Sunday, November 28, 2021

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Sound Check


Last in LineLast in Line
“Heavy Crown”
Frontiers Records

There are, ultimately, two criteria that factor into what makes an album “good” from a commercial standpoint. The first is “is the music any good?” In that regard, “Heavy Crown,” the first album of new material from 3/5 of Dio’s original lineup, passes. The songs are technically tight, reminscent of some of Dio’s early stuff (as one might expect), and highlight vocalist Andrew Freeman’s abilities well. The second question, however “will anyone care,” is where “Heavy Crown” might falter. For all of the ability that Last in Line may have as a band, most everything on the album feels like an early ’90s rock rehash. That may be perfectly fine when fighting for some Buckcherry fans, but might be a bit too blasé for any kind of larger audience. CV

Nest of SnakesPrint

If there is any question about whether or not Des Moines four-piece Nest of Snakes can flat-out play, they should be quashed. The band churns out some of the most consistently solid riffs you can find in the capital city’s healthy hard rock/metal scene. There are few places on “Shed” where this is as evident as the thunderous “Hammer of the Gods,” a four-and-a-half-minute instrumental ear pounding that is reminiscent of some of the great, early Black Sabbath instrumental digressions. From a technical standpoint, “Shed” is a bit hit or miss. The mixing is a bit of a slap-dash affair, with the vocals on opener “Chains and Sleeves” being buried practically to the point of inaudibility. The vocals on “Dark Star” sound a better but at the expense of the song’s low end. None of these issues should stop you from giving the album a listen, though they may prevent you from fully appreciating how good the music actually is. CV

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