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Rush - Snakes & Arrows CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.58 | 906 ratings

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5 stars The release of Vapor Trails in 2002 after Rush's hiatus brought about by the tragic death of Drummer Neil Peart's daughter and wife was a welcome return that a lot of fans thought might never happen. Although an adventurous and good album in many respects it was somewhat flawed sonically with a harsh production making it not the easiest of listens. However it was enough to make the release of Snakes and Arrows one of my most eagerly anticipated albums of this decade and I'm pleased to say I wasn't disappointed. This is Rush at their very best since Moving Pictures in 1981!

What makes this album so good apart from the obvious excellent musicianship and incidentally they are really on top of their game here, is that the song writing is so good with strong melodies and inventive playing throughout. Excellent lyrics from Peart, often inspired it would seem, by his current worldview and Geddy Lee is singing extremely well. I tip my hat in particular to guitarist Alex Lifeson for his wonderful playing which is always going off where you least expect it with imaginative chord structures, riffing and a fantastic solo on Armor and Sword. The use of Nick Raskulinecz as co- producer proves an inspired choice as the sound is powerful and clean allowing each member of the band space to shine and a vast improvement over the afore mentioned Vapor Trails.

We get thirteen tracks here, three of them instrumental and all worthy of inclusion. Nothing longer than six and a half minutes but Rush learnt the art of fitting a lot of interest into shorter songs a long time ago. With so many good tracks picking favourites is not the easiest of tasks but deserving special mention are opener Far Cry which has a very catchy hook, my favourite Lifeson guitar playing on Workin' Them Angels, the atmospheric yet powerful Spindrift and The Way the Wind Blows which starts off like Rush are going to play a Blues song before totally changing tack for another great Lifeson riff. Faithless sounds the most like the Vapor Trails material here though stronger musically.

The three instrumentals are all excellent pieces with The Main Monkey Business being the best which is as good as or better than any instrumental since La Villa Strangiato including YYZ. Hope is a nice acoustic guitar interlude midway through the album and Malignant Narcissism packs a strong punch in just over two minutes with some excellent bass work from Lee.

Rush have produced an album better than I dared hope for and deserving of five stars and my album of 2007.

Nightfly | 5/5 |


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