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Strange Highways has to be one of the most underrated and underappreciated Dio albums ever. Stuck in with Dio's so called "political albums," the music never was served justice. People wanted songs of rainbows, and instead got songs about Dio's inner struggles. Who cares what the material is about; listen to the music, which is what I am going to look at.
Strange Highways is a bit strange for Dio's own musical style. It centers around a more powerful, heavy guitar sound, giving it a very evil and wicked sound. In fact if you look at Dio's past work, nothing even comes close to being this heavy. That is for Dio's solo career. This album tends to take a lot of what is put out on Dio's Black Sabbath stuff. I am pretty positive that if you like Mob Rules and Dehumanizer, especially the latter, then you will like this album a lot.
Now for the music itself. The guitar riffs shine extremely brilliant on this album. For the most part the riffs are typical slow, doom metal riffs. Even if the riffs aren't doom centered, they still have that presence of doom (evil) because the riffs are so heavy. This can be seen on songs like One Foot In the Grave and Blood From A Stone.
One concept that works well on this album is the drum beats intermixing with the guitar riffs, which is most often seen in doom metal. The fact is that this album gets it done. On the openining track and Firehead, this is seen orchestrated well - as well as Here's To You and many other songs on this album.
Though there are no Dio hits on this album, that should not alter you from getting this album. This album is filled with awesome guitar riffs. The album is pure evil with its doom metal style. More like Dehumanizer than any other Dio album. Each song offers at least a good riff and or moment. Plus with the wonderful voice of Dio, what more could you ask for? Dio's voice is solid perfect on this album, in fact maybe better than some of his past material. I especially licked Dio's voice on Here's To You, which comes off super strong.
Great album, with a lot of great tunes, regardless if they are hits or not. Passing up on this album would be a mistake; for all Dio's fans and fans of heavy metal!