On first listen, Angry Machines may seem like a major disappointment, considering how fantastic Strange Highways was. However, if you listen to it a few more times you'll find that Angry Machines is actually a neat little record. True, there are less good ideas here than on Strange Highways, and Dio's voice has a weird effect to it that makes it sound just a tad mechanical (though considering the album title this may have been more than a tad intentional), but it's an album that delivers the goods nonetheless. Institutional Man may sound dirgy at first, but it sums up the album perfectly: sinister, paranoid and menacing. Hunter of the Heart and Golden Rules are both great numbers, the former probably the best song on the album, whilst Don't Tell the Kids, Black and Double Monday keep things running smoothly (the opening chord of Black, in particular, will definitely wake you up). Dio's voice is still on fine form (as it was up until his untimely death in May), belting out the tunes as passionately as ever. The weakest track - and arguably the only weak track - is, without a doubt, Stay Out of My Mind: clocking in at roughly seven minutes, it's just too long for its own good. This is Your Life is a bit of a strange end to the album, too: it's a lovely song, but a piano ballad is hardly the most conventional way to end such a heavy album - then again, Dio never was a band for convention! In the end, though, Angry Machines is a great album; and even if this was Dio at his weakest, as some might suggest, it's a testament to the man who really could do no wrong.
Hunter of the Heart
Stay Out of My Mind