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Rush - Snakes & Arrows CD (album) cover

SNAKES & ARROWS

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

3.58 | 730 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It's a far cry from the band they started as.

(For my centen-review I'll do one that I've been waiting to do for a long time. Listening to it again and again to make sure that I've got the rating just right before I'd tackle it. And here it is:)

Over the years Rush has been a constantly evolving and changing band. Moving with the times like pictures, powering through the rough spots like windows and generally flying through the night on wings of a mixture of rock and prog to create the subgenre they currently inhabit. While controversial in the last coupe of releases, Rush has still managed to keep fans happy by releasing new, original material that reflects on where they've been, and where they're going. Snakes and Arrows is an album in that exact sense. Moving forward by keeping true to their evolving nature and looking back to make a blend of modern music and 70s classic. This album may not be as progressive as some fans would have liked it to have been, but theres no doubt that this progressive rock band is still on the move. This release debuted at #3 on the billboard charts in their native land of Canada and stayed there much longer than expected by anyone. As well, their Tour has had to be extended to a whole second, larger tour to accommodate for the fans that wish to see them. It's also been said that this has been their highest grossing album to date. Truly, Rush was deserving of the ''Most Promising Rock Group'' award that they won back in '75.

Back-story behind, let's move on to the music.

A perfect blend of old and new, Snakes and Arrows delivers headbanging rockers that Rush has always done as well as some fresh new material reminiscent of their classic albums mixed with their more recent outputs. The album opens with the rocker FAR CRY, a song that any hard rocker would love to hear from the band. With a crunching riff and a great chorus, this is the ''Anthem'' of the new millennium. No sooner does that end does the drum beat for ARMOUR AND SWORD kick off, with a great riff by Lifeson following close behind. Brilliant lyrics by Peart and over-the-top delivery by Lee makes this song a Rush classic, even among their entire catalog. WORKING THEM ANGELS is a bit softer, if only in subject matter. This song is more or less the new ''Ghost Rider'', Neil reflecting on his travels and putting them on paper in the form of song. This is somthing he's always been able to do very well anyways, put to Lifeson's and Lee's music it only gets that much better.

THE LARGER BOWL is up next, and what a reflective piece it is. A story about the fortune and misfortune in life that can really get one thinking about what the world is all about. SPINDRIFT is another rocker, this one just as heavy as FAR CRY. Not the most remarkable song, but it does have some great vocal delivery from Lee that proves that he can still hit the high notes.

The first of three instrumentals on the album, THE MAIN MONKEY BUSINESS is something else. Possibly the best instrumental to be performed by the band since YYZ, this is a track that can't be missed by prog fans. This track leads seamlessly into the next song. Another song revolving around global awareness, THE WAY THE WIND BLOWS is a very progressive track that works with the previous instrumental to show a side of Rush that's truly unique to this album. Lifeson strikes back in his old guise of Lerxt to deliver a fantastic acoustic track in HOPE.

FAITHLESS is a song under a bit of fire for seemingly attacking organized religion. Really, this is just a theme that Peart has used in his lyrics since '91s ''Ghost Of A Chance''. There may be something out there, but I think and act for myself. More great performances from each member. BRAVEST FACE is easily one of the standouts on the album, dark, well performed and written, this is a track that demands repeated listens. GOOD NEWS FIRST is one of the weaker tracks on the album, but it's topic once again makes it worth listening to.

Starting to conclude the album is the bass driven instrumental MALIGNANT NARCISSISM. Quick playing and heavy riffs make this one a standout along with the track that it leads into. WE HOLD ON follows the Rush tradition of excellent coda tracks. Heavy, quick, with great performances and writing, WE HOLD ON is a great end to a great album.

Rating?

Maybe not as prog as some of their classic albums, Snakes and Arrows is likely the best album Rush has done since the early 80s. Excellent album that gets no less than 4 stars. Just short of a masterpiece. It's a shame that MONKEY BUSINESS and WIND BLOWS weren't one song, because that might have put it over the top to have a long song after so long a time. However, with excellent performances with only one weak track this is an album that can't be missed.

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |

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