The Rods – Brotherhood of Metal (Steamhammer/SPV)

Wednesday, 12th June 2019
Rating: 8/10

Veteran musicians consistently worry about relevance as changes, time, and experience occur within their preferred style of music. Especially in traditional or straightforward genres, where any variance can dissuade long-timers and possibly not attract enough newcomers to the fold to make up the difference. For every AC/DC that sticks to a tried and true formula, you may find other bands who embrace new technology or new influences and suffer the consequences to varying degrees (Judas Priest- Turbo and Celtic Frost- Cold Lake as examples). For The Rods, Brotherhood of Metal is the group’s latest studio record, following some solo work for certain members and side action as well – and for the most part, continues their steady framework of pumping out heavy metal tried and true, so as to not upset the proverbial apple cart.

The introduction of organ/piano play in many of the songs gives “Everybody’s Rockin’” and “Tonight We Ride” a bit of older 70’s flair, as if the trio choose to embrace some of the progressive rock ethos of Uriah Heep or Deep Purple in these tracks. If you listen to many of the lyrics throughout the record, there are strong reference points to the work of Judas Priest, Motörhead, Raven, Saxon, and Metallica – especially in the seven-minute plus homage to the genre in the opening title track anthem. Bassist Garry Bordonaro and drummer Carl Canedy get their spots to shine appropriately – listen to “Hell on Earth” for some fancy low-end action during the verses from the former, while the Sabbath-esque “Louder Than Loud” has some thunderous fills against a main riff that could be in a similar class as “The Mob Rules”. And if you want to hear some of the heavier textures to the band in terms of their punchy parts and solid trio interplay – check out “1982” where they chronicle their own songs and the time period in hard rock/metal, some of the instrumental sections reaching Iron Maiden spiderweb textures.

This record has a purity that for some could be a deterrent to full enjoyment – as it’s old school all the way down to guitarist David Feinstein’s bluesy, mid-range / semi-moaning vocal preferences, and very nursery rhyme/simplistic in terms of most choruses. But it’s hard not to throw devil horns, don the denim vest or favored leather jacket, roll down the windows in your favorite vehicle and just crank The Rods to ten – as Brotherhood of Metal champions the heavy metal brigade with respect and admiration for its lifetime of value and fulfillment to millions worldwide.

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