Angry Machines

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Originally released on Mayhem in 1996, then reissued by Spitfire in 2000, Angry Machines was Dio's first effort away from Warner/Reprise, and it does find Ronnie James Dio looking for subtle ways to push into new territory. The lyrics mostly avoid Dio's familiar medieval-fantasy D&D obsessions, instead directing their attention to more real-world concerns (albeit with the same sense of drama). Similarly, there aren't many of the gothic neo-classicisms present on the band's best-known output; and while there are a few progressive sections, Angry Machines is more of a straightforward metal record, full of pounding rhythms and guitars along with plenty of wailing by Ronnie James Dio. The main problem is that the band often seems to concentrate on sound more than songwriting -- the album sounds good while it's playing, but not enough of the riffs or melodies stick with the listener afterwards to judge it a complete return to form. Yet there are enough moments here to make it worth the time of Dio diehards.

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