Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Rush - Hold Your Fire CD (album) cover



Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Bookmark and Share
4 stars This is one of Rush's best "synth-pop-metal" albums. The feel is pretty laid back, but the lyrics are meaningful, the bass playing is awesome and Peart's ability to change tempos without upsetting the flow is truly amazing. This is a good CD for highway cruising. Songs like Force Ten, Prime Move, Mission and Turn the Page create a contemplative, positive mood. This has a very 1980's sound to it in that you experience the era's cautious optimism in the pleasant sounding chords and upbeat rhythm. This CD is a good "non-hard-core" way to expose a date to Rush. If you start off with "A Farewell To Kings", you'd scare her off. This is more of a safe, main-stream type of album.
Report this review (#20929)
Posted Saturday, January 17, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars A lot of people don't like this one, but I think "Time Stand Still" is a beautiful song and sentiment. It was nice to hear these songs on the radio at the time this album came out, compared to all the other drivel that was popular at the time. Nice pop-prog-rock here...
Report this review (#20933)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Sean Trane
Prog Folk
2 stars This one I found slighttly better then the previous four , but I was too busy discovering other things to really care . But I did keep track of their records and kept on listening to their album at least once , which was not the case with with other bands in dire times (Kansas?).

I cannot help the feeling everytime I see this album in stores to think that all Rush albums past Signals are just albums made as business-as-usual and are pretty much run-of-the-mill stuff , and this album is no exception to this first hour fan.

Clearly the 80's were troubled times for prog fans even if some of the pioneers were doing better than ever financially. But Yes, Genesis and Rush , if commercially successful and still dishing out poppier (and more commercial) tunes than at their early stages, they could never accused of playing it safe.

Report this review (#20938)
Posted Tuesday, February 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars this is probably the best sounding Rush album, we have also very good songs here, guitar parts are excellent and we have so much air in the compositions. Keyboards are still largely present and it still works perfect. Great CD.
Report this review (#20940)
Posted Thursday, February 26, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I don't care what everybody says... Yes, it's the more commercial album Rush ever did, yes, they kinda sold their soul to the radio gods on this one... But the songs, arrangements, lyrics & production are perfect here ! Rush are so talented (so canadian !) that even with aor music they keep the Rush signature and even improve their song-writing... An album any music lover (prog included) should have in his collection !
Report this review (#20941)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another outstanding work of the canadians. The best album from their 80's synth era without a doubt, along with Signals. All songs are just amazing, lyrics are excellent, music isn't that complicated as in previous albums, that's for sure, but is that really a reason to throw away this? this is still prog people! well, if you are looking for a Villa Strangiato or a Jacob's Ladder be sure you won't find it here. It's impossible to really appreciate this album if you are thinking just in their olds, people should be open to changes....rush changed, people changes. TOP SONGS: Mission, Time Stand Still, Prime Mover, Turn the Page and Lock and Key.
Report this review (#20942)
Posted Monday, March 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars This is a continuation of where Power Windows left off. The songs are on the same level, the production is of the same class, and the whole package is comparable. No weak tracks here either. Even the track Alex himself isn't keen on, Tai Shan, is very enjoyable and melodic. The opener, Force Ten, is a good guide to what you will get on the rest of the album. A fine piece of music. Second Nature is another highlight. Mission is another excellent track, and, ending the album, High Water is very evocative of primeval soup syndrome. Another album worth purchasing. In the old gun to the head scenario though, I would still place Power Windows higher.
Report this review (#20943)
Posted Saturday, March 27, 2004 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Everything here has declinegd a bit in terms of performance and inspiration. Fortunately, it is still very good. No doubt, it sounds like "Power Windows", but Geddy Lee took it easy on the bass, focusing more on the keyboards. the bass is still very good, but it was outstanding on the previous album. The keyboards are more varied than on "Power Windows", but I prefer the ones on this previous album. Lifeson still makes pretty good solos here, but his rythmic sometimes seems to be less impressive. We feel Neil Peart is not at his best on drums.
Report this review (#20931)
Posted Wednesday, April 14, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars I'm not certain "Hold Your Fire" is a concept album, but here's my take on things. Using the four elements (fire, water, earth, air) as imagery, RUSH tells the story of a pilgrim who searches to find the calm and understanding human being trapped beneath the surface storm of negative emotions. The "story" (as it were) alternates between the present journey and past recollections, finally achieving peace on "Tai Shan" and returning to the water of our origin on "High Water." Maybe that's stretching things a bit, but the good news is even without a uniting concept the songs on "Hold Your Fire" hold their own. In fact, the opening combination of "Force Ten" and "Time Stands Still" is probably their best stage entrance since "Moving Pictures". Add great standalone songs like "Prime Mover" and "Turn The Page" (which appear at well-placed intervals to shake the listener from potential apathy), and the sum total may edge out "Grace Under Pressure" and "Power Windows". Purists will note that RUSH still leans heavily on synthetic sounds, which diminishes the effect of their technical brilliance, but it's unfair to expect the trio to discard a style that they've obviously embraced and made work for them.

I'd stop short of calling this a great album, since too many critics have championed any one of their post-Pictures albums as the Dauphin in the discography, but I can see where folks would warm up to this more than their last two efforts.

Report this review (#20932)
Posted Monday, May 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
3 stars Not essential on your Rush collection, but it has it's moments. To fully enjoy the complexity of Hold Your Fire, it's better to watch A Show of Hands. To me, Hold Your Fire is the top in efforts and musicianship in Rush history. Geddy uses his bass in a poppy and rapid way (Force Ten, Turn The Page, Time Stand Still). Lifeson has his moments too. But seems to be more on the background side this time. Peart is flamboyant. Most of the songs are a total work-out of technique and quickness. My hat to Peart, top of your drumming in this tour-de-force that is Hold your Fire. And it shows in the Tour video (Rythm method). Force Ten, Mission, Turn the Page and the very surprisingly catchy Point Mover, are lots of tracks that makes your feet stomp. Most of the songs of the albums are forgotten, by fans and maybe even by the boys themselves! The 80's feel is there, but 1988 was a new debut in rock. 1988 is a very decent year if your album's been produced in that period. It would be unfair to say that Hold your Fire is a bad album. Only girl-commercial-oriented. Technology in concerts and studios gave a crystal-clear sound and immaculate production. Remember in 1988 was also the release of Depeche Mode 101 with amazing sound and producted with advanced savoir-faire! Well, Rush always beneficied of the latest technology, studio or concert and it shows in here. Catchy tunes for almost every track, a lighter sound maybe more targetted to neo-prog fans that (unfortunately), can't get enough of Marillon.
Report this review (#20944)
Posted Friday, May 21, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars If you can divorce yourself from what Rush used to do in the past - up to and including Signals, possibly - and you listen to this album in expectation of a modern-sounding piece of art that keeps the best of Rush (the craftsmanship, the lyrics, the lyrical flow) then you'll see it for what it is: a masterpiece.

'Prime Mover' is a perfect song. There is scarcely any way that it could be improved upon.

