Ahh The Rods, now there’s a band name that instantly gets the musical memory banks whirring. To my teenage self way back in 1981 the band’s awesome self-titled debut on Arista was an instant hit on my turntable, and I admit I only went to see Iron Maiden on their Beast On The Road tour to check out the support band.
Yup the New York trio were a veritable whirlwind of great tunes and rock ‘n’ roll attitude long before rock music fractured into multiple genres and forced stereotypes, The Rods were unclassifiable in my eyes as they simply played great hard rocking guitar music just like say Starz, The Godz or The Boyzz in fact all they were missing was a Z to end their name.
It was only when they signed for Music For Nations here in the UK and then pledged an allegiance to all things metal that my interest started to wane and their mid-80s LPs simply didn’t excite me in the same way that their younger contemporaries records did. A planned UK headline tour with Metallica and Exciter in support which was ultimately cancelled was pretty much the last I heard of the band until 2010 when through the power of Uber Rock and Myspace I suddenly found myself talking with the band’s singer/guitarist David ‘Rock’ Feinstein about their then just about to be released reunion CD ‘Vengeance’.
Fast forward eight years from that album’s eventual release and here I am in possession of the band’s all new eleven track album ‘Brotherhood Of Metal’ (the vinyl adding a twelfth track in the shape of a reworked version of ‘Crank It Up’ originally featured on the aforementioned Arista album plus of course covered by legendary supergroup Super$hit 666), and whilst I normally stay well clear of metal albums these days getting to grips with this one was actually a most welcome surprise.
Okay granted it’s not exactly the sound of my ‘80s first love but it is the same line up of Feinstein, drummer Carl Cannedy and bassist Garry Bordonaro and whilst Dave may be singing slightly lower than he did back then what The Rods do here they do with the utmost of integrity. Even when the record opens with the title track and it’s just piano and Feinstein declaring his love for all things metal it’s somehow not got me reaching for the skip button, and I’m glad I stuck with it too because what follows is the kind of metal record that has seen Judas Priest filling arenas with for decades. Yes, there’s a hint of Manowar in here too, but thank Odin the likes of ‘Hell On Earth’ and ‘Tonight We Rode’ remind me of their early (as in the best) days, and you also can’t really do a Rods review without mentioning Feinstein’s cousin Ronnie James Dio, although I’m purely mentioning him here because the riff to ‘Louder Than Loud’ sounds so much like primetime Dio I have to check that my MP3 player hasn’t suddenly gone on shuffle by mistake.
It’s the powerhouse drumming of Carl Cannedy that introduces both the epic ‘Evil In Me’ and the autobiographical ‘1982’ and here the band once again capture that metallic stomp of Priest, likewise ‘The Devil Made Me Do it’ and the staggeringly brilliant ‘Eveybody’s Rockin’’ could very easily fit in on ‘Screaming For Vengeance’ or Defenders Of The Faith’ such is the high standard of the metal on offer here.
‘Brotherhood Of Metal’ then is the sound of The Rods doing what they love, and as Cannedy himself states what you get here is “no ballads, and nothing your mom will be humming”.
Buy Brotherhood Of Metal Here
Author: Johnny Hayward