Ronnie James Dio’s classic 1996 album Angry Machines is available again. The album – the seventh of his 10 total studio recordings – was received to mix reception in its original release. Now with what is at least its second re-issue – it was also re-issued in 2018 by Niji Entertainment (which is owned by RJD’s wife) – the album is certain to get more cheers than it did in its original release. That is due in large part to the bonus content featured with its presentation. This will be discussed shortly. Speaking of content, content also is the source of the re-issue’s one negative. The content in question is the presentation’s primary content. This will be addressed a little later. While there is one negative to the presentation, it is not enough to ruin this re-issue. There is one more positive to note, that being the production of the bonus content. It will also be addressed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Niji Entertainment’s latest Angry Machines re-issue. All things considered, they make this take on the album its best presentation to date.
Niji Entertainment’s 2020 re-issue of Dio’s 1996 album Angry Machines is the record’s best presentation to date. That is due in large part to the bonus content that is featured with the re-issue. The bonus content in question is a series of live recordings captured during Dio’s 1997 “Angry Machines Tour.” Audiences get in this bonus content what was at the time, a healthy cross section of Dio’s catalog up to that point. The 12-song compilation reaches all the way back to Dio’s debut album Holy Diver and as then recent as Angry Machines. Strange Highways is represented, too, with a performance of ‘Jesus Mary and the Holy Ghost – Straight Through The Heart.’ Dio’s own work with Black Sabbath is even represented here with a live performance of ‘The Mob Rules’ and ‘Heaven & Hell.’ As if that is not enough, even RJD’s work with Rainbow is represented with a live performance of ‘Man On the Silver Mountain.’ Simply put, audiences get in this bonus content, a good portrait of RJD’s career. At the same time, this collection of live performances also serves the purpose of giving audiences something live in a time when every scheduled live performance right now is on hold around the globe. It serves as a positive enjoyable live recording in itself, and one that was not featured with the recording’s 2018 re-issue. To that end, it becomes that much more valuable to the whole of this presentation. It makes this re-issue that much more worth the price whether audiences already own the album’s previous presentations or not.
While the bonus content featured with this new re-issue of Angry Machines does so much to make it appealing, the release’s primary content brings up its lone negative. The negative here is that whether this is the record’s second re-issue or more, it is notable that the bonus track featured in the album’s Japanese release – ‘God Hates Heavy Metal’ – is once again absent from the album. Perhaps there is a copyright issue preventing its inclusion in the album. That the album was released via Mercury Records in Japan and through Mayhem Records in the U.S. in its original release, that would seem to be the only feasible possibility. That’s even with Niji Entertainment being owned by Ronnie James Dio’s wife. Given, the song is readily easily to find online thanks to YouTube, but if even for the sense of completion, it would have been nice to have had the song at some point featured with the American release of this record. That’s especially the case considering the value in the song’s collective musical and lyrical content. The song’s musical arrangement is a full, heavy horn raiser that sarcastically goes after the religious right that had at that time (and sadly still does today) claim that Dio was in league with Satan. That obviously is anything but true for anyone who knows anything about him and his career. Keeping all of this in mind, the lack of that one song in this latest re-issue is not enough to ruin the re-issue by any means. It is just a minor negative that hopefully when and if this album receives another future re-issue, will be addressed at that point.
Moving on from the one minor negative that is the lack of the bonus track ‘God Hates Heavy Metal,’ it is a minor con to the whole of this re-issue. Moving back to the positive, the production and mixing of the re-issue’s bonus live content couples with the songs themselves to add even more appeal to the collection. As with the live material featured in the re-issues of Magica, Killing The Dragon and Master of the Moon, the sound of each performance is spot on. Dio’s vocals expertly compliment the guitars of then band mate Tracy Grijalva. Grijalva’s works is just as well-balanced with drummer Vinny Appice’s time keeping and bassist Jeff Pilson’s low-end. That is the case just as much in the collection’s more upbeat performances and the slower works. Each performer’s work gets just as much attention as that of his bandmates throughout the course of the 72 minute compilation of live performances. If one closes one’s eyes, it’s as if one is right there. If a live DVD or Blu-ray has not already been released that compliments this set, then it certainly needs to be released. Doubtless that top notch production and mixing will join with the set list itself to make for just as much of an enjoyable presentation. Keeping this in mind, the production and mixing that went into these live performance recordings couples with the expanse of content to make this bonus disc more than enough reason for the most devoted Dio fans to own this re-issue, especially if said fans do not already own the album’s previous releases. Even taking into account the lack of that one bonus track with the main album, the recording in whole is still that worth the addition to any Dio devotee’s library.
Niji Entertainment’s latest re-issue of Dio’s Angry Machines is a presentation that is certain to appeal to the most devoted of Ronnie James Dio’s fans. That is due in large part to the extensive and well-recorded live content featured with the album. That 72-minute (one hour, 12-minute) collection of songs presents a rich picture at that point, of Dio’s career. Its production and mixing add even more engagement and enjoyment to the collection. Even with the lack of one bonus track to the recording’s primary album, that bonus content couples with the primary album to make this a fully appealing presentation for Dio’s most devoted fans. The re-issue is available now. More information on this and other RJD releases is available online now along with all of the latest RJD news at:
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