Report this review (#20947)
Posted Wednesday, July 7, 2004 | Review Permalink
1 stars Force ten is the only good song on the album for me. If you are more interested with the music components of rush, stay away from this album. It seems to be 99% lyrics and 1% music. There really isn't much that stands out on this album except for force ten. I listen to a few seconds of it and then I want to throw the cd away because im so dissapointed in rush. But then I remember that I love them so i can't. :p I tried to love every album, but I found it to be impossibly on this one. Sorry guys. Worst rush album ever.
Report this review (#20948)
Posted Sunday, August 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This is brilliant! how can you not love this masterpiece? RUSH have always managed to maintain groundbreaking originality with every disc they release, and HOLD YOUR FIRE being of no exception, and in my opinion, is a gigantic five stars masterwork. I cannot fault this album whatsoever -production is clean and all elements of musicianship are executed to the highest standards (as allways) NEAL PEART once again confirms to the world that he is the greatest! (YES I SAID THE GREATEST!!!) and teaches us mere mortals what drummology is all about. I was simply blown away by this album and i still play it and it still sounds new and fresh. Listening pointers include LOCK AND KEY, MISSION, HIGH WATER,TURN THE PAGE, OPEN SECRETS -all of which are monsterous prog anthems where you'd have to go a long way to beat. I think this is probably chapstick's fave RUSH album! And if you've never heard it, you owe it to yourself (as a fan of prog and not necessarily and RUSH fan) to go buy it now and have an open mind.
Report this review (#20949)
Posted Monday, August 23, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars You cannot call yourself a true Rush fan and not like this album. It's not "guitar rock", so guitarists might not like it for that reason. Some of Neil's best lyrics. As far as the "concept album" thing I don't care about that. The songs all stand on their own. Favorites: Mission, Prime Mover. Essential for true Rush fans.
Report this review (#20950)
Posted Monday, August 30, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I love this album. But anyway I love the RUSH music per se. I like music which is clear and bright. That is because I love also YES or Mozart. And this is of the same sort. You will not find here obscurities often used by some musicians to hide the lacks of skill or ideas. Here everything is transparent, almost elemental. It was a very good choice when the RUSH guys returned back to the earth after their space odysey in the 70s. Hold your fire is an album strongly ancored to the earth. It is about our earth and the music erupts from the depth. It is worthy hearing.
Report this review (#20953)
Posted Monday, October 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I finally decide to write my first review (sorry for my english) to support this album which is far better than the deceiving "Power Windows". Neil Peart's drumming is really amazing, the bass is very good and Geddy Lee's voice is better than usually. Even if it's not the complex progressive music of "Hemispheres", this album is perfect, it makes me jump and gives me positive energy for 18 years. My favourite tracks are "Force ten", "Time stand still", "Lock and key", "Mission", "Turn the page" but there's no weak track in this album. It's a masterpiece, IMHO the best RUSH album with "A farewell to kings", "Hemispheres" & "2112".
Report this review (#20954)
Posted Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Review Permalink
Eetu Pellonpaa
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I liked some songs on this album very much, though I'm not a big fan of the musical style it represents. Maybe this partly makes it as an exotic album for me then? There's an extremely powerful feeling pulsing from the music, and one either likes it or hates it. Though the songs are quite accessible, they have complex musical parts in them, and the compositions have been done with a style. I would recommend listening this album, but the purchasing decision should be done after it's clear if this kind of music is pleasing or annoying. My favorite songs from this are "Force Ten", "Time Stand Still", "Open Secrets", "Mission" and "Turn The Page".
Report this review (#20930)
Posted Friday, April 1, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars Rush at it's worse... No, not a bad album, just not really good. I'm not denying any of the beautiful songs in the album, such as lock and key, force ten, and mission. the thing about this album is that it just keeps floating around a same sounding keyboard and a soothing, but boring, melody the whole album. Its really nice for a one time listen, but you just can bare to listen to it a second time... Altough it has some nice songs to hear separately, steer clear of this one unless you're a Rush fan.
Report this review (#20956)
Posted Sunday, May 22, 2005 | Review Permalink
1 stars I used to belive that even the worst Rush was better then the best of most other bands....I was wrong,very very wrong. This album is So bad it hurts my ears.This sounds like a cross between enya and a Rocky movie soundtrack! This album is only for the fan who must own everything by Rush and even then do yourself a favor and leave the shrinkwrap on it.To say this is the best of the synth era Rush is kinda like saying "Gee this Poo tastes less like Poo than the Poo I just ate" Sorry Rush but you blew it with this one, Like a Toothless Tiger You may have the look but there is no sign of bite here whatsoever! The Good news is however is they DO get better after this.Over the course of the next few albums Rush does come closer to the near greatness of their past but it takes a while so "stick it out"
Report this review (#20957)
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars 4.5--HYF represents Rush in its most refined phase. Contrary to popular belief, this album and tour posed probably the greatest challenge to each member's ability to juggle many duties at once. Arguably the most highly produced Rush album. If only the Vapor Trails sessions could have been recorded like this. It would have been unstoppable.
Report this review (#36604)
Posted Wednesday, June 15, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Yes; this is Rush's most highly-produced album. It glistens with a sheen that can only come from a REALLY polished production. But the songs themselves are on display, and not the production. Some of the best 80's-era Rush lyrics are on this album. "It's cold comfort to the ones without it, to know how they struggled, how they suffered without it." Somehow, I don't really need to know what "it" is. You can tell by the emotion that Geddy uses. To cut a long story short, the production is typical of the times, but the songs are great, with more melody and sharper guitar/bass/keyboard harmonies. Not only that, but Aimee Mann on backing vocals? Cool! For that, I give this effort 5 stars.
Report this review (#39192)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
erik neuteboom
2 stars My attitude on this site is to emphasize the good and interesting progrock instead of writing negative reviews about bands, artist and albums I dislike. But at some moments I feel an urge to push away this attitude. This time I would like to give my opinion about this album that is rated between 1 and 5 stars, room for discussion! I'm a hugh Rush fan and follow them from their album "A farewell to kings" until .. indeed, this album. I bought it, played it a few times and then sold it for a few bugs, what a disappointing Rush effort! To me Rush had lost control over their MIDI-controlled high-tec music, resulting in a over- produced and too clinical sound, far away from the exciting and compelling mid-Rush era featuring albums like "Moving pictures". I simply don't understand that progheads give 5 stars to this album but on the other hand, music is a matter of taste ...
Report this review (#39199)
Posted Monday, July 11, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Just out of curiosity I read some reviews of this excellent album. I love Rush's previous works and the latter ones and there is no exception for this one. Many say it isn't PROG. Well, there are maybe too many catchy tunes or radio friendly parts, but I honestly find there many proggier parts. I can't say this is a flawless album, but honestly, try to forget the fact that they wanted to expand their musical efforts and do something totally different. Totally different said by many disappointed fans, but I enjoy this album throughout. Honestly.
Report this review (#39441)
Posted Thursday, July 14, 2005 | Review Permalink
Cygnus X-2
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars My least favorite Rush album, and it deserves rightly so. The group was heavily into the pop/synth realm by the time this album was released. The musicianship is there, but the tracks go from mediocre and lame. It seems that they were losing their creative juices. Thankfully, they would get out of this rut, and create good follow ups. Geddy's bass work had gotten more simple during the synth years, and this is the apex of that era, his keyboard work had now become a very prominent feature. Lifeson, as always, is at the top of his game, creating catchy riffs and intricate solos to compliment the keyboards and bass. Neil Peart, on the other hand, had it musically, creating precision beats and rhythms, but his lyrics on this album are so mediocre.

The only song I can really recommend off of this album is the opener Force Ten, which features the best lyrics of the album, great synth work, and a great guitar solo. Musically, Mission and Turn the Page are among the best 80's Rush works available, but they are marred by lame lyrics.

Overall, this is a mediocre album by such a great band. Thankfully, Presto would begin their ascent from this rut. I find it hard to enjoy this album, and I think the general progressive fan would think the same. As much a fan of Rush I am, I can only give this a 2/5.

Report this review (#39765)
Posted Tuesday, July 19, 2005 | Review Permalink
The Crow
5 stars This is the best Rush's album I've heard! Every song included here touches my heart every time I listen this disc. The bass lines of Geddy are amazing! Prime Mover has one of the best bass playing I've heard!

The Neil's sound in drums it's also great, like in the beginning of Force Ten. It's obvious that Mike Portnoy has listened it! And I love the Alex's playing here too, like the beauty guitars of Tai Shan... This records really rocks!

Time Stand Still, Mission, High Water... What a collection of wonderful songs! I absolutely recommend this masterpiece to every good music's lover.

Report this review (#40845)
Posted Friday, July 29, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars There's a continuity from Power Windows to HYF. Not so clear in the composition, but in sound, which could be thought as glittering, acute (courtesy of Jimbo Burton). Mid-tempo songs are prevalescent, and songs are an average 5 minutes long. Of course, we are in the eighties, so suites and epic tracks are no longer here, but the path they had taken years before makes coherent and even desirable this fact.

HYF is a record full of subtle arrangements, with a female voice for the first time (Aimee Mann in Time stand still), sample sounds in Force Ten, the heaviest song here, and keyboards here, there and everywhere. Peart's labor is so rich in rhythmic variations as it was in PW, and sometimes is directly responsible of the climate of the theme (Prime mover is a good example of what Y mean). Geddy Lee adds a way of playing, described by himself 'fingerpicking & snacking', resulting a foreground bass with a protagonic melodic role. Somehow, it's the same way of Vital Signs or Tom Sawyer. Lifeson appears in the end, despite he attains some space from keyboards and synthesizers in a couple of songs. His guitar is lighter, in a full sense, which by no means is bad and contributes with the musical concept of this work.

Some things may be missed, such as the monolithic wall of sound, perversely syncronized from the bass and guitar present not so long ago. Voices are tuned and without those witch excesses of the first times. But to reduce Rush sound to that is, at least, an appreciation mistake. HYF is essencially Rush, and a confirmation of the progressive spirit of the band with no need of baroque scales or multiphonic harmonies.

This is another step forward in the path taken since Permanent Waves (1980). Since then, each album brings more technical, rhythmical and sonorous complexness, inside a riskful evolution. For this reason, it was said that they had became a 'sound engineers' band', which is not bad at all, except for being an exageration. Maybe there's few rock'n'roll in the structural way, and hard rock seekers may be confused, the same as the ones who search for a new Xanadu. The 'art-rock' gives way to an 'art-pop' magnifically played and serious. Rush hasn't lost poetic quality, and still transports you to a deep and calm exaltation. This is a record homogeneous and careful, delicate and mature.

Report this review (#71127)
Posted Saturday, March 4, 2006 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rush's "Hold Your Fire" is not my favourite Rush album but I still consider this as a good oneto have. "Time Stand Still" lyrics convey a message that is very meaningful even though musically is not something stand out with respect to my taste. Eeach track on the album has become interesting if it's repeated many spins. As usual, Neil Peart's lyrics are rich and full of meaning.

Hold Your Fire is not as powerful as "Moving Pictures" was, of course. Keyboards are still a strong element in Rush's music as it started being heavier since "Signals". Electronic drums have become obvious of Peart's arsenal, no more so than in the explosive opening notes of the above mentioned "Force Ten," which kicks off the album. Thing that the group does not want to compromise is the arrangements by which they still don't want to write simple ones. Each song is still distinctive from one to another so you don't get bored with the flow. The band has progressed in its true meaning by which they keep pushing their limits more and more beyond their boundary and did not want to live in the past with their glory hits.

