|Rush Snakes & Arrows||Atlantic/Anthem|
Rush don't make bad records they are simply incapable of doing so. However, they can make mistakes and occasionally don't please all their fans as much as they could.|
Case in point their last studio album which suffered from overly loud mastering, which made some great songs sound bad.
I think the guys were at times trying a little too hard after a long lay off.
This on the other hand is produced, mixed and mastered to perfection. Crisp, balanced and ever so easy on the ears.
Easy also in the sense that it is just Rush being Rush not too heavy, but plenty of attitude and some of their best music in a long time.
Musically I think this sits somewhere on the same playing field as Test for Echo and Counterparts, but also includes touches of Presto and the Hold Your Fire sense of melody.
That said I come back to the point that this is basically just Rush being Rush and continuing on the natural musical path they have walked forever.
What I like is that the guys all get their time to shine. There are some truly great drum fills on the album (needless to say that Neal Peart's playing is always sublime).
Geddy Lee's bass thumps along, at times running with the rhythm, and at other times stamping its own authority on the song.
And Alex Lifeson's guitar tone is just perfect! How refreshing to hear some astounding riffs and rhythms delivered with a contemporary manner, without having to resort to unnecessary down-tuning or other tricks.
I felt that the guitar tone on Vapor Trails was a bit forced, but here it sounds so natural as do all the guys' parts.
Highlights from the album are considerable. Far Cry is classic Rush and the added bridge melody is straight out of the Hold Your Fire/Presto handbook, as is the opening bars of Workin' Them Angels.
Armor And Sword has some great guitar techniques and an effective chorus that mellows in comparison with the rest of the song.
I love the acoustic work on The Larger Bowl and Spindrift sees the guys stretch the progressive nature of their sound.
Not generally a fan of instrumentals, I can attest that those featured here the hard driving The Main Monkey Business, the acoustic Hope and the progressive Malignant Narcissism are simply three of the best instrumentals in recent memory. Love them all.
The melody of Faithless stands out instantly and the changing mood of Bravest Face and Good News First show that these guys are still innovators of their craft.
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