featured on this album Claude Schnell actually manages to contribute quite a bit, adding texture to the songs in subtle ways. RJD himself serves as producer on this recording, and the experience he gained in recording Holy Diver shows through tremendously here, creating a much fuller and more balanced sound. I don't understand why so many reviewers are clamoring for a remaster; most remasters I've heard only serve to screw up great classic recordings.

THE SONGS: Like Holy Diver, Last In Line is simply jam-packed with classic tunes. Opening track "We Rock" certainly does, and it's immediately followed by the breathtaking title track, featuring arching chords and RJD's patented fantasy-fiction lyricism. It's one of Dio's best songs ever. The fast-paced "Breathless" is one of the weaker tracks featured here, but it's followed by the great hard rocker "I Speed At Night" and the mid-tempo stomper "One Night In The City", which is a great change of pace and finds RJD pursuing more real-world lyrical territory. "Evil Eyes" is next, another great fast rocker (this album is full of 'em) with some killer riffing from Vivian Campbell, and then comes "Mystery", a mysterious foray into pop-metal territory that somehow works. "Eat Your Heart Out" is the one true throwaway here; it's interesting but is ruined by an awful chorus. The album closes with a true classic, the slow and powerful epic "Egypt (The Chains Are On)". Another of Dio's top ten.

THE BOTTOM LINE: Seven killer songs, one average rocker and one stinker. You really can't ask for much more than that. It's not quite as good as Holy Diver, but then what is? You can't really go wrong with classic Dio, and this album is a real gem. Don't hesitate to pick it up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 12, 2005
Well, I have to agree in part with Carl Lentner and the Kid: Carl, Dio rules, and Sabbath was better off for his manning the barricades with his stellar tenor. Tommy Iommi, you may well note also fired Ozzy; He didn't want the competition. Oh, well.

Nevertheless, Slayer rules too. Kerry King.....what can I say about him except that he wields quite a chain saw.

Dio really overshot on his premiere offering, "Holy Diver." It was all downhill from there. A perfect album, it would have been rare for any other act, but Dio had come a long way since his do-wop days with Ronnie Dio and the Prophets. Helming Elf, Rainbow and -- at long last -- Black Sabbath, his teeth were honed razor sharp for Dio's entry into the Pantheon of Metal Gods.

I rate this album slightly lower than "Holy Diver," though I must say he maintained quite the standard. While listeners may have been used to his long sustain (I remember once listening to a song in which he held a note for over a minute!) he starts clipping off notes in staccato fashion on this record, most notably in "One Night in the City." He wails on the title track, but it seems the end of one era and the beginning of another.

"We Rock," a Diofied arena-rousing anthem opens this set, and it bears some resemblance to Quiet Riot and Twisted Sister tunes from the same era. However, these bands were nothing to sneeze at.

Fans of concept rock will not be sorry with the closing track, "Egypt (The Chains Are On)," Dio's rock operatic paean to the flight of the Jews from the land of Pharoahs and Pyramids. It is a quite fitting composition for this fallen rock god, a golden calf to succor the thirst for idolatry of his minions.

There is an answer to Dio's riddle, "We'll know for the first time / If we're evil or divine / We're the last in line." When you get to purgatory, you'll find out!
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