Overall it's a good album even though you have to work hard forgetting their past and tune your mind into this new music direction of Rush. The sonic quality is excellent with Peter Collins and Rush as the producers. Keep on proggin' ..!

Report this review (#75852)
Posted Saturday, April 22, 2006 | Review Permalink
Marc Baum
4 stars This may be Rush’s most synth-laden album, but it is still of excellent quality. One of the major complaints I have heard about Rush’s synth era is that Alex Lifeson had less to do. That’s not entirely true. Sure, he doesn’t play blazing leads or crunching riffs as he did in the early days, but he does play some excellent rhythm guitar during this era. Even still, a lot of his best solos were done through this time period so it’s not like he abandoned them all together. Don’t expect to hear classic progressive rock/metal when playing this album. It's definitely softer, but the depth of the music is great.

The opening track, "Force Ten", rocks the hardest here. The bass line is phenomenal, and overall the synth does not strike me as being as cheesy as it was in the past. "Time Stand Still" is probably the most ‘pop’ song here, but at least the lyrics are strong. It’s about wanting to slow down time to enjoy life a little longer. "Prime Mover" has yet another excellent bass line. I really wish more bands would use leading bass line like Geddy Lee does instead of just playing root notes. My favorite of the album is "Mission". It’s got inspirational lyrics about sticking to your dreams and goals in life, and it has great instrumental section near the end. A powerful guitar solo finishes off the track, and I think it’s one of Lifeson’s best.

I have spoken mostly about Geddy and Alex, but what about drum god Neil Peart? He’s not all over his drum kit like in the past, however he used electronic drums and percussion here, so his creativity is still evident. HYF has some of his best lyric writing as well. "Force Ten", "Mission", "Open Secrets", and pretty much every other track has well written lyrics. I’m not sure if there is an overall theme to the album, but a lot of the tracks have inspirational lyrics.

There are some weaker tracks here though. I’m not a big fan of the closing track, "High Water"; it just doesn’t come off as epic as a closing track should. Mission probably would have worked as a better closing song. "Tai Shan" is average but ok, as long as you don’t expect a usual Rush song. It’s mostly synth and mandolin, but no drums. It has grown on me with several listenings.

In my oppinion, "Hold Your Fire" marks the peak of Rush's synth-era in the 80's. Here it seems definitely matured in comparison with their previous album and works pretty well. Don't let the confusing low ratings fool you, this is one of the better Rush albums after their golden 70's era. Probably no comparison with the mighty Moving Pictures but definitely on par between Signals and Grace Under Pressure.

album rating: 8.5/10 points = 83 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Report this review (#76576)
Posted Friday, April 28, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars This band has probably fallen apart, musically, after Grace under Pressure album, which is the last that can be labeled as "good". This album was quite a nightmare in my listening experience. They sounded totally uninspired, but they have continued their careers, probably for financial purposes only. Keyboards are quite uninteresting to me, guitars either. This is a simple and non-progressive album, and one I will not remember much So, it is one of rare albums that would be given one star rating only out of my computer keyboard.
Report this review (#87514)
Posted Thursday, August 17, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars Hold You Fire by Rush is from a fairly bad time for the art rock group. The influences of synth and production that accompanied 80's pop spread into this album of the time. The lyrics are not actually that bad; Neal Peart, as usual, is able to write well no matter what the musical context. But the lyrics don't seem to be backed by expressive and skillful music in this album. When Rush combines a whole staff of musicians with its original three, the average quality of those musicians goes down. Alex Lifeson's usually brilliant guitar work is pushed into the background, hidden behind a wall of mediocre synth, brass, and strings. Even Geddy Lee, normally reaching all over his unique vocal range, seems subdued. Devoted Rush fans may want to pick this one up for the lyrics and as a document of the history of the group, but for most it can be easily skipped. Two stars for Hold Your Fire.
Report this review (#87627)
Posted Friday, August 18, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars Rush released their 12th studio album, Hold Your Fire, in 1987. It was to be their final studio album recorded for the Mercury label. Although it may seem identical in sound to 1985's masterful Power Windows at first, deeper inspection reveals its own unique character and distinctions. True, both albums rely heavily on synthesizers to create electronic soundscapes that are the apotheosis of say, "Bastille Day", but Hold Your Fire has an even more potentially mainstream sound. Yet the album pretty much flopped at the time. What? How? Why? Ladies and gentlemen: the enigma of Rush.

Before I rate the songs individually: If you can't get past 80's production values, you will never like this album. Stop reading this now. If you are a fan of Rush and agree that 80's production added a valuable new dimension to their music and that if they recorded themselves farting in a tin can it would sound great, read on (and God bless your soul).

1) Force Ten (10/10): a flawless tour de force starting off with an infectious drum and bass rhythm that is joined by Alex Lifeson/Lerxst and his razor-sharp guitar. Fast paced and catchy as the bubonic plague. The synth bubbles underneath the surface only to be lashed out at the listener for a few heart-stoppingly amazing seconds. (The live version on the R30 DVD is monumental. Check it out!) 2) Time Stand Still (10/10): The album's minor hit single. It starts off real simple: bass, guitar, drums and vocals. Then the chorus features backing vocals by Aimee Mann (utilized to great effect) as well as jaw-droppingly good drumming by Neil Peart. Geddy Lee's vocals are filled with so much emotion I can't even begin to describe it. Think of the best chorus you've ever heard in any song. Now imagine a whole song with every part as good as that chorus....Time Stand Still! This could well be the greatest Rush song ever. 3) Open Secrets (8/10) Starts off with a simply superb, almost disjointed instrumental section before Geddy's vocals make it even better! Features a fine guitar solo by Lerxst and a very robust chorus which could have fitted perfectly on Power Windows. 4) Second Nature (8/10). This is probably the least immediately striking track on the album (for me anyway). Initially it seems dull and lifeless, but if ever a song revealed its true greatness after a few spins it was this one! Neil Peart once again provides reason to call this album the quintessential Rush drumming album. Highly emotional vocals, as always. 5) Prime Mover (8/10) A "basic" (relatively speaking) rock song that also sounds ordinary at first. Subsequent listening reveals Lerxst's chiming guitar and Geddy's genius bass-line buried beneath the layers. 6) Lock and Key (9/10). Opens with a lush, widescreen instrumental section. As with "Prime Mover", the first verse and chorus sound somewhat ordinary, but things improve with some manic drumming and a screeching guitar solo. 7) Mission (10/10). Genius song by a genius band. U2 never sounded so anthemic. The Cure never sounded so emotive. Fans of songs like "Xanadu" should/must enjoy the brief instrumental section towards the end. 8) Turn The Page (9/10). This song manages to exclude synth for almost a minute while a great bass-line leads the processions. Along with "Force Ten", this is the most "rocking" of all the tracks. 9) Tai Shan (8/10). The "Mystic Rhythms" of this album recreates the atmosphere of a misty mountain top in China where Pratt felt inspired to pen the lyrics. Lerxst's oriental guitar sound is particularly great. This is one of those "love it or loathe it" songs. I happen to love it. 10) High Water (10/10). This one always gets dismissed as being lazy and forgettable. Why this is the case is beyond me. This dynamic song creates the musical equivalent of turbulent waters. No really. The chorus is simply beautiful.

Well, that's the lot! No bonus tracks, no filler, no frills, no fuss! Just an underrated gem! Do not listen to reviewers who say "Force Ten", "Time Stand Still" and "Turn The Page" are the only good tracks. They only hear the accessible hooks and riffs in those songs and immediately draw this lame conclusion. In this respect, Hold Your Fire is probably the most prog album by Rush! You really have to listen attentively to appreciate its true greatness. REAL Rush fans would...

The production is absolutely pristine and crisp. At first I was disappointed by the obvious lack of booming bass, but then I realized Geddy's bass on this album was used more like a guitar. There really are no complaints.

Report this review (#88612)
Posted Thursday, August 31, 2006 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can understand that Hold Your Fire doesn't fit to the Rush's pre-synths period fans since it's probably the band's most commercial work but it's the way I like them, with great melodies, sharp guitar riffs, groovy drums and the bass . well, listen to the middle section of "Prime Mover", it speaks for itself. Songs like the aforementioned or "Time Stand Still" are really outstanding. Besides, the disenchanted Peart's lyrics add a further dimension to the music. The first half of the album would IMHO deserve five stars but the second half has its ups and downs so I will go with a very solid four stars.

Sometimes, I feel that Rush's music creates some kind of an unbreathable metallic atmosphere. In the case of Hold Your Fire, you can fully breathe and enjoy.

Report this review (#88680)
Posted Friday, September 1, 2006 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Hold Your Fire' is an element of the 3rd incarnation of Rush. It is a significant evolution in style from their classic rock roots - migrating more towards well composed power pop presented with intense energy and amazing musicianship. It is this era of Rush that was given the nickname "Power Trio." While the material from this album is not featured in regular classic rock rotation, the compositions should not be overlooked. The content is not reserved for die hard Rush fans - the songs are strangely timeless and universal, which is probably why it has not gained the favor of most Rush fans who favor the obscure.

