I’ve been looking forward to this review since I began music review Tuesday. Today I am reviewing a new album from a band I grew up listening to. Rush has been around since the early 70’s. I still remember the first time I heard the song “Working Man” with its hard driving guitar and bass, and the killer long guitar solo. “Working Man” became their anthem song for many years to come. I can still hear my mom yelling for me to TURN THAT MUSIC DOWN. The high pitched vocals of Geddy Lee used to wear on her nerves. (Sorry mom) Rush has been the epitome of the power trio. Their progressive rock style has been imitated but never duplicated. There are many bands today who make the claim to have been influenced by Rush. In a recent interview Geddy Lee said “It’s ironic that bands that have been influenced by our playing or our past have some instruction for us, too. They help us grow.”
The new album is called “Snakes & Arrows” (release date was May 1st, 2007) and I will definitely say it is a return to their progressive rock roots. It is the return of Alex Lifeson and his famous guitar riffs beginning with the first track “Far Cry” to the last track “We Hold On”. Gone, is what I refer to as, the feminization of Rush, the keyboards and synthesizers. The trademark Geddy Lee vocals have been more subdued over the years but that comes with maturity. With the absence of the keyboards Geddy seems to have rediscovered the progressive bass rhythm he is known for. Who can write about Rush without adding an intentional nod to Neil Peart one of the best rock drummers, ever? Neil is also the lyricist for the band and this album is replete with his intelligent lyrics.
As I previously mentioned I would characterize this album a return to the Rush we all grew to love, who had all but disappeared after the “Moving Pictures” album. It’s not they stopped recording after that album but with the turn toward prominent keyboards in their songs the songs began to all sound alike. It is a delight to hear the return of Alex Lifeson’s guitar playing which is much more prominent on this release. Highlights on this album are hard to come up with since it is such a revitalized Rush release. The first track “Far Cry” got my attention the first time I heard it. Hoping beyond hope that they had returned to the driving guitar sound they made them great. “Armor and Sword”, “The Main Monkey Business (an instrumental track to rival “YYZ” of old) are great examples of their progressiveness. The guitar genius of Alex Lifeson shines in “The Way the Wind Blows” as it starts with some great blues guitar and then transforms itself throughout the track. The other instrumental track on the album is “Malignant Narcissism” which is short and rockin’ song highlighting each of the band members playing prowess. I can’t say enough about this album so I will leave it at this, it will be in my MP3 player for some time to come. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.
Check out the full length video from “Far Cry”
July 11, 2007 at 8:50 pm
I remember listening to Rush quite a bit in high school and somewhat in college. I cut my music teeth with Rush on their “signals” album. Most of the albums that were released 5 years pre & post of this album, I really enjoyed. After I became a Christian, I started listening to some old Rush one day and I cringed while listening to one of the songs. (I think it might have been from “grace under presssure”) The lyrics were pretty blasphemous and mocking faith. So, I quit listening to Rush after I heard that song. Kind of like when I actually listened to the lyrics of the Rolling Stones song on the radio “sympathy for the devil” (I didn’t know it was titled that at the time).
That is usually my take on secular music. If I find out they sing a blasphemous song, it makes it hard for me to listen to them again.
Musically, they are unique and the voice of Geddy is one of a kind. It’s just too bad that they had to express their blasphemy in their song
July 11, 2007 at 9:39 pm
I am in agreement with you. The Grace Under Pressure album was about when I stopped listening to them as well. But it was for a different reason as I expressed in the posting. I do not remember any blasphemy in the songs but I do believe you. I avoid those kinds of songs as well. I also understand that as an unbeliever, I would assume by Neil Peart’s lyrics at times, his nature is to shake a fist and mock. I had read something a few months ago about the content of his lyrics for this new album were derived from his search for faith and reason along a motorcycle journey he took. This is evident in lyrics such as the the chorus to “Armor and Sword”.
Sometimes the spirit is too strong
Or the flesh is too weak
Sometimes the need is just too great
For the solace we seek
The suit of shining armor
Becomes a keen and bloody sword
Peart also wrote another book last year that most of his lyrics from the new album are based on. The book is called “Roadshow : Landscape With Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle.” Check out some of the comments. The guy has some real people issues.
Check out some of these sites when you have time.
Amazon link to Roadshow : Landscape With Drums: A Concert Tour by Motorcycle
Wikipedia link to Neil Peart’s bio
July 11, 2007 at 11:03 pm
Freewill is one of the songs that is blasphemous. Below are the lyrics to it that I found online. Yet, I know there is another song that is bad.
There are those who think that life has nothing left to chance,
A host of holy horrors to direct our aimless dance.
A planet of playthings,
We dance on the strings
Of powers we cannot perceive
“The stars aren’t aligned –
Or the gods are malign”
Blame is better to give than receive.
You can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice.
If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.
You can choose from phantom fears and kindness that can kill;
I will choose a path that’s clear-
I will choose Free Will.
There are those who think that they were dealt a losing hand,
The cards were stacked against them- they weren’t born in Lotus-Land.
A prisoner in chains-
A victim of venomous fate.
Kicked in the face,
You can’t pray for a place
In heaven’s unearthly estate.
Each of us-
A cell of awareness-
Imperfect and incomplete.
With uncertain ends
On a fortune hunt that’s far too fleet.
July 12, 2007 at 12:54 am
I do remember that song. It looks much like Arminianism but I think he is slamming religion in general. I wonder how is he is reconciling that with the tragedy of losing his daughter and wife with in a year.