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Rush - Counterparts  CD (album) cover

COUNTERPARTS

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

3.76 | 689 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

SouthSideoftheSky
Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
1 stars I tried to "stick it out" but soon realised that it's better for me to leave that thing alone!

Allow me to speculate a little: is it possible that the reason why (most of) Rush's 90's and 00's albums have so high average ratings is that only the band's most devoted fans have probed as deeply as this into the band's discography? It could be one relevant factor, perhaps. Something like this was at least true of this particular reviewer for quite some time, anyway. I have reviewed all of the band's 70's albums and most of their 80's albums years ago, but never got on to the 90's releases until now. I have heard some of these albums before, but always found it hard to sit through them in their entirety. Needless to add, I'm not a big fan of Counterparts.

As I pointed out in my review of the previous Rush album, 1991's Roll The Bones, that album fits better into the same category as the band's 80's albums and that the present album was the real beginning of the 90's-era Rush. The sound of Counterparts is very different from anything they ever did before. While the 80's albums from Signals onward adjusted to their time and drifted towards New Wave and Synth Pop with a more polished production, Counterparts was adjusted to its time and drifted towards Grunge and Alternative Rock. The keyboards and synthesisers were ditched completely and the guitars and bass became heavier and, dare I say, a bit muddled. Other bands made similar moves around the time. One example is Black Sabbath with Dehumanizer (an album I dislike for similar reasons I dislike Counterparts). This kind of "dirty" sound was very much of its time (the early 90's) and, in my opinion, it doesn't fit a classic Rock band like Rush at all. It is blatantly obvious that they were trying to be contemporary and adjust to new trends. This is not always a bad thing though, and Rush perhaps deserves respect for trying. But the end result is just not to my liking.

However, even if the sound and production were very different from previous Rush albums, the band's songwriting remained pretty much the same and the compositions are still based on the same tired formula as on, say, Grace Under Pressure. And, as I've pointed out in several previous reviews, Prog was clearly a thing of the past for Rush ever since Moving Pictures. Many Rush fans like Counterparts and consider it to be a return to form for the band and though I can agree that several of the songs are more energetic and powerful than on the lacklustre Roll The Bones, I have a hard time understanding the love this album gets on this site. I even get a bit bored while listening to these dull compositions and I have really given this album several chances over a period of several years. It is sad that a band once so great can fall as deep as they did in the early 90's.

Counterparts is thus a rather sad affair to these ears that I can recommend only to those hard core Rush fans that would follow the band wherever they chose to go no matter how far away from their classic sound. Thankfully, the next album would be an improvement.

SouthSideoftheSky | 1/5 |

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