The material on "Fire' features the best overall presentation from Rush. The arrangement of all instruments is flawless featuring well balanced percussion, bass, keyboards, guitar and vocals. It features Geddy's best vocal performances and is, without question, the best lyrical output from Neil Peart. The depth of his lyrics is typified by elements from 'Turn the Page' and 'Mission':

"Truth is after all a moving target. Hast to spin in pieces that don't fit." (Turn the Page)

"I hear their passionate music. Read the words that touch my heart. I gaze at their feverish pictures; the secrets that set them apart" (Mission)

Neil consistently paints lyrical images that tap the emotions of the listener. I visualize his stories as the music plays. it is a rare treat. The lyrics transition the complex, energy driven performances to a spiritual experience.

When I listen to "Fire," I am stunned by the power of the rhythm section. Neil's percussion is dynamic, complex, and precise. Alex's guitar does not take center stage, but sings with emotion that raises the hair on my arms. And what can I say about Geddy's bass? Well, it is the highlight of this CD. His lines are complex, syncopated, and amazingly melodic. His bass on "Prime Mover," Force 10", and "Turn the Page" have convinced me that this CD is the GREATEST BASS CD of all time. And yes, I do like McCartney, Entwistle, Squire, Jaco, Claypool, Clarke, etc. I have heard all of it and still believe that this is the best bass material out there. Beyond that, it is accompanied with incredible guitar, percussion, lyrics, and compositions.

As an owner of all Rush material. along with 600 other CD's, I find my play lists featuring Force 10, Time Stand Still, Prime Mover, Turn The Page, and Mission. That's over half of the material from this CD. Few other disks in my collection can claim this level of attention; I find 'Fire' in the same company as Quadrophenia, Dark Side of the Moon, and select others. If you do not own this CD, go out and buy it.

Report this review (#93658)
Posted Saturday, October 7, 2006 | Review Permalink
1 stars This is where I gave up on Rush completely. Every album starting with "Signals" was getting worse and worse, and this one is probably as bad as it only could be... There was a moment when I really tried hard to get into this album, and then I've found some positive elements, for. ex. in "Force Ten", "Time Stand Still", "Mission" and "High Water", I mean some melodies here and there, but still the best songs are far under the usual standard. Now, when I look at it with a perspective, I find it totally uninteresting and I'm not putting this CD into my player anymore...

The songs that I've mentioned had some potential to be really good, but that awful 80's production kills it all. It seems like everything except keyboards has been buried deep in the mix. You just don't feel the power behind all that instruments. The result is that they don't ROCK. All songs sound soo poppy...

Fortunately, they've started to change their direction a bit, and ultimately returned to their rock roots in the 90's, but unfortunately, not so progressive any more...

Report this review (#102778)
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2006 | Review Permalink
2 stars The late 70s and all of the 80s were dark times for the 70s prog giants. Rush's fate is no different than that of Yes, Genesis, and ELP with the exception that Rush still released a good song here and there. Hold Your Fire isn't Rush worst, but it's not very good, either.

Force Ten and Time Stand Still are very strong songs that are prime 3rd era Rush. The former's drum and bass rythm and the latter's thoughtful lyrics show the band still has some zazz. Geddy shines on this album on songs like Turn the Page, Prime Mover, Force Ten, and Mission. This is one of his best albums in terms of bass. However, the rest of the band fails to impress.

This isn't a total disaster, but fans of the synth driven Rush should stick to Grace Under Pressure and Signals. Peart's use of electronic drums isn't as inventive as Bill Bruford's use on 80s era Crimson. However, he never fails to assert his skills. Alex keeps getting less and less time due to the dominance of the synth.

Fans of Rush might like this album, but this doesn't hold a candle to the 70s output. Bass fanatics would do well to check out this album, as Geddy is very strong here.

Grade: D+

Report this review (#106858)
Posted Tuesday, January 9, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Strange how Genesis fans will just tear apart the so called commercial albums that followed after Duke ( or starting with Duke for some), but Rush fans will largely offer a greater range of appreciation, with the rare angry critique. I was still buying their albums as soon as they were released, & played this cassette a lot, but the only that stuck were the singles released for Radio - Time Stand Still, Force Ten, & Turn The Page. As such, it's not a bad album, but for many, it blended in with the others released during the late 80s to early 90s (Power Windows to Roll The Bones). As a fan, I bought them all, but apart from the respect they earned for doing their own thing, I disposed of them long ago.
Report this review (#108447)
Posted Monday, January 22, 2007 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars They thank the Steve Morse Band in the liner notes (Steve is such a good guitarist), but where did the guitarist for RUSH go ? I know he's on here, especially during the opener "Force Ten" where his guitar is heard throughout, and after that he closes out "Mission" with some nice solos. He also gives us a solo on "Turn The Page". It's just that RUSH has turned into a synth driven band with Neil playing electronic percussion making it obvious to all who listen to it that this is an eighties album. I think you could say this is a soft album, with lyrics that are positive (dwelling on how good we humans are), and influenced I believe greatly by Neil's visit to the Orient. There is a spiritual or mystic vibe especially on "Tai Shan" an uplifting song.

I do have a secret love for "Time Stand Still" with TIL' TUESDAY's Aimee Mann providing some nice added vocals. It's the lyrics on this song that are so meaningful and Geddy's vocals seem to fit perfectly with the music. "Open Secrets" is about relationships. "Second Nature" is an optimistic tune. "Prime Mover" features some good bass lines from Lee."Lock And Key" has too many keys. "Mission" is one of the better songs here.

I took an informal poll at the "Vapor Trails" RUSH concert in Toronto asking people which RUSH album was their favourite. The only surprise to me was how many times this record was mentioned. One guy said this record helped him get through a very difficult period of his life. And I can see how "Hold Your Fire" could do that, it's the power of music. And although the power in RUSH seems all but gone at this point it's not. It's just making itself known in a different way.

Report this review (#113783)
Posted Tuesday, February 27, 2007 | Review Permalink
Prog Leviathan
3 stars "Hold Your Fire" changes focus a bit and looses a bit of steam when compared to Rush's previous two albums. At this point, the band feels like they are less concerned with experimentation, instead concentrating on writing songs that really try to reach people (this being far and away Rush's most political album) or sound nice. Unfortunately, there is very little serious rocking being done here.

With the exception of the first two tracks (which truly are awesome), the band is much more tame and mature, with Geddy's voice sounding mellow and stable and their collective playing coming across as very cool and precise. There aren't any songs here that will leave you breathless (even if you sing along!), and there are actually some you might want to skip ("Tai Shen" and "High Water" anyone?). There are even a few slow ones!

That being said, the songs themselves are much more adult than what we've seen before, with Peart's rhyming sometimes sounding acrobatic-- but always serious. And while "Force Ten" rocks with the best of them, the rest just don't generate the same excitement as before. A good album for fans, but not a one for beginners.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Report this review (#116640)
Posted Thursday, March 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
5 stars Superb songwriting throughout make Hold Your Fire one of Rush's best records. Standout tracks include every tune of the record. This is not an album; however, for Rush/prog purists. Prog masterpieces are nowhere to found on this recording. Tight little hard rock/prog twist songs make up the matter of this album and it is only with repeated listening that the true brilliance of what they are going is finally achieved in the intricacies of the intenste musicianship and sound that goes into making this one of the most underrated recordings in the Rush pantheon. HYF is an excellent album release by a band that continues to shatter general expectations from a bunch of "fans" who want them to record Fly by Night and 2112 over and over until they croak.
Report this review (#121790)
Posted Saturday, May 12, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I'm not totaly agree with others reviewers that Hold your fire is a bad album, maybe less inspiring than the early works, but times changed and Rush realy knew how to evolve in prog and in music in general . The good music is present all over the album, and i can't understand what is so bad on this album in comparation with Power windows or Presto, witch i find them less enjoyble. No doubt, it sounds like "Power Windows", but Geddy Lee took it easy on the bass, focusing more on the keyboards. With all that i find Hold your fire a 4 star album, and to me is the second best in the '80 after Moving pictures, and among the best Rush albums. Forte tracks all but with plus on Open secrets and lock and key. 4 stars for Hold your fire. This one is on top 5 albums of Rush.
Report this review (#124736)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars i have a sublime, strange feeling for this one. for sure a good album, great energized songs, full of optimist lyrics. when i hear "the mission" it reaches me in a way as if i was born again for 4 minutes..every single song has something to do with this.obviously their 3 wave as they mould in the 80ies, leaving back windows, grace and the great signals. more is yet to come; but HYF sounds like rush first album, starting a new era, giving pass to presto, roll the bones...very eighties with the unmistakable trade mark of rush outcomes. mistic.
Report this review (#127522)
Posted Wednesday, July 4, 2007 | Review Permalink
Queen By-Tor
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rush ends the tough 80s on a high note.

Though it may not be their best album, this is definately an album that is highly underrated and outspoken. Granted, it is very much more poppy than Rush's previous work, but it still has a very experimental side that is what has always kept the band pressing foreward. Continuing with a sound reminecent of "Power Windows", Hold your Fire is a rollercoaster of midpaced, slow, and all around dark-to-bright songs. But, as with all Rush albums, that normal heavyness is still around, but now in a different form.

