As I write this review it is one year to the day that we lost one of the greatest voices in heavy metal, Ronnie James Dio. The Rods leader and founder David "Rock" Feinstein who is the cousin of Mr. Dio convinced Ronnie to add his talents to a song on the disc. Little did they know at the time but it would be the last recording ever done by the legendary Ronnie James Dio.
The Rods are celebrating their 30th year of being together and this is their first disc since 1986. That said, the band picks up right where they left off. Vengeance is a look back at the music scene that they left with their last offering Heavier Than Thou. It is an album filled with metal anthems designed to get the fist pumping and the heads banging. Songs like "Raise Some Hell", "I Just Wanna Rock" and "Fight Fire With Fire" all have that quality along with a chorus which will undoubtedly become audience participation concert moments.
We have had a resurgence in 80's bands putting out quality product lately and The Rods show that they should have had a better fate the first time around. This disc pretty much sums up that era's metal scene. "Rebels Highway", "Ride Free Or Die" and "Runnin' Wild" all touch on the spirit of what heavy metal means, freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of thought and freedom to do what you want as long as it doesn't hurt anyone. These are the crusin' songs that will be cranked to the max as you fly down the highway whether it be on two wheels or four.
Sure you would have to call this disc cheesy in the same sense as Manowar or similar bands are. Lyrics that are predictable and music that is by no stretch of the imagination ground breaking but it is still a lot of fun without a doubt. This is rock and roll in it's simplest and purest form. A guitar, bass and drums along with vocals. No keyboards, no layers upon layers of overdubs, it sounds like it could have been recorded live in the studio. Don't get me wrong, this album is not going to set the world on fire but it is a very good slice of what made that long gone era so much fun musically.
Now I have to talk about the song "The Code". First off let me say it is much heavier than most of the other songs on the disc. It is destined to have a special place as the last song Ronnie James Dio ever sang. Is it a song that we will remember Ronnie by? Frankly, no. As a Dio song it is average at best. Sure you have that magnificent voice doing an epic performance as always but it is no where near what he has given us before. Still it is a decent song and has all those anthem like qualities that we expect when we hear his voice but it is not the song I bet he would want as his epitaph. One thing it certainly proves is just how powerful a singer he is. Feinstein is a very good vocalist himself but his and most of the metal worlds vocal ability cannot match the man who gave us the horns sign.
All in all this is a real fun disc for those of us who are old enough to remember this kind of music the first time around. It is not an album that you will listen to constantly but is one that you will pull out when you need to remember how good it felt to be in the front row and the whole crowd behind you is singing along. When you reminisce about those younger days when there were no worries and you lived it day by day. So just pull out the air guitar, imagine the crowd in front of you and let The Rods fuel those rock and roll dreams!
1. Raise Some Hell
2. I Just Wanna Rock
3. Rebels Highway
4. Ride Free Or Die
5. The Code
6. Livin' Outside The Law
7. Let It Ripp
8. Fight Fire With Fire
10. Runnin' Wild