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Rush - Hold Your Fire CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.28 | 859 ratings

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4 stars Normally, I would state that the ratings for an album after a certain number of years and certainly numbers of reviews generally provide a prospective buyer with a fairly accurate guide as to the merits or otherwise of an album. Not, though, in this case.

Hold Your Fire is a 1987 release by the band who, by this time, has reinvented themselves as a powerful, and influential, heavy pop/prog outfit. It moves the band further in the direction provided by its predecessor, Power Windows, but is, to these ears, far better in terms of overall quality, production, band interplay, and lyrics.

It features, for the first time, Geddy Lee receiving assistance from a guest female vocalist in the shape of Aimee Mann on the wonderful, and extremely commercial, Time Stand Still, and the track rightly remains a great live favourite.

Elsewhere, there is not one weak track on the entire work, and, to give us all heart, some genuine Rush classics. There is the aforementioned Time Stands Still, and the stunning Mission, providing five minutes of extremely technical power rock and toe tapping joy. Absolutely to the fore are Geddy's keyboards and joyfully lilting vocals. This track is simply a pleasure from start to finish, and proved, as if they needed to prove such a thing, that it was entirely possible for a band to move with the sounds and attitudes of the time without once prejudicing the virtuosity that made them famous in the first place.

My personal favourite, though, is the wonderful, oriental world inspired, Tai Shan. Peart's lyrics tell a wonderful story of personal fulfilment in the ancient eastern world, and whilst Lee's keys and vocals are, again, very much to the fore (and soaring they are, too), I really admire and enjoy Alex Lifeson's deliciously understated guitar on this track. A great way to finish a great LP.

Elsewhere, there is not one weak link. Prime Mover perhaps comes closest from them to classic status, moving along at a cracking pace, and I still really enjoy the inventive drum loop that opens the album on Force Ten that leads into a massive statement of intent for what follows.

In closing, I would ask prospective buyers of this to ignore the comments in some previous reviews about the absence of Lifeson. It simply isn't true. For sure, this is an album very much synth led, but Lifeson contributes one hell of a lot as almost a rhythm guitarist, and Peart's drumming sounds as good as it always did. In other words, this is the sound of a band completely at ease with themselves and the direction in which they were heading.

Four stars for this, and a very strong four stars indeed. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

lazland | 4/5 |


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