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Review: The Rods - Rock Hard
The Rods
Rock Hard

Label: High Roller Records
Year released: 2021
Originally released in: 1980
Duration: 36:55
Tracks: 12
Genre: Heavy Metal


Review online: September 23, 2021
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.5/5 (70%) (8 Votes)

The Rods are an interesting band, having been around the metal scene in the United States since the early '80s. They are probably more well known for who is in the band vs. any of the music they've released, with guitarist/vocalist David Feinstein being a cousin of Ronnie James Dio and drummer Carl Cannedy serving as producer on some absolute classics of North American metal including Spreading the Disease by Anthrax, Violence & Force from Exciter, Feel the Fire from Overkill and many others. You also might have seen their fifth album, Let Them Eat Metal, in your travels, the one with the scantily clad woman on the front and perhaps even heard them and their American version of Canada's Anvil. What we have here is a reissue of the band's first album, Rock Hard, which in line with the Anvil analogy whose first album is also much more of a hard rock effort, though the bones of The Rods' later metal sound are there.

On Rock Hard, The Rods wear their '70s hard rock influences on their sleeves. There are a lot of bluesy, hard rock licks, especially on the cover of Elf's "Sit Down Honey", which could easily have been a ZZ Top song. Alice Cooper can be heard in the creepier atmosphere that builds into a big, hooky chorus on "Woman," and early Riot is a clear touchpoint on cuts like "Power Lover" and "Crank it up". The songwriting is formulaic and brutally repetitive in spots and The Rods come across as essentially a good bar band on this album. You can tell these guys wanted to play loud and proud but hadn't really latched on the metal as a way of life quite yet. Rock Hard is interesting in the way Rocka Rolla from Judas Priest or Rock City from Riot are, as a historical document of a band that later went on to produce true heavy metal. That said, it isn't very interesting or very good and I can't imagine too many Metal Crypt readers needing it.

More about The Rods...
Review: Brotherhood of Metal (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Heavier than Thou (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Let Them Eat Metal (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Rattle the Cage (reviewed by MetalMike)
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