Great right from the start, FORCE TEN is a noteable track with a very prog feel, from the echo of Neil's intro drums you're blasted with a kind of transformed sonic force that the band is used to dishing out. Other tracks on the album have this same effect, LOCK AND KEY is a great (lost) Rush song dominated by Geddy's haunting vocals and synthesizers. As for the more midpaced tracks, PRIME MOVER is definately the best, offering a great mini-pseudo-epic that is more soft sounding than some of the other material on the album. MISSION follows in suit, another great track, which is amazing live, especially on the recent Snakes & Arrows tour. The album slows down a bit in some parts, TIME STAND STILL is a great, well done pop song (and no, that's not Geddy, there's a woman performing on the track with them), SECOND NATURE is a bit weaker, but is good none the less.

A couple of songs that seem to have a sound unique to this album give off mixed vibes. As far as the good vibes go, TURN THE PAGE is a great, quick, Rush song, also great live ("Show of Hands" 1988). HIGH WATER is also a great track, as Rush never seem to disappoint with album codas. Where the album seems go lose my attention a bit is the almost cliche TAI SHAN. While this song has that unique sound of the album it's a bit of a let down. A bit on the slow side for my liking, this is also a track that I (as stated before) find a bit cliche, with having some typical oriental flutes grace the track, which isn't a bad thing, if done propperly, and this is not. The track does feature some relaxing vocals and lyrics, but this album would ahve been better with another song in it's place.

This is an album I used to have mixed feelings about, at first it was my least favorite of the Rush discography, but after it stagnated on the shelf for some time it seemed to have aged well, and when I got around to giving it a second chance it quickly became (and remains) one of my favorite Rush albums after the classic era. Definately Rush's best after Signals and before Counterparts. 3.5 stars, great album, but not essential to those looking to avoid 80s prog.

Report this review (#135664)
Posted Saturday, September 1, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars I can not believe what Im reading seriously....someone said Pearts drumming was not impressive on this album !!! HAHAHA I really almost fell out of my chair when I read that. Not only that but I cant believe of all the reviews no one even mentioned Lock and Key man wtf??? Thats clearly the best song on that album gripping lyrics, synths bad ass guitar solo and uh for the person or persons that have some beef with neils playing as boring bland or whatever need to turn there ears to the end of that song. That has got to be one of the greatest if not the greatest endings to any rush song bar NONE. That carefully crafted blaze of utter glory cannot be overlooked. He is truly a master. I mean omg I cant believe noone mentioned that song lol. That being said. i will admit its not their best album. hehe =) For me, I love synths I mean I grew up in the 80's and there is just something about that era that im attached to.So with that in mind Id have to say my fav rush albums are signals and grace under pressure. god..."peart wasnt at his best" ROFL YOU PLAY IT!
Report this review (#139230)
Posted Thursday, September 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
3 stars Ah...the 80s. A decade often derided for its silly fashions and cheesy music. When listening to music that came out of this period, you typically have to be in an "80s kind of mood" to be able to stomach the music. With Hold Your Fire, Rush actually was able to make some nice music that doesn't altogether scream "EIGHTIES". Songs such as "Force Ten", "Time Stand Still" and "Tai Shan" are nicely conceived tracks which in my opinion, have stood up nicely over the years. These three songs are the obvious highlights for me. While the other tracks do sound a bit dated, they certainly are performed nicely as you would expect from this talented trio.

"Open Secrets" is a Geddy Lee highlight reel as his bass really steals the show. This song could have just as easily been on Grace Under Pressure or even Counterparts, as the melody with the atmospheric keyboards has a similar feel that shows up on those albums.

"Second Nature" starts off as a ballad but then turns up the heat on the chorus. Nice percussion effects here along with some bass fills as the song transitions from verse to chorus.

"Prime Mover", "Lock and Key", "Mission" and "Turn the Page" are fairly standard Rush songs. Nothing exceptionally good or bad in these songs. However, I don't care for the closing track ("High Water") at all. It leaves a bit of a bad taste in my mouth for the album as a whole. While I do think most of the album is solid, three stars is the most that I can give it. It's a good album, but definitely not essential.

Report this review (#148323)
Posted Wednesday, October 31, 2007 | Review Permalink
Rock Progressivo Italiano!
4 stars While not their best album, this is certainly a worthy effort. There is more emphasis on melody, and the positive feel of the album is prominent. The synthesizers are perhaps overdone to the exclusion of the guitar at times, but overall this is an album that returns to my playlist more often than other late Rush albums. Chances are this will be not the first foray into Rush, and it is not representative of their other work. But once the other albums are explored, give this one a spin.
Report this review (#155972)
Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2007 | Review Permalink
2 stars Probably my least favorite Rush record. The album is bland, It is reeking of 80's, and it just Un-Rush. The album is very simple and there are few enjoyable moments, all though they do exist. Rush focuses more on catchy hooks here than complexity; thus making it quite uninteresting for a proghead. Some pretty nice songs are Prime Mover and Turn the Page... Actually, most of the songs are OK. But that's it. They aren't very interesting, just ok. And I'm pretty certain the average Rush-fan does not wish to listen to very much OK music if you know what I mean.
Report this review (#159390)
Posted Monday, January 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Here is the first in a string of Rush albums I bought and thought, What were they thinking!?. I am not kidding when it took me years to get into it, and now I gladly do. Keep in mind I have purchased every Rush album as it was released since Moving Pictures. After a while it seemed it was more out of loyalty than anything. Hold Your Fire began that road until Counterparts.

Now I'm not saying this is a bad album. Every listener goes for something different. Only two songs are really strong on this release. Force Ten and Turn the Page. Everything else is, well, tame. But that being the case, there is a reason behind it. The album title says it. It is another of Rush's themed albums where Neil focuses on an idea. With this one, the theme is aggression, or rather holding back that aggression. The music and lyrics reflect that for the most part with one or two exceptions. And it is not to say that the album is gentle. Just, well, different. And I have to say this. Lee does not have a singer's voice. I know what you are thinking. When the song Mission starts, I feel embarrassed. Come on Ged, don't EVEN go there.

OK, enough of me being critical here. From the Progressive Rock musician technique stand point, oh yeah, they still got it and aren't afraid to show it. Not a lot of fancy time sig changes here, but go ahead and try playing these songs on your instrument of choice. You'll learn to respect it. I sure did.

So when the day finally ends, I look at this album from the outside and see that it is really one for the fans. Not a masterpiece but certainly no dog. I am a fanboy of Rush, but I think I can be partial at the same time. 3.5/5 stars

Report this review (#169403)
Posted Thursday, May 1, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album is not a very good prog album, but it is a good rock or crossover prog album. No doubt that RUSH moved a lot towards commercial FM-music, as many reviewers report, compared to their 70's albums, so in progressive sense HYF is not so exciting.

Still - one thing few reviewers write about - and what I find a good thing with the later RUSH albums: GEDDY LEE sings much more enjoyable on these. His voice is warm, sonorous and deep, no screaming anymore (I find the music on earlier RUSH albums more progressive but LEE's singing (or screaming) rather awful.)

Another thing that has improved on this and other later RUSH albums is simply the songwriting. More melodic and catchier songs, more beautiful compositions. Alright, the verse-refrain-bridge-form of the songs is not an improvment but TIME STAND STILL is to me, because of its beautiful melody and (simple) chords, a more enjoyable song than the rather dull CAMERA EYE from MOVING PICTURES (which many reviewers love).

Report this review (#170256)
Posted Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars This was very controversial era in Rush career. Being huge 70's prog rock fan I surprisinlgy find that Rush era the best period in their career. 81-87 albums are better for me that those recorded in 70's by the band. Hold Your Fire is filled with very beautiful melodies and great almost orchestral arrangments. It starts with very dynamic song Force Ten which is good as opener. Synthesizers don't bite that much as on previous release. It's just perfect. Time Stand Still is a hit song with additional vocasl of female singer Aimee Mann, it's great song of course but better avoid the video cos it looks pretty naive. Alex Lifeson looks like...aahh nevermind. Next couple of songs are really good and if someone thought Rush went pop... well I wish all pop bands at the time had such many hit songs on their albums. Open Secrets and Second Nature are AOR-like songs but it's something incredible in the backing not distorted guitar parts. I think the pure genious was decision of doing it that light wide way. Peter Collins was responsible for that and glory to the man. Prime Mover i a bit more vivd track than two previous ones and it's still excellent. I really enjoy that Signature guitar licks that soung very 80's and it was signs of the times. Lock And Key and Mission are very very good as well. The first of them was used for another video for this album and it's probably the closest to what we can call prog rock on here. Mission is spacy beautiful sound with so much emotion and passion. Turn The Page is the most energetic song along with Force Ten and I like bass parts in this one. Two last songs aren't so good unfortunatelly. Thai Shan is very quiet not rocking tune with lots of keyboards. Not my kind of stuff I must admit and High Water is a bit better but still not close to hits like Time Stand Still, Second Nature or Prime Mover. I could give this album 5 stars but I don't want to be controversial plus I don't like two songs on that. So it goes 4+. One of my favorite Rush albums without shade of doubt
Report this review (#172956)
Posted Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Review Permalink
3 stars Uh oh. We'd seen Rush stagnate somewhat over their last two albums (both GUPRessure and PWindows lacked originality) but here we combine that lack of new ideas with a lack of good song-writing (a curse the would plague the band forever after). While in many ways similar to PWindows, HYFire simply doesn't compare because the songs just aren't as good. First, the songs are shorter. And while Rush had long ago abandoned the 10-minute opus many of the songs on Signals, GUP and PW were five to 6 minutes in length, allowing for extended intros and outros, solo opportunities and expanded arrangements. Here, that is all missing, replaced by a standard verse / chorus / break / outro arrangement leaving little room for instrumental work.

