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Ronnie, Tracy, Jeff, and Vinnie unleashed Strange Highways upon us in 1994, and then totally caught the metal world off guard yet again with ANGRY FUCKING MACHINES in 1996. People slag bands all the time for releasing the same album over and over, and people slag bands for radically changing their style. Well slag this one, because for what this album was intended to do...it worked. Awkward sound all across the board, dissonant riffs, random baroque symphonic pieces, and confusing social commentary! Its probably the only piece of 'musical art' that I value as an artful expression.
"Institutional Man" is great and connects itself to Strange Highways very well. "Don't Tell The Kids" is as cynical as they come, and "Black" is pretty catchy albeit annoying. That's probably the worst song on the album.
"Hunter Of The Heart" is pretty good, and the most accessible track on the album, but stuff like "Stay Outta My Mind," "Big Sister," and "Double Monday" keep me coming back because I still don't fucking understand the songs. But it just works, like "Golden Rules" flows through clean riffing, disjointed bridges, dio hooks, and screwed up solos....all with a very focused message. Whether you get it or not, the album is making a statement. "Dying In America" is brooding and fun, while "God Hates Heavy Metal" chugs pretty nicely. The ballad "This Is Your Life" is just damn beautiful and an excellent closer. I even quoted the song in my high school yearbook.
Yeah yeah yeah, its not classic dio. Oh no!!! He definitely didn't sell out, but still tried a new direction. And I like this more than Magica or Lock Up The Wolves. Great release that DOESN'T get its due respect.