A great comeback is always invigorating, especially for rock bands. In the case of the metal legends the Rods, Vengeance is a great way to tell the heavy metal community that asses are still to be kicked. The Rods are a trio who used to open for infamous bands like Metallica back in the 80’s when everyone was getting their start, and yet they didn’t sell out, rather, they stuck to their music and they remained legends to their loyal fans. Over the years, they released numerous albums such as Let them Eat Metal, Wild Dogs, and Heavier Than Thou, and some live albums. In recent years, guitarist, and cousin of the late Ronnie James Dio, David “Rock” Feinstein has released a few solo albums in the past decade (his most recent being Bitten By the Beast from last year), which prompted drummer Carl Canedy and bassist Garry Bordonaro to have a re-union…and then came Vengeance.
Vengeance is a great album for people like me who discovered the Rods recently. I discovered the band through the song “Metal Will Never Die,” which featured Ronnie James Dio on vocals and came out last year after Ronnie’s tragic passing. I loved the song so much that I was anxious to listen to more work done by the artists, and that is how I discovered the Rods. I heard their debut album The Rods and loved it. I heard songs from other albums, and I quickly realized that these guys could rock. Then Vengeance‘s release was appearing on the Rods Fan Page on Facebook, and I was interested to hear this one. In fact, numerous fans of both the Rods and Ronnie James Dio were interested to hear this new album, and I say Dio fans because this was going to have the last studio recording to be released featuring the man on the silver mountain himself: “The Code.” I even admit that this was very anxious for this song, but I was also highly anxious to hear new material from one of my new favorite bands.
Then it came out on May 25th this year, and the first song I heard was “The Code.” Being a huge fan of Ronnie James Dio, I simply loved it. In fact, this album is the first Rod’s album that is signed under Niji Entertainment, which is the record company that was started Dio. The story regarding Dio singing for the Rods is a long one, but I’ll summarize it: Ronnie’s mother was ill, so he kept coming to NY to visit her. During his stays, his cousin David Feinstein asked if he’d like to sing a couple songs, and after wanting to sing on a couple tracks for a while, he accepted; the songs were “Metal Will Never Die,” and “The Code.” After listening to it, though, it really got me knowing there wont’ be anymore music from such a talented man. But his soul is at peace, and his fans are carrying on his music legacy.
As for the rest of the album delivers the same punch as “The Code.” My personal favorites are “Fight Fire With Fire,” “Raise Some Hell,” “Ride Free or Die,” “Vengeance,” and “Livin’ Outside the Law.” The song “Madman,” is a lot heavier than the rest (except “The Code”), and the opening reminds me of the Japanese doom metal band Church of Misery because of the audio from news reports on John Wayne Gacey that were featured in one of their songs. “Rebel’s Highway” and “I Just Wanna Rock, ” are nice tracks, too. In all, the album features kickass guitar riffs, heavy baselines, and rocking drums that remind us that metal will, in fact, never die. Feinstein’s voice is also great for this kind of music. With most 80’s metal bands, the goal was to shout as loud as you could, and the Rods did that too sometimes. On Vengeance, Feinstein sings in a mostly low-key, deep voice, and I happen to think this works for this album. I rate this album at a solid A. Like I said, it’s great for people who want to discover more bands, and it’s great for Dio fans because of “The Code.” The album title totally fits the mood of the album.
I really hope they release another album in the future.