This is compounded by the fact the songs just don't work. Force Ten and Time Stand Still would be filler on previous Rush releases but here they are the standouts. Turn the Page is the only other song that really meets the mark. Most others are drowned by flat vocals lacking real melody. Coming on the heels of the underrated Power Windows HYFire was one of the most disappointing releases of my life. Not terrible, but clearly falling short of the high standards set by Rush.

Report this review (#174718)
Posted Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permalink
4 stars _Hold Your Fire_ is probably Rush's most exotic sounding album full of nuances and intricacies. Cartaily their most mature offering. Repeated listens find you hearing something new every time(not unlike listening to Gentle Giant's 2nd through 7th albums). This is probably their most ethereal album - Alex Lifeson at times soundling like Terje Rypdal in the solo department. Rush has never recorded a more _wordly_ sounding track than TAI SHAN - which to my ears sounds like their stab at _World Music_. I wish for Rush to explore this area once again. _Mission_ is another Rush classic(so much so...they dug it up and play it on their Sankes & Arrows Tour - a real crowd pleaser).
Report this review (#181234)
Posted Sunday, August 31, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars Hold Your Fire is the last studio album in a group I call RUSH's "Synthesizer Period". All of these albums came out during the 1980's and represent the band's post-Moving Pictures era. The albums are Signals (1982), Grace Under Pressure (1984), Power Windows (1985), Hold Your Fire (1987) and A Show of Hands "Live" (1988).

Hold Your Fire continues Rush's journey through the 1980's. In an interview, Neil Peart (drums) describes Power Windows and Hold Your Fire as "forming a synergistic pairing... with so much texture and so much variety and rhythmic exploration." The two albums are very similar, sadly that must be why I don't really like either one of them. Peter Collins produced both albums also. They both contain much of the same synth-driven music that dominated the 80's. Luckily, every album after HYF, the band gradually began to "thin out" the keyboards.

I saw this tour also, and I have to say it was the most disappointing Rush show I had ever witnessed. I was equally shocked at seeing the arena only half full! And, towards the end, people were actually walking out early on the show. Unbelievable! This was Rush for God's sakes. Even the unusual quadraphonic sound system couldn't bail that performance out. From a live performance perspective, HYF was the peak of complexity. To reproduce on stage all the things put on that record was difficult. Large banks of samplers and sequencers had to be brought in for the performances.

This is my least favorite Rush album of all time. When I finally did buy the remaster, it was only for the song Time Stand Still, which will always go on any Best of collection I put together. Some people do like it though, so give it a chance. Since the remaster is now 10 years old, this album can be picked up at bargain basement prices. (Just like a cut-out, for you old timers).

Best Track: Time Stand Still

Report this review (#182984)
Posted Saturday, September 20, 2008 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
2 stars Tough times demand tough songs

After they reached rock bottom with the abysmal Power Windows album, Rush finally managed to break out of the downward spiral they found themselves in after Moving Pictures and release their best album since Signals in Hold Your Fire. The band is once again more inspired here than in several years and the songs are generally quite strong in comparison with other post-Moving Pictures Rush albums. As far as Prog goes, however, it should simply not be expected here. The band's Prog-phase was since long over at this point in time. The turn towards shorter and more conventional compositions and more polished and radio friendly production can be traced as far back as Permanent Waves at the dawn of the 80's and it reached its culmination in the mid 80's with albums like Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows and the present one. Of these three, I personally like this one the best.

Hold Your Fire consists of 10 tracks, all of them between four and six minutes in length and mostly quite similar to each other in mood and tempo. Two exceptions are the World-Music/Chinese-influenced ballad Tai Shan and the closer High Water, both on which Geddy Lee hands in some of his best vocal performances ever! Some unusual - for this band - elements are featured on this album such as electronic percussion, female backing vocals, string arrangements and even a brass section. Several guests appear on the album, which is also unusual for Rush. However, the presence of these "alien" musical elements are mostly very discrete. The production is very much of its time, corporate and a bit "plastic" (like Yes' Big Generator album from the same year, for example).

A decent album that is recommended to the band's many fans and collectors, but not for Prog fans in general

Report this review (#199704)
Posted Sunday, January 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hold Your Fire is the twelfh full-lenght studio album by Canadian progressive rock act Rush. It´s one of the first albums from the band that I listened to when I was younger. My interest was ignited when I listend to the song Prime Mover on a heavy metal compilation album I got for my ( I think) fourteenth birthsday. So there among songs from bands like Motörhead, Megadeth and Acid Reign was something completely different and allthough I was intrigued it wasn´t until maybe five or six years later that I remembered that song and purchased the album.

The music on Hold Your Fire is Rush as we know them from the eighties. Lots of synth, sophisticated drumming, powerful and melodic basslines, beautiful open guitar chords and great solos and to top it off Geddy Lee´s easily recognizable and distinct vocals. There are many great songs on the album like Lock and Key, Turn the Page and Prime Mover which has always been one of my favorites from the band. It´s not an album with any songs below standard, but on the other hand there are flaws that means that the album isn´t really excellent either. First of all Rush do go a bit overboard with the excessive use of synth on the album. It´s not always tasteful and some of the songs suffer because of it. The songwriting isn´t the most compositionally intriguing either but then again it´s been like this for a couple of albums by now so no big surprise there. But besides those minor flaws Hold Your Fire is a good album IMO.

The musicianship is of course outstanding. Rush is probably the best power trio in the world. Three guys creating this much sound is simply amazing.

The production is the most high end eighties sound that Rush would ever have and some are totally put of by this. I kind of like the production, but understand the critics.

Hold Your Fire is a special album to me as it is one of the first Rush albums that I discovered and because Prime Mover is one of my all-time favorite tracks from the band. But my overall rating will still only be 3 stars as not all songs are of this high quality. Hold Your Fire is Good but only occasionally excellent.

Report this review (#200192)
Posted Thursday, January 22, 2009 | Review Permalink
Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Hold Your Fire' - Rush (7/10)

I've found every Rush album to peak in it's enjoyment after a few listens. After maybe five listens, I'll be able to decide whether or not I love it or not. 'Hold Your Fire' however was an exception to that rule. At first, I found it too mellow and boring. But being it a release from one of my favourite bands, I forced myself to keep listening to it until I at least found something to enjoy about it. As I became more familiar with the music, I allowed myself to let the sounds wash over me, and to interpret the lyrics as they naturally came to me. I found myself pleasantly suprised at the result, which was a state of real enjoyment and liking for this album.

This is the most laid back and symphonic effort from Rush. The guitars do not play a huge role in here; instead making way for Geddy's keyboards and voice to lead the way. This isn't a hard rock album. This isn't even really such a prog album...

...But is there emotion? Yes. Is there intelligence? Yes. Do I find myself moved by it? I would certainly have to say so.

This is music that might take a bit more time to get into than most Rush fans are used to. The symphonic influence here is very profound. I'm sure if this was an album by a Symphonic band like Genesis or Yes, people would warm up to it more, because that's what they're expecting from a band like that. I suppose this release is progressive, if you take into consideration that although Rush is traditionally a heavy prog band, they were willing to explore symphonic rock and take risks. And isn't that what prog is all about?

This is an album with a toned down, yet very optimistic sound to it. It's music to listen to when feeling down and stressed; a piece of music to unwind to. That's what it was intended to be, and that's what it should be taken for.

Report this review (#205988)
Posted Tuesday, March 10, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Another album where I DO NOT UNDERSTAND AT ALL why it is worst, most disappointing, lack of all etc... This is not worst Rush's album at least. Dear careful listener, first of all take a look on the structure of this album. Couple of 5-minute songs, short intro, singing section, guitar intermezzo, refrain singing section, finale. Where is the epic, lengthy composition, where endless soloing and etc??? Yeh, Rush here is pop, beee. Isn't it? And you are wrong. Yes, song structure is as described above. But. For me. What is the good music (not only prog)? A. Strong melody (not only vocal) B. Good playing and singing (for me if more singing that better) C. Complex arrangements All 3 points are here. In every new song we hear each time new strong melody, new interesting arrangements and old (and as usual for Rush) playing :). Not me with my English to write many details how these points are realized in HYF. But I can remind of unique Geddy's fretless bass playing, syncopating and slapping, per se second soloing guitar, as usual various and virtuoso Lifeson's solos (and competent rhythm support). Beautiful, though without Emerson-Banks-Wakeman-ish keyboards' technic backgrounding arrangements, most soft Geddy's singing here and ... I am not a drum specialist :). All together give us a beatuful album with Rush-es specific sound and show us how Rush can make excellent soft songs without falling into pop and other bad things :))). Five stars and even more, and plus plus plus.
Report this review (#207510)
Posted Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars After a stellar series of releases dating back to the mid-1970s, Rush finally wears itself out with their 1987 release of Hold Your Fire. With its lack of imagination for cover art comes 10 songs mostly lacking inspiration and any kind of kick to it. Sound-wise, Hold Your Fire is pretty much in the same vein as Power Windows, but whereas Power Windows had numerous standout tracks, Hold Your Fire seemed to have very little or any.

