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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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5 stars Be warned that I am about to gush about this album.

This is right up there with GRACE UNDER PRESSURE and COUNTERPARTS for my favorite RUSH album. The opener "The Spirit of Radio" is a dangerous proposition for me; I feel compelled to do the clapping bit that they do in concert during the chorus regardless of conditions. What can I say? The song moves me. It has some great proggy instrumental work while still maintaining an accessible pop heart to it's rock moves. The reggae bit at the end I find a little weak, but it is mercifully short, so no points are deducted in my book for it.

"Free Will" used to be a song I couldn't stand, given it's narmful lyrics about free will and how if your life is crap, it's kind of your fault, but I eventually learned to tune them out and listen to the music behind it. I really feel that this is the album where they finally grabbed onto the idea of mixing their progressive, pop, hard rock and heavy metal instincts cohesively into songs as opposed to compositions, and this song is indicative of that. Good, but not great track, but a really great riff.

"Jacob's Ladder" was difficult for me to get into at first due to it's very atmospheric approach. If, say, PORCUPINE TREE had released this song, it wouldn't have taken me as long to get into; I would have known how to approach it immediately. But for Rush to release threw me for a loop. However, once you get past how different this sounds compared to their other material, it reveals itself to be a fantastic masterpiece of an epic, featuring rather moody atmospherics and some cool but subtle shifts in time signature.

The one-two punch of "Entre Nous" and "Different Strings" is my second favorite part of the album. To my ears, they're always sounded like a miniature suite, having lyrics that relate to the relationship between two lovers with serious differences. Lyrically, they complement each other well, and musically, they emphasize that Rush has always had elements of pop in them. These are two beautiful, powerful songs.

"Natural Science" is my favorite part of the album and up there with my favorite Rush tracks. It's moody, progressive, atmospheric, heavy, EVERYTHING. You can hear things in this song that would reappear on DREAM THEATER's IMAGES AND WORDS; it is clearly metal, clearly progressive, but dosed with something that makes it distinct from earlier prog rock or contemporary metal. The lyrics are the best that NEIL PEART had penned at this point, focusing on the parallels between science and our lives, especially the ephemeral nature of our existence given our mortality and how this should affect how we treat one another. A beautiful, moving, and powerful song.

All in all, I feel there is only one weaker tune on this album, but even it has some very cool parts to it. The other songs vary between being great and near-perfect. Five stars, no doubts.

Gorloche | 5/5 |


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