Sound — 10
If there was ever a point at which the iconic heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio could have made anything even remotely capable of being referred to as "pop metal," "sleaze metal" or anything that most of the most popular bands during the heyday of his solo career in the 1980s were doing, then this album, "The Last in Line" would probably be where you might find some songs or elements that depending on your opinion may slightly have "pop metal" leanings. Fear not, Dio never went the way of KISS, but this is still an overall more light, mellow record than "Holy Diver" and I was quite surprised upon first hearing the entire album, that only the title track ever gets radio airplay.
Lyrics — 10
The core Dio sound is alive and well on "The Last in Line," with artistic, melodic and heavy instrumentation providing a backer for Ronnie James Dio's legendary, operatic-influenced singing skills. At certain points on this album, like with most Dio albums, you can feel that there is also a very strong influence from classical music, which unlike with some metal musicians who claim that Beethoven and Bach influenced them, yet play stuff that sounds like trash, Dio and his band seem to actually have taken the time to incorporate it into the songs in a way that works. The majority of the lyrics on this album sound like one of two things: epic fantasy or Sammy Hagar.
Overall Impression — 10
I would say this is probably my favorite album of the entirety of Ronnie James Dio's solo career. I can't exactly pinpoint any one particular reason why, however, it's a very unique fusion of the better parts of mainstream 1980s MTV-fueled pop metal and the epic melodic power metal that everyone who truly is a Dio fan knows as his "trademark sound." I would never call any Dio album "pop metal" as a main genre, this is still overall a standard heavy metal album, but it does have a somewhat radio-friendly feel to it. If you've never heard of Dio and you like heavy metal, you need to check out this album and "Holy Diver," they just don't make heavy metal like this anymore.