My first impressions of this album back when I purchased it in 1987 was Rush had gone pop. Well, considering what else was out in those days, this was far better than say Genesis' Invisible Touch, or Yes' Big Generator. But nonetheless, it was the most radio friendly album Rush had ever released. I have no idea if it was Rush themselves leaning towards this or their producer Peter Collins, who was well known in the pop world of the time. And what did it get them? Decreases in sales and possibly less radio play than they had before.

This may be the weakest album Rush had made up to this point in their discography. That certainly is debatable, but this isn't one that gets much play (if any in recent memory) in my CD player. If you're new to Rush, try getting something released before this, especially from their 1977-1981 period. If you like radio-friendly accessible prog (in the same league as Saga or even Asia), you might like this. Two stars.

Report this review (#221580)
Posted Wednesday, June 17, 2009 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Rush's 1981 album, Moving Pictures would be the last album they released until Counterparts in 1993 that I could say I thoroughly enjoyed. As a fan that had discovered them in the seventies it was with great disappointment that I watched them abandon their heavy rock/progressive early years and descend into more commercial and synth driven music, Alex Lifeson's excellent guitar work often sidelined. When he was to the fore it was with some weedy eighties processed sound replacing his powerful riffing. A run of six below par albums that caused me to just about give up on the band. Sure, they still managed to produce a handful of tracks on most albums that were worth listening to but very little, if anything that I found to be essential Rush. For me they hit rock bottom on Hold Your Fire in 1987.

Of course with a band of Rush's calibre the playing is never less than excellent but the music!!! On Hold Your Fire I can find nothing to lift this album out the depths of mediocrity. The production is terrible; a highly processed typical eighties sound, the type you'd more associate with pop at the time than a rock band. Lifeson's guitar is thin and weak, often overwhelmed by Geddy Lee's synths which took more and more of a front seat during this era. Neil Peart's drumming is a master class in precision, but lacks the excitement of earlier work and ditto Lee's bass playing.

Despite there being nothing particularly bad, I have to say there isn't really a single track that I like here. Ten tracks of commercial lightweight rock that leaves me totally uninspired to hit the play button again. The next two albums would show improvements but it wouldn't be until Counterparts that I could get excited about a Rush album again.

Report this review (#238845)
Posted Saturday, September 12, 2009 | Review Permalink
5 stars Maybe not the best Rush album, but it is definatly the best album of this era. Its much more prog and much more challenging sounding than the previous recording because it's a little less electric sound, and much deeper sounding than the previous record. The bass lines are stunning, as Geddy is pumping so much out of that Wal bass guitar. Alex is making some really sweet guitar solo's, much faster and much more often than the previous recording. As always, Neil is really amazing, he is definatly my favorite drummer. The lyrics are much deeper sounding, to me at least. This album is great, so lets get into the details of the songs.

The opener, "Force Ten" is easily one of the top two songs on here. The bassline is amazing here, its so fast and far different from other Geddy basslines because he never really put in much chords into his basslines, but this is a great exception. For being a last minute song, its probably a good fan favorite and has gotten some airplay (around my area, anyways) and the lyrics are pretty interesting as well. Alex has a cool little "solo," I don't know if I should call it a solo (it's after the second chorus) but more like a musicial break, with Geddy still pumping the best riff ever. Neil has an interesting drum part at the beginning of the song too, its nice. "Time Stand Still" is a cool piece, its too poppy for me, considering some of the other songs here, at least. The basslines are sweet, but not guitar solo which can make or break a song, it kind of didn't need on though. The apperence of a female vocalist in this song as well, though some fans hate it, I find it very charming. "Open Secrets" is a forgeter, kind of boring, but its got some nice keyboards and a really nice guitar solo. The lyrics are excellent, but I find the music slightly out of my taste for this song, at least. "Second Nature" is stunning, beautiful piano on this song, in the intro. The vocals really nice, I think they are stunning on the whole album actually. The bassline is a little uninteresting, but the music overall for this song is very nice and interesting. The guitar is pretty nice, though, again, no guitar solo on this song. The line "I know perfect's not for real" really speaks to me in that song for some reason, really touching and very, very ture, though not very many people see it. "Prime Mover" is my third favorite song here, so stunning. The basslines are really interesting and astounding in this song, flooring really. The keyboards are definatly poppy sounding on this song, and very soulfull and fun. The guitar's are pretty nice, but they don't add or subtract. The drums, of course, are perfect because Neil is just great. "Lock and Key" is a sleeper, it takes me a while to get used to it, even though I've listened to it for a really long time. "Mission" is my second favorite song here. It's just the most passoinate thing ever, its just so beautiful and so loving that it just makes you feel so warm when you listen to it. The bass part is really great and percise, the guitar solo is amazing, and at the end they are so stunning I can't believe my ears. The drums are pretty interesting too. The lyrics are so personal and so touching, sometimes you just have to cry. "Turn the Page" has one of the best bass parts, and very nice textures and atmosphere. The lyrics are kind of stupid to me, but that is the only song. "High Water" and "Thai Shan" are pretty nice, but they are kind of forgettable, but still nice.

This album isn't the best Rush album out there, but its amazing and the best Prog-Pop album of the 1980's era of Rush that you have to get for your prog collection.

Report this review (#243123)
Posted Monday, October 5, 2009 | Review Permalink
Prog Metal Team
3 stars Hold Your Fire is the first Rush album that I find decidedly less then what preceded. It continues in the same vein as Power Windows but the usual high standards in song writing have declined.

The opener Force Ten is a strong, very dynamic, with a rocking drive, great vocal melodies and plenty of funky and new wave features. Time Stand Still however is probably the worst song I know from Rush, at least till this point in their discography. It is a weak radio-pop song with nothing of interest. Open Secrets is better, though it sounds like a leftover from Power Windows. The quality level keeps going up and down, Second Nature and Prime Mover have their moments of glory but also average radio-pop leanings.

The 'B-side' of the album is more consistent, Lock and Key, Mission and Turn the Page are vintage Rush tracks with great melodies, a very versatile Alex Lifeson and good bass slapping. Overall, I miss the usual prominent drum sound of Neil Peart on this album. His playing is very inspired but the sound of his kit is too thin. Thai Shan is a beautiful ballad and High Water tries to recreate the fabulous Mystic Rhythms from Power Windows, it's a good album closer again

HYF has plenty of 4 star material but is too uneven to be put on the same height of any of the 8 albums that preceded it. 3.5 stars

Report this review (#256667)
Posted Friday, December 18, 2009 | Review Permalink
2 stars "Hold Your Fire" is the final Rush album of the synth-heavy period, and thank god it was. This was going too far, my friends. Here is my track-by-track review of the album.

1) Force Ten (7/10) A pretty subtle opener to the album, and is very generic for most of the song. It just sounds melodramatic to me, and the bass, while intriguing, never gets past one or two of the same tabs and wears out its welcome. Alex is non-existent on this song, as I can't even distinguish any guitars. The last minute thirty salvages the whole song. though, as some excellently original synths interplay with great drums and guitar. An average song until the final section.

2) Time Stand Still (2/10) Just a terrible, boring song. How can anybody choose to listen to this over, say, something off of Hemispheres is beyond me. It is just so generic and never really picks up the pace. Very poor.

3) Open Secrets (8/10) What is this, inventive guitar? I thought that the instrument called the guitar would never reach the light of day on this album. The song almost sounds parted- the first part utilizes a Floyd-esque guitar as a kind of chorus, the second part using the same Floyd style but in a different pattern. Both parts work, and the only thing keeping this song back from a higher rating is the crappy singing parts, which has too much emphasis on the voice and not enough emphasis on the band as a whole.

4) Second Nature (2/10) The only thing separating this song from any other eighties pop song is Geddy's voice, and thats it. No real energy from the band here, just going through the motions. It is simply hard to believe that Rush, masters of rock, could release something like this.

5) Prime Mover (5/10) While it is good to see some sort of rock on this, this is not the kind of rock you want from Rush. It is very pedestrian and no one instrument takes command and makes a good impression. Sometimes the entire band as a whole performing without a power instrument is good, but here it is very very bad.

6) Lock and Key (6/10) It starts off slow, but thankfully builds up speed into a decent rocker. Cool bass and percussion carry the song, and unfortunately guitars are left in the background. But very good drums.

7) Mission (5/10) A strange song that builds up to a great section from about 3:15-3:45, but after that returns to pop, but then finally ends with a good guitar solo that seems shortened. The excellent thirty seconds sounds like full on Rush, with an awesome guitar and bass solo. Excellent bit there, but otherwise just more generic music.

8) Turn the Page (5/10) An inspired performance for Rush, and those fond of the eighties music will be glad with this effort. There seems to be real creativity here, but it is not in my vein of music. A guitar solo near the end that is complemented by exciting drums is a nice bit, but that is my taste. The rest is for those who enjoy the eighties, so I would recommend this song to ye who enjoy the eighties.

9) Tai Shan (5/10) Rush's oddest song that they have ever put out. A foray in to Asian-inspired music is interesting, but is never captivating nor catchy. It is not Rush's place, and they have gone too far out of their original niche for their own good. While this has been praised by others, it is just not what Rush is to me, and is just boring music. But it is worth a listen for Rush fans, because it is important to see how experimental and inventive they got.

