The Rods-Metal Will Never Die: The Official Bootleg Box Set 1981-2010

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Reviewed:  April 2021
Released:  2021 / Cherry Red/ Hear No Evil
Rating: 3.5 /5
Reviewer: JP

The Rods are an interesting situation of a band that could have and should have been bigger except the timing was off. The rough and ready trio were a bit too late to be be considered a part of the early 70’s pioneers of Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow and Judas Priest. They were a bit too early (and gritty) to capitalize on the early 80’s North American scene of Quiet Riot and Motley Crüe. They just sort of fell into this dead zone unable to compete with the exciting NWOBHM either, despite on occasion being one of the few honorary North American NWOBHM bands. In fairness they signed to a major label and churned out five albums in rapid succession but they never clicked due to perhaps a lack of identity.

However they have enough legacy that the band continues today and the true loyalists clamour for material and that is where Cherry Red comes in. Their Hear No Evil imprint has scoured the vaults and come up with a 4 CD live bootleg set. The sub-title is ‘The Official Bootleg Boxset: 1981-2010.

LET THEM EAT METAL comes in a clamshell box that houses the four discs in cardboard sleeves. Because these concerts were never released the art in each is pretty plain. There is however, a wonderful 16 page booklet with extensive liner notes and an essay/interview by Hugh Gilmour. There are quite a few photos of memorabilia and so forth.

There are five concerts spread across the four discs and the sound gets progressively better at each concert. Disc One features a couple of early 80’s shows from El Paso, Texas, a bit of a stronghold for the band and other hard rocking, hard touring bands of the era like Moxy, Riot and AC/DC. The sound quality is, to be frank, pretty terrible. The box-set comes with the obligatory warning, “While every effort has been made to produce the best possible audio, limitations… ‘ you know the rest. Disclaimer aside you know going in we are going to hear (and maybe even enjoy) sub-par audio from a concert that occurred over 40 years ago. I’m surprised the tapes even still exist.

Across the box, the track selection is decent, there is some duplication with four live versions of ‘Power Lover’, five drum solos(!) and no less than five versions of ‘Get Ready To Rock n’ Roll’. That is to be expected. The fans want to hear those popular (dare I say classic?) songs from the band’s repertoire so they are always going to be included in the set list.

Disc Three is a scrappy gig in England in 1982 where they fit right in with bands like Motörhead and Raven. One could argued the band was more popular in the UK than at home, and the liner notes in the booklet support that assertion.

The last two discs are concerts from the reunion era. Disc Four is a festival gig in Germany where they were enjoying a resurgence of popularity as a heritage act. The sound quality is much better and it a long gig at 18 cuts.

Lastly a hometown gig in Portland sees them back in their natural environment of, what sounds like a sweaty club gig. The audio probably came off the sound board as it sounds decent.

For true fans this is a massive treasure trove of unreleased, live material. More than just a compilation this is destined to be collectible. For starter fans, folks like me, who only have a passing familiarity with The Rods, you may want to start with one of the bands more popular albums. I’d recommend WILD DOGS.

Track Listing:

El Paso 1981 / 1982
El Paso County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas, 27th August 1981
1 Angels Never Run
2 Get Ready To Rock ‘N’ Roll
3 Crank It Up
4 Drum Solo
5 Power Lover
El Paso County Coliseum, El Paso, Texas, 3rd September 1982
6 Rockin’ And Rollin’ Again
7 Waiting For Tomorrow
8 Get Ready To Rock ‘N’ Roll
9 Guitar Solo
10 Too Hot To Stop 11 Drum Solo
12 Power Lover

Portsmouth 1982
Guildhall, Portsmouth, UK, 8th March 1982
1 Rockin’ And Rollin’ Again
2 Waiting For Tomorrow
3 Get Ready To Rock ‘N’ Roll
4 Nothing Going On In The City
5 Too Hot To Stop
6 Crank It Up
7 Guitar Solo
8 Getting Higher
9 Rabid Thunder (Drum Solo)
10 Power Lover

Headbangers 2009 – Schierenhöh 13, Brande-Hörnerkirchen, Germany, 25.7.09
1 Make Me Believer / Raise Some Hell
2 Hurricane
3 Devils Child
4 Let Them Eat Metal
5 Born To Rock
6 Get Ready To Rock ‘N’ Roll
7 Burned By Love
8 Too Hot To Stop
9 Rabid Thunder (Drum Solo)
10 Violation
11 Waiting For Tomorrow
12 Hot City
13 Cold Sweat And Blood
14 Wild Dogs
15 Nothing Going On In The City
16 Crank It Up
17 Power Lover
18 The Night Lives To Rock

Cortland 2010
Cortland, New York, 2010
1 Raise Some Hell
2 I Just Wanna Rock
3 Hurricane
4 Devil’s Child
5 Let Them Eat Metal
6 Born To Rock
7 Evil In Me
8 Burned By Love
9 Ride Free Or Die
10 Ace In The Hole
11 Drum Solo
12 Get Ready To Rock ‘N’ Roll
13 Metal Will Never Die