LAST IN LINE – II
I have been eagerly awaiting the follow-up to Last in Line’s impressive and energetic debut offering and this sophomore effort of theirs simply entitled “II” rocks like a motherfucker and leaves very little to be desired. As with its predecessor, “II” boasts some truly memorable and thunderous tunes, but this time around there are more dynamics and variety in play, and the new songs have a bit more depth and soul to them compared to those of the first record.
Following a somewhat ominous and atmospheric intro, the talented ensemble launches into one of the very highlights of the record, namely “Blackout the Sun”, and it immediately becomes clear that these guys mean business and there is a fantastic sense of determination to the entire affair. The epic yet melancholy “Landslide” is just a gorgeous composition that is brilliantly arranged, and “Gods and Tyrants” is all-out thrilling with its many shades, nuances, and surprises. The aggressive “Year of the Gun” also rules and is perhaps the most easily accessible song on the record and contains some delightfully gritty vocals. Those are merely some of the loud and hard-hitting metal anthems present on the disc. Trust me, you are in for a treat here!
The album is strong and there is absolutely no lack of coherence to it. Freeman’s superb vocals sound even more heartfelt and convincing here than they did on the debut, which is saying something, and there is generally just an awful lot of conviction and passion to “II”, which is marvelous to behold. These guys are firing on all cylinders; the rumbling rhythm section consisting of Appice and Soussan is damn-near frightening and it is a pleasure to hear Campbell ripping it up on the guitar and having fun. There are many nods to the early DIO albums throughout, but Last in Line is a proper band with a musical identity of their own – make no mistake about that.
Huge riffs, infectious choruses, and great tracks are what “II” is all about, and this is a mandatory listen for fans of old-school metal. If you want a riveting record with heaps of excitement to it, look no further than this one. An early contender for album of the year perhaps?