By Peter Lindblad
|The artwork for Last In Line's|
upcoming release 'Heavy Crown'
He was going to add to his enviable legacy with the Dio tribute band Last In Line, but his death over the weekend brought everything to a screeching halt, leading surviving members to push for the early release of a pair of videos for songs from the project's upcoming debut album Heavy Crown.
That seems fitting, as Bain was evidently chomping at the bit for the world to hear what Last In Line was about to unveil.
In a statement on social media recently Bain's Dio and Last In Line bandmate guitarist Vivian Campbell wrote, "Jimmy was immensely proud of our new album and his input to it was immeasurable. We will continue to celebrate his life through music." Campbell added that he was indebted to Bain, who gave him his first big break in the music industry.
Formed in 2012 to pay homage to the work of late singer Ronnie James Dio, Last In Line gathered together Bain, Campbell and drummer Vinny Appice – all of whom played on the Dio album of the same name. Going out and playing vintage Dio material and keeping the spirit of their old friend alive was the mission, but then the threesome began writing their own stuff. They later brought in singer Andrew Freeman to round out the group. Last In Line was performing on Def Leppard's "Hysteria On The High Seas" cruise when Bain passed away. Saddened by his loss, the remaining members have issued a new lyric video for "Blame It On Me" and a proper music video for "Starmaker," with their debut LP Heavy Crown slated for a Feb. 19 release on Frontiers Music SRL.
Both songs are slow burners, with "Blame It On Me" taking shape as a methodical, steady march with gradually developing hooks that wrap listeners in a sleeper hold. Heavy beats drop like cinder blocks from the sky, as Bain stomps and smolders, Freeman's vocals sound positively sinful and Campbell's riffs hit like a punch to the solar plexus, before a melodic passage hints at redemption. In the lyric video for the track, a nicely arranged slide show of images of Last In Line members seems haunting given the circumstances, dredging up nostalgic emotions and wistful remembrances. The confessional tone of the lyrics only adds to the sense of melancholy.
The lyric video for "Blame It One Me" can be seen below:
In similar fashion, "Starmaker" stalks like a predator, as Bain's seductive groove locks in with Appice's weighty thud, Freeman emits a soulful and bluesy wail and Campbell's guitar attack is tough, menacing and sharp. It's as if Altar Bridge had taken to channeling Dio-era Black Sabbath. There's just enough modern pop-metal sheen to shine a light in what is, otherwise, a trip to the dark side of fame. A straight performance video, filmed with good definition and drained of color, the imagery captures the gritty personality and cohesiveness of a quartet that was just beginning to realize its potential. See the video for "Starmaker" below:
As for Bain's legacy, his contributions to rock, though mighty, came mostly in a supporting role, rather than a lead. Still, he left his mark, despite issues with substance abuse. It's not just that he served as bassist for both Rainbow – enlisted by Ritchie Blackmore for the second version of the band that made Rising –and Dio, though that would be enough to qualify him for metal and hard rock sainthood for some. He was integral to the success of both iconic groups, serving as their steely, but flexible, backbone.
There was also a short three-year stint with Wild Horses, the group that boasted ex-Thin Lizzy guitarist Brian Robertson and produced two albums over that span. Robertson then went on to join Motorhead, while the versatile Bain lent his talents to recordings by Roy Harper, Gary Moore and Kate Bush and later worked with close friend Phil Lynott on his two solo LPs. Oh, and Bain also played keyboards, and in a bit of '80s Cold War rock 'n' roll intrigue, as the story goes, he was secretly recruited by German metal legends The Scorpions to play bass on their smash hit album, Love At First Sting.
With Dio, Bain co-wrote legendary songs "Rainbow in the Dark" and "Holy Diver," and helped pen other tracks for Dio records The Last in Line, Sacred Heart, Intermission, Dream Evil and Killing The Dragon. World War III arrived, pairing Bain with vocalist Mandy Lion, but that project was cut short, and Bain returned to Dio for the making of 2000's Magica.
More recently, however, Bain became involved in Last In Line, and that apparently was a labor of love for an artist who'd battled demons and still made an impact on the lives of his bandmates and fans.