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Rush - Snakes & Arrows CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.57 | 981 ratings

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Tylosand Ektorp
4 stars Wow what an excellent album. There's not a wasted note and it's thematically and sonically cohesive, huge sounding and hugely emotional. What struck me right off the bat was how well the lyrics, vocals and music mesh, how tight and integrated the band sounds and how powerful. Snakes & Arrows sound is some serious ear candy. Alex's acoustic stringed instruments blend perfectly with his rich distorted guitar, Geddy's monstrous bass and heartfelt vocals and Neils drums to make one hell of a diverse sonic treat. I don't think Neils drums have ever sounded better, they're just whipcrack smart and like I said Geddy's bass and Alex's guitar are powerful and well recorded/mixed. Rush brought the rock with this one baby. Snakes & Arrows is about guitars both acoustic and electric; it's a riff monster of a cd. Now it's not as metalic as Vapor Trails, the sound is much more lush with acoustic guitar blended with multilayered electric. What little keyboard there is is used for atmospheric effect. But for me the most striking thing is Neil's lyrics and Geddy Lee's vocal delivery. The lyrics are very dark actually and certainly the death of Neil's wife and daughter have much to do with the very personal and somewhat introspective content. But it's not quite as personal as Vapor Trails, the focus is more towards society and religion and it's juncture with the individual. There's a maturity of outlook towards life in general that I find extremely moving, oftimes resigned but not entirely hopeless. Neil makes some hard observations about the times we're living in, the modern world and what it means to be human. Geddy's vocals perfectly emote the lyrics and though he can't hit the high notes like he once did, he makes up for it with feeling. There are also three instrumentals, one of which is a beautiful acoustic piece appropriately title Hope. The other two aren't flashy a la La Villa Strangiato or YYZ, instead they're dark and grooving. It's taken me about two weeks to properly digest this album and I feel that with Snakes and Arrows Rush have created one of their most emotional offerings in years and one of the hardest rocking of their entire career. For me it's their best work since Signals. In fact because of this cd and the R30 dvd I bought tickets to see Rush which will be the first time I've seen them since the eighties. I am jazzed about this album in a way I haven't been about Rush since Permanent Waves. BTW the concert was amazing. The 9 songs they played from Snakes And Arrows all sounded even better live.
Tylosand Ektorp | 4/5 |


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