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Rush - Roll The Bones CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.09 | 796 ratings

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Queen By-Tor
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars There's certainly a ghost of a chance that this album is great!

Intriguing, thought provoking, hard rocking... different. After the poppy album Presto, Rush decided to do something similar, yet different than anything they'd ever done before. While Presto has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, there's no denying that it was one of Rush's weaker moments in the progressive scope. While this album is more or less the same style wise, it manages to reach out for the progger a bit more than it's predecessor. I was at first hesitant to buy this album all those years ago... it's dicey cover plaguing the mind... demanding to be listened to. Then came the fateful day when I made my 2 hour trip down island to the record store that I was only able to visit once or twice a year. Along with Presto, Victor, some Dream Theater and Caress of Steel (oh, and some Boston) this album followed me home. While it was the last album that I would listen to by the end of the day it was the one that would leave the greatest impact. For this young Rush fan this album offered a strange kind of solace in the lyrics and music. This album was something else indeed.

Sticking more to the short songs, Rush continues on the path of simple yet complex songs that infect the mind and force the toes to tap. Opening with the concert favorite DREAMLINE the album starts on it's way. Immediately noticeable is the power in Geddy's voice as he screams out the chorus, and Alex's guitars -- no longer subdued. Following the stellar opening track comes one of the best Rush songs ever put on tape. BRAVADO is a wonderful track brought to life by Alex's serene riff and Neil's infectious beat along with Geddy's emotional delivery. Neil also puts to work some of Rush's best thought out lyrics on this one, as it's a song that can bring forward a multitude of emotions if the audience is right (along with Chris Squire's Silently Falling, this song ranks among my very favorite songs of all time). Excellent solo by Alex right where it needs to be, and everything fits. A good way to follow up the superb ''The Pass'' from Presto. The title track, ROLL THE BONES, is likely to rolla few heads the first listen around. Quirky rock at it's best this song opens with a memorable riff from Alex and synths from Geddy this song about fortune definitely needs to be listened to with open ears. Made even more quirky by a (seemingly) random rap section in the middle, this song takes a bit to get used to. Luckily, it's made great by some excellent guitar and bass parts at each bridge and solo.

After the opening three tracks things are off to a great start. While there may be some 'filler' coming up there's also a lot of classics to be had as well. FACE UP is a track that could be though of as filler. It's fast and synth filled... a song that seems to come strait off of Presto. Still good in it's own rights, this is one that isn't bad, but isn't one of the album's standouts. WHERE'S MY THING? is a quirky instrumental whose sound would later be followed up on Alex's solo output (1996's Victor), but not one of Rush's best instrumentals... fun none the less, and the start of a string of instrumentals off of each album until Vapor Trails. Up nest is THE BIG WHEEL, which is another song that could (I repeat COULD) be called filler... but it's lyrical content and floaty synths underlined by heavy guitars make it a favorite in my books. The moody HERESY is next to follow. A seemingly follow-up on Territories from Power Windows, this worldly song about people, sound wise, could also be strait off that album. Another strong track.

Coming to the end we're still running strong. Does it run out of steam?

No (to put it bluntly). Next to BRAVADO in terms of sublimity on this album sits steadily GHOST OF A CHANCE. Likely the song that would open the door to Neil's concept album about Love (Counterparts), this dark song addresses the myth of fate and the realities of love. Eggheaded hopeless romantics (such as myself) will love this song for it's lyrics while the proggers will appreciate it's clear tip of the hat to the sub-genre that this band so graciously formed. Heavier on guitar than it's peers, this song is a clear sign of things to come from the band. While the next two songs really had no chance of comparing to GHOST, they're still good none the less. NEUROTICA is another song where Rush flexes the heavy muscle, blistering riffs and a catchy chorus make this one a great song to listen to with your head swaying back and forth. YOU BET YOUR LIFE is yet another quick and quirky song that makes use of some strange things, this time it's harmonized voices chanting behind the lead vocals. Interesting use of rhyme and rhythm that is, again, a clear nod to the hip-hop-pop-culture that was taking rise around them. Never ones to be left in the dust by the music that threatened them (they considered themselves friends to punk in the 70s), this song along with ROLL THE BONES are very unique in the Rush catalog.

What does this one get then? While not quite as good as it's successor, Counterparts, and not quite as good as some of Rush's classic stuff this is still an album that easily compares. 4 stars for being unique, and indeed progressive, well past it's own times. Recommended for Rush fans and heavy prog fans. Anyone who would rather hang themselves than listen to 30 seconds of rap might want to skip the third track, however. Recommended!

Queen By-Tor | 4/5 |


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