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Rush - Snakes & Arrows CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.57 | 922 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars 3.8 Stars ... is this Rush's best album? what a surprise!

Rush has returned to the 70s in terms of quality, if not style of composition. With such enthusiasm from the trio, it's of little doubt that they would deliver: strong songwriting, Geddy's best vocals yet, excellent production, some of their most intelligent lyrics, and some of the best musicianship heard from them since the 70s. This album has a bit of every album they've done, including acoustic guitars, dynamic instrumentals, pop, even a chord in the opener "Far Cry" which sounds exactly like a chord in the Hemispheres album. A new element is how it feels as if it was all composed acoustically and then went electric in the recording of the album. Even if the album isn't what you would commonly refer to as "prog rock", this album takes a while to digest.

Talking about Far Cry , is a fantastic opener and instantly likable. It is a catchy rock song featuring hooks, odd time signatures, high musicianship, and "wall-of-sound" production in the heavy, odd-rhythmic sections. Armor and Sword is the longest song here, with very nice arrangements alternating acoustic and electric guitar and the very effective chorus that others talked about. Workin' Them Angels is a more ordinary rock song with good vocals but not much of a hook. The Larger Bowl is also a bit unmemorable. Well-played but there's nothing special in this mid-tempo track except a vocal harmony.

The next song, Spindrift returns with the excellent music. It sounds different than what I'm used to hearting from Rush: a very menacing and highly produced song that sounds like an electric guitar symphony at parts. Don't let the silly title of The Main Monkey Business fool you, this is in my opinion the best instrumental they ever done. It's absolutely phenomenal, flooded with virtuosic musicianship, magnificent dynamics, excellent riffs, good coherence, and a powerful solo at the middle that is for me the best moment in the album.

The Way the Wind Blows starts with a bluesy tone that I don't particularly enjoy that much but then it turns into a very good rocker with some of the best performances of Geddy Lee (vocally). One of the most memorable tunes in this album. Hope is another highlight, an acoustic guitar solo very similar in style to acoustic Led Zeppelin songs. Faithless is yet another great song, proving that the middle of the album is the strongest. The verses contain good melodic rock, but the choruses' wonderful melodies and the great guitar solo stand out a bit. Bravest Face is another strong and carefully arranged/produced song like "Armor and Swords" with a very nice acoustic riff and vocal melodies.

Good News First is not as memorable as the middle chunk of the album, but it still carries all the elements that makes this album so strong. Malignant Narcissism is the weakest of instrumentals because it just feels like a YYZ wanna-be jam that is overall not that interesting, even if the musicianship is great. We Hold On is a solid closer with a memorable chorus and main riff. very energetic and appropiate.

1. Far Cry (A-) 2.Armor And Sword (B) 3. Workin' Them Angels (C)

4. The Larger Bowl (C-) 5. Spindrift (B+) 6. The Main Monkey Business (instrumental) (A)

7. The Way The Wind Blows (B+) 8. Hope (instrumental) (A-) 9. Faithless (B+)

10. Bravest Face (B) 11. Good News First (C+) 12. Malignant Narcissism (instrumental) (C+)

13. We Hold On (C+)

I recommend it to Rush lovers and give it many listens. Since I'm in vacation, I've heard this several times already in a couple of days. It's not really prog? who cares, it's very good rock music from the Canadian Rock titans.

Zitro | 4/5 |


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