10) High Water (7/10) A good rocker to end out the album. Excellent snappy bass is used throughout the song and it carries the tempo. It can be fun to listen to, but there is the familiar generic sound and singing that plagues this album and the song. But its not horrible, and the guitar solo at the end is a good listen.

Total: 52/100= 5.2/10= 2.6/5

Since it is in that middle area between 2 and 3 stars, my fudge factor will lower it to a 2 simply because this, for the most part, is not Rush-like music. It is mostly synth driven pop from the eighties that is not the heavy prog that Rush fans love. A disappointing effort, and at the time of this review it is my least favorite Rush album.

Report this review (#332003)
Posted Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permalink
5 stars "Hold Your Fire" is the final Rush album of the synth-heavy period, and that is a pity. It took me a good while to get into this, but now it is one of my top albums.

1) Force Ten (8/10) A pretty good technical rocker.

2) Time Stand Still (6/10) Actually quite a decent pop song dressed up in Rush clothes. Would be out of place on Hemispheres, but then this is not Hemispheres.

Now begins a sequence of 5 tracks of perfection. Possibly the strongest sequence put together by any prog band. Sorry no time to write about each one.

3) Open Secrets (10/10)

4) Second Nature (10/10)

5) Prime Mover (10/10)

6) Lock and Key (10/10)

7) Mission (10/10)

8) Turn the Page (5/10) Weakest strack on the album. Standard rocker, with a shocking guitar solo that is just a tuneless racket. One to skip if playing to your parents.

9) Tai Shan (7/10) Take it for what it is - an interlude and a change of direction. This is progressive rock afterall. Decent tune, nice keys.

10) High Water (10/10) Very similar to Mystic Rhythms off the previous album. Slow tempo, lots of effects. Rush at their very best.

Rush have had several styles, not everyone will like this, but then again I don't like 2112, nor their most recent work. But from Hemispheres through to Counterparts, this album and Moving Pictures are the pinnacle of their work. Pop music? - do me a favour!

4.5 rounded up to 5.

Report this review (#332810)
Posted Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album is an odd beast and gets pegged as a lot of things it's not. First, lets run over some facts about it:

1) Yes, it is their most poppy by far. 2) No, guitars have returned on this. 3) GEDDY LEE plays one mean bass, doesn't he? 4) This is kinda-sorta a concept album telling a story about finding peace and enlightenment in the modern age, but it really isn't all that important.

I think this album is actually one of their strongest, but it depends greatly upon how it is that you approach it. If you are coming looking for winding time signatures, virtuosic musical interplay, epics and a marriage of jazz, orchestral, and avant-garde sounds with rock, this will not satisfy you. However, if you want very strongly and competently composed pop rock, this album is rife with great songs. "Force Ten", "Time Stand Still", "Prime Mover", all are very strong songs incorporating big choruses, great instrumental work, some killer guitars, and very strong pop songs.

So why the three-star rating?

It's simple enough; this isn't really prog. It shows their lineage, yes, but this is a pop rock album with prog bits, not a prog rock album with pop bits. In the grander scheme of music, I would peg this as a prog rock album over everything else; what I mean by my previous comments is that while they are present to a degree to make this clearly not just pop, they are not the main focus of the songs or the album as a whole, acting more as color. It's a solid album and worth your money, especially if you like pop, but for most prog fans, it won't be quite right. Three-stars.

Report this review (#409657)
Posted Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars RUSH - HOLD YOUR FIRE (1987) - 3,8/5

Just like with the preceding 3 albums of RUSH's "atmospheric prog pop/rock" era, this album holds a high standard from start to finish. It is slightly better than the predecessor POWER WINDOWS as it has a few more standout tracks like the opening FORCE TEN, the deliciously catchy PRIME MOVER and the mini-epic MISSION. The sound isnt as in-your-face as it was on POWER WINDOWS and the keys are more in the background which is a definite plus. This would sadly be RUSH's last great album, but it is a fitting end to an all too underrated era in RUSH's illustrious career.

Report this review (#431400)
Posted Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#435198)
Posted Monday, April 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars This album took away alot of the cold production found on the last 2 albums and made a very warm soft record with this one. That being said it is one of my favorite of theirs because of the variety of songs on this album is great. It has the rockers (Force Ten) the soft ballads (Second Nature) the mellow songs (Tai Shan) and others. This album is soft and kinda jazzy in the sound but it still feels like a worthy listen in my opinion. If you can find this one i suggest giving it a shot. Better than Power Windows and Test for Echo. 4 stars. Highlights: Force Ten, Time Stand Still, Open Secrets, Second Nature, Prime Mover, Turn the Page, Tai Shan and High Water.
Report this review (#463566)
Posted Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars What do we label this album as ? Intelligent rock, art rock or prog rock ?

Hold Your Fire was my first ever Rush album (bought in 1987) and one I have played a lot. I became a fan of the band there and then. I am still a big Rush fan and buys far too many Rush albums. A bad habit, really.

But back to this album. The music here is very melodic and catchy. Too catchy for my liking. But the music is also very cleverly put together and delivered. This album is full with small, quirky details. The good things about this albums is in the small details this album throws up. Yes, it has too much of this nasty 1980s sound. But this album is a surprisingly good album. OK, it also changed my life. But it is still a great album on it's own. As per usual with albums from this synth period, it is the forgotten tracks which is the jewels here. Tracks like Second Nature, The Mission and the two closing songs Tai Shan and High Water. The rest of the album is also great, but those four tracks is the stand out tracks here on a great album.

4 stars

Report this review (#566052)
Posted Friday, November 11, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Nice but nothing more...

Hold Your Fire was the penultimate album to be released in the 80's by Rush and marks a gradual slow down of their so called 'synthesiser era'. It's slightly more experimental than its predecessor, with oriental influences noticeable on the track Tai Shan, and the first (and only) use of female vocals by Rush on Time Stands Still.

Overall its a rather pleasant experience, and one which has earned its fair share of plays. I just don't think there is enough substance here to consider it a good addition to a prog rock collection. None of the tracks are particularly bad, especially when compared to Presto, but the only ones I really look forward to hearing are Force Ten and High Water.

The Verdict: Not their best, but certainly not their worst.

Report this review (#582197)
Posted Sunday, December 4, 2011 | Review Permalink
2 stars Ugh. The malaise which had crept into Rush's sound on Power Windows continues apace on Hold Your Fire, which is a formulaic Rush-by-numbers album from their mid-1980s synthesiser era - and the fact that any Rush album could be called "formulaic" illustrates the magnitude of the problem. The fact is that whilst Signals was a decent album and Grace Under Pressure was a superb refinement of its formula, the band followed that up with two albums which just lazily repeated the formula rather than continuing to grow and develop and change their sound, and whilst this was disappointing enough on Power Windows, by Hold Your Fire the band had become decidedly stale.

Time Stand Still is downright repetitive - a word I'd never have applied to any prior Rush song - whilst most of the other songs on the album are outright forgettable. Stick to Signals and Grace Under Pressure - those albums show off all the tricks Rush bring to the table on Hold Your Fire, and deliver with with significantly more passion and gusto than they are able to muster on this tepid, limp offering.

Report this review (#587362)
Posted Tuesday, December 13, 2011 | Review Permalink
4 stars I fell in love with Rush around this period (just before Presto was released) and still remember listening to Prime Mover on the Friday Rock Show on Friday nights; such great times! Although Hold Your Fire is a very synthy album, it features many of Alex Lifeson's most beautiful guitar solos (the clean, processed sound of his playing was just perfect on this album). Not convinced? Listen to his solo at the end of Mission. It still raises the hairs on the back of my neck. Amazing. I find the 'feel' of the album very comforting as the overall theme is about the time and the wont of making your mark). Were Rush still a progressive band? Absolutely! They changed with the times but retained their intelligence, musicianship and forward thinking. Peart's lyrics had reached their most translucent and immediately bypassed me by! Typical. My head was too full of Dio, Metallica and Saxon lyrics, but now, much older, the lyrics to Time Stand Still resonate deep. Not many bands can do this. The only thing that let's this album down is the production (a product of its time) and the plain cover! Not one of Hugh Symes' best!
Report this review (#600882)
Posted Sunday, January 1, 2012 | Review Permalink
4 stars It's surprising how much Rush can hold on through the decades, especially with this album. This WAS one of the few Rush albums that grew on me fast. Hold Your Fire pretty much concludes their synth-induced coma, but I must say that the band makes some strides musically with this album compared to the previous ones. Several of these accomplishments I will speak about in the coming songs. First thing I found interesting was the programmed synth (courtesy of an Apple Macintosh), which it frequently used throughout the album. This pretty much solved the band's live synth problem, but there were a few songs where the synth could be played.

Force Ten, like the band said themselves, is unlike the rest of the album... so why put it first? Well first thing to note is the new technique that Geddy developed. Sure, he used bass chords before, but never in an alternating fashion with his thumb. Some of the drumming is generic, but fast paced, while Alex is playing around with some delay and chords here and there. He has a solo... somewhere in here.

Time Stand Still is an interesting one... problem was that its replay value can fade over time if you listen to it too much. The song itself sounds way too pop rock in general, especially with a female vocalist on top. I will commend it for the usage of electronic sounds and Peart's drumming. Basically, him and Geddy hold the song up.

Open Secrets is full of synth and contains a lot of electronic drumming from Peart. I