THIS WEEK I’M LISTENING TO...THE RODS – Rattle The Cage (Massacre)
It’s fair to say that The Rods’ career can be divided into two: their early days, from 1980 to 1987 or so, when they made great albums; and their reformation, since when they, well, continue to make great albums. The aptly-named ‘Rattle The Cage’ – something the Cortland, New York State wild dogs have been doing since their inception – may only be their fourth album since returning to action with ‘Vengeance’ in 2011, but what The Rods lack in productivity they ably make up for in consistency. Guitarist / vocalist David ‘Rock’ Feinstein and drummer Carl Canedy – now ably supported by bassist Freddy Villano – have been working together for so long they know how to craft a good song between them and ‘Rattle The Cage’ features ten of ’em. It’s a thoroughly unswerving album which has been finely honed to deliver knock-out blow after knock-out blow, and the old phrase ‘all killer no filler’ springs to mind. Songs like ‘Metal Highways’, ‘Shockwave’ and opener ‘Now And Forever’ (which in its intensity and dynamism calls to mind ‘Nothing Going On In The City’, the cover version they made their own way back when) up the tempo, while ‘Can’t Slow Down’ with its Zeppelin-like riff and the seven-and-a-half minute ‘Cry Out Loud’ both get a special mention for their exemplary guitar work.
The Rods (photo by Roger William Theise)
Unashamedly metal – Feinsten and Canedy have never shirked away from the heavy metal tag and, in fact, revel in it – ‘Rattle The Cage’ boasts a glorious production which captures the essence of metal and makes you want to throw back your head and throw up the horns. “We are perpetual,” runs a line in ‘Now And Forever’, and although that’s taken out of context here it sums up the band perfectly. Some things never change and are all the better for it, and that’s The Rods in a nutshell.
© John Tucker January 2024