Angry Machines



by Robert Davis CONTRIBUTOR (204 Reviews)
May 2nd, 2014 | 12 replies

Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dio's disaster.

You know a metal band is completely uninspired when they decide to name one of their albums Angry machines. “Angry machines”? Really? There is a possible explanation for this, however. Maybe it was Dio's way of describing the half-hearted, unoriginal metal sound that flooded the band's seventh studio album, making it ever so slightly worse than Strange Highways. Contextually speaking, Angry Machines marks the end of a brief albeit somewhat disastrous era for Dio himself, not to mention what was left of his own band in the mid 90s. As a result, a great loss of existing long-time fans and poor record sales ensued, and it's not hard to realize why this all happened.

Angry Machines, from the very first moment of opener “Institutional Man”'s dull, monotonous guitar chords, seems to drag on forever, yet it is almost ten minutes shorter than its predecessor. Everything is relatively slow to mid-paced, but even when the band finally decide to speed up, as on “Don't tell the Kids”, it feels like a sorely missed opportunity which should have been taken care of sooner rather than later. Throughout the album, and this is probably a direct cause of the sloppy production values, the instrumental performance lacks so much. The drum work is decent enough on its own, but the rest of the rhythm section fails to reach even the same level of quality as that of Strange Machines. As much as it would pain me to say this, Dio's vocals are one of the worst flaws of Angry Machines. He sounds evidently tired with himself here, and together with a sub-par instrumental performance, it makes for a complete mess of a sound. Thus by the time ten minutes have passed, the listener will most likely switch off altogether, as the dull remains of “Black” come to an end.

Not everything is terrible here however, but you really have to do a lot of deep digging to find anything redeeming or memorable about Angry Machines. There are songs where Dio sings better than we ever expected him to, as on beautiful closer “This is your Life”. In fact, the album's closer is one of the best, most enchanting songs to have ever graced Dio's career, and it's not even down to the instrumentation. In fact, the majority of the song feels more like a classical piece than it does a so-so heavy metal tune. With Dio's angelic vocal performance (proving quite operatic as well), it really is one of the two moments on the album where you will nod your head in approval. “Double Monday”, for the first two minutes, suffers in much the same way as many of the other songs do, that is, until the excellent acoustic guitar-led mid-section. Here is where the band's instrumental performance comes together to make a brief thirty-second interlude which indulges in gracious atmosphere rather than an angry metal sound.

However, those two songs barely lift the album out of stagnation, and with the remaining eight songs offering nothing but tepid, tiresome musicianship, it's really difficult to get into Angry machines at all. Just listen to the album's longest track, “Stay out of my Mind”, which proves both confusing AND unnecessarily lengthy. It drags and drags until the listener is bored to tears (no, that's not an exaggerated statement either), but at least you can get a laugh out of the strange, irrelevant mid-section which sounds as if it should be on a video game soundtrack. To say that Angry Machines is a disappointment would be an understatement. Strange Highways was a disappointment. Perhaps even Lock up the Wolves. Angry machines is a disaster at best. Thank Dio (God) that his next few albums would retain the magic of his best work.

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user ratings (149)

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 2nd 2014


"but the rest of the rhythm section fails to reach even the same level of quality as that of Strange Machines."

Digging: Blood Has Been Shed - Spirals

Contributing Reviewer
May 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 2.0

I've listened to this one a couple of times and I don't plan on revisiting it soon.

Good job on the review Robert, I agree with almost everything you've written. However, I'm not the

biggest fan of “This is your Life” and I was surprised it was included in Dio's tribute.

Digging: Weeping Silence - Opus IV Oblivion

Contributing Reviewer
May 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 2.0

I think compared to everything else on the album "This is your life" stands out really well. It is for me a really well-written song.

Digging: Zombi - Shape Shift

May 2nd 2014


Cool review dude, listened to this once, it sucked

Contributing Reviewer
May 2nd 2014


cover is quite amusing anyway

May 2nd 2014


Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

One of Dio's worst albums.

Nice review.

Digging: Stratovarius - Eternal

May 2nd 2014


wont even bother with this

May 3rd 2014


What's going on with the capitalization in this review :3

Contributing Reviewer
May 3rd 2014


Album Rating: 2.0

Do you mean the capitalization in the song titles?

May 5th 2014


Album Rating: 2.0

Great review, agreed this was a disaster album, definitely his worst.

Digging: The Beatles - Let It Be? Naked

May 5th 2014


This is one of my favorite Dio albums, and this is coming from someone who has all of Ronnie's albums, including the Rainbow albums, the Black Sabbath albums, and the first Elf album ( still need the last two...lol), so I would think I know a lot about his music. I'm sorry, and I really shouldn't apologize for this, but I just love this album. I can't really see anything wrong with it.

October 25th 2014


I seem to be the only one who actually likes this album.

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