The Rods – Vengeance (Niji Entertainment)

Thursday, 21st March 2013
Rating: 8/10

We don’t come out of the womb loving the fastest, guaranteed to irritate your parents music on the planet. Steady progressions of raiding album collections and personal discovery lead us to our preferences. As a child, acts like AC/DC, Accept, Iron Maiden, Raven, and Saxon had a profound impact on what I seek out of metal and hard rock. A blind purchase on vinyl in those early record store ventures would be this upstate NY trio The Rods with their 1984 Live album, giving me a good cross-section of their material blazing in front of audiences.

Joining forces once again, Vengeance upholds their street level metal sensibilities. Beyond the obvious selling point of an epic number like “The Code” (featuring one of the last Ronnie James Dio vocal tracks ever recorded before his untimely death last year), these 11 songs revel in traditional, thick guitar riffs, the pronounced bass thump and the persistent thrill fill rolls from drummer Carl Canedy. “Let It Ripp” lives up to its title with jet-fuel riffs, a bluesy Schenker-laden solo exercise and energy to burn in the best Dio/Rainbow homage possible, while the title track crosses the riff rock of AC/DC with the Teutonic swagger of Accept.

David “Rock” Feinstein as a vocalist probably won’t topple the Halfords and Dickinsons of the world, as he occasionally misses the mark on some of the pitches (check “Livin’ Outside the Law” for his southern rock-meets-Lips from Anvil voice inflections). Overall The Rods mix up the tempos, settling into a comfortable groove with swanky style on “Fight Fire with Fire” and made for highway burn “Runnin Wild”.

Vengeance illustrates a veteran act knowing their strengths as a power trio and upholding the values of old school traditions- producing an album that will slide quite adequately into your collection if early Saxon, Twisted Sister and the like fill your ears with bliss.

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