The Rods


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The success of the documentary Anvil! The Story of Anvil demonstrated that even an unpopular rock band could have an appealing story (in this case, a true story, as opposed to the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap). There is no comparable cinematic effort on behalf of the Rods, but there could be, since this hard rock/heavy metal trio had much the same career trajectory, managing a handful of albums in the early '80s, none of which sold well enough to make the charts. The last one was 1984's Let Them Eat Metal, which means that Vengeance, the band's reunion/comeback release, is appearing after 27 years. But singer/guitarist David Feinstein, drummer Carl Canedy, and bassist Garry Bordonaro pick right up where they left off, as if they were making an album for 1985, not 2011, release. As before, they play a generic brand of hard-driving metal, with clichéd lyrics full of references to anger and aggression. The words are not only clichéd, they also can be repetitious, as when the chorus of "Rebels Highway," "We'll fight to live free or die," is followed by a song called "Ride Free or Die." Feinstein's cousin, Ronnie James Dio, sits in for a family duet on "The Code," which contains a reference to Nostradamus. But generally the words stick to aggression, from "Madman," a personification of a serial killer, to "Fight Fire with Fire." (By the way, the track list notwithstanding, the sixth track is "Let It Ripp," and the seventh is "Livin' Outside the Law," not the other way around.) There was no reason to expect that, if the Rods ever came back, they would take a different approach, and they haven't. Their fans should be happy for that, but they are unlikely to earn new ones with Vengeance.

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