The Rods

In the Raw

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Although they'd lost their deal with Arista Records and then exchanged the brief elation of their British sojourn for the sobering reality of their upstate New York breeding grounds, the Rods wasted little time sulking before getting back to work on new songs at Rochester's Barrett Alley Studios. The trio's sophomore opus, Wild Dogs, may not have performed well enough to satisfy the chart-topping expectations of their former label, but it was relatively successful by heavy metal standards, so it was no surprise when independent Shrapnel Records came calling with a new contract. Of course, instead of heaping money on the Rods to polish off the material they'd been recording, their more frugal new backers were perfectly happy to take the songs that became 1983's In the Raw just as they were...yes, raw. Welcome back to indie-land, boys! Then again, one could argue that the Rods' proletarian metal was arguably best served by a minimal amount of production gloss anyway, and so, resulting barnstormers like "Hurricane," "Go for Broke," and the proto-thrashing "Hot Love" hardly seemed to suffer while hammering their head-banging directive home with minimal fuss or distractions. And even though most of these new songs still sounded partly like crossbreeds of Twisted Sister and Y&T (or, in the case, of the plodding mysticism of "Witches Brew," Dio), they finally helped the Rods sever their once overwhelming dependency on '70s hard rock influences in order to sound like a true '80s heavy metal band for the first time (this in spite of the "Man on the Silver Mountain" clone, "Another Night on the Town"). Having said that, In the Raw's full complement of songs wasn't as consistent as Wild Dogs' because of a few forgettable fillers like "Can't Get Enough of the Fun" and "Evil Woman," and Shrapnel's modest marketing abilities weren't capable of breaking the Rods in any event, so the band would soon be going back to the drawing board with their fourth effort, Let them Eat Metal. In the Raw was reissued on CD in 1998 by High Vaultage Records, which fleshed out the original track listing with five bonus cuts, including the "tastefully" named guitar solo, "In Your Panties," and a 13-minute live jam on several Led Zeppelin song named, aptly enough, "Whole Lotta Led."]

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