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”