In the eight-minute video below, the four members of LAST IN LINE — guitarist Vivian Campbell, drummer Vinny Appice, vocalist Andrew Freeman and bassist Phil Soussan — give you insight into the making of their "II" album.
"II" will be released on February 22 via Frontiers Music Srl. As with 2016's "Heavy Crown", the new disc was produced by DOKKEN and FOREIGNER bassist Jeff Pilson.
LAST IN LINE was formed in 2012, when Vinny Appice, Jimmy Bain and Vivian Campbell — Ronnie James Dio's co-conspirators and co-writers on the "Holy Diver", "Last In Line" and "Sacred Heart" albums — teamed up with esteemed vocalist Andrew Freeman. The debut album "Heavy Crown" was released in February 2016, landing at No. 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Initially, the release had been preceded by tragedy when bassist Jimmy Bain unexpectedly passed away at the age of 68 on January 23, 2016. LAST IN LINE, honoring what they knew would be Bain's wish to keep the band moving, brought in renowned bassist Phil Soussan (ex-OZZY OSBOURNE) and committed to sustained touring in support of the album, hitting festivals, headlining clubs, and sharing the stage with metal luminaries such as SAXON and MEGADETH.
In late 2017, the band gathered in Los Angeles to start the recording of the second album, which was produced by the band members and Jeff Pilson (FOREIGNER, DOKKEN), who also helmed the debut album. Having really jelled as a band while touring in support of the first disc, the songwriting came readily to the members. They've created a record that shows a big progression in sound, while immediately being recognizable as LAST IN LINE thanks to Appice's rhythms, thunderous bass from Soussan, amazing vocals from Freeman, and the roaring guitars of Campbell.
"The musical style of 'II' is different from 'Heavy Crown', but it wasn't something that we planned to do," explains Campbell. "Phil is a more intricate player than Jimmy was and that, together with the natural growth and development of the band led us to the songs on the album. As always, we simply started to jam on ideas and see where they led us. But it's fair to say that the songs on this album sound more developed, with more parts and more experimentation than the songs on 'Heavy Crown'. The first album set a tone, but on 'II' we developed that idea and took it to the next logical stage."
Appice, on the sound of the new record and songwriting process, says: "I always sound like me. Viv and I have been playing together for years and have the same feel and pulse and attitude. Now with Phil on bass, he allows a more melodic approach on the bass parts making the songs even more interesting. He fits in perfectly being from the same musical family and time as me and Viv. Mr. Freeman sings from his soul and completes the band's sound with his melodies and amazing range."
He continues: "The songwriting process was the same as DIO's 'Holy Diver'. First, we have fun writing together. We get in a room and jam on riffs and chords until we hit on something good, then continue to build it into a song. Andy puts his magic on it and it all works out very well."
Soussan says about how it was joining LAST IN LINE and the development of the songs: "It was refreshing to be able to write songs in such an organic fashion — by jamming and developing ideas as a group, without bringing in preconceived songs — something I haven't done for ages. The result was a true collaboration, a concept that is so rare these days! Vinny has a unique style of drumming that, beyond keeping beats, inspires riffs and arrangements and Vivian has a way of playing that has a conviction to every note. He is able to turn every riff into a signature. Andrew was creative and unrestricted, focusing his contemporary influences into vocal stylings and hooks that are outside the classic rock clichés. He is very much a perfectionist. Beyond trying to remain true to Jimmy's playing and to the heritage of the relationship between Viv and Vinny, everyone was completely open to exploring any possible idea. I am honestly prouder of our efforts on this album than anything in which I have been involved in for a very long time. With 'II', I would like to think that we have stretched out from 'Heavy Crown' to test some uncharted waters.... the evolution of LAST IN LINE!"
"II" track listing:
02. Blackout The Sun
04. Gods And Tyrants
05. Year Of The Gun
06. Give Up The Ghost
07. The Unknown
08. Sword From The Stone
10. Love And War
11. False Flag
12. The Light
Bain was reportedly suffering from lung cancer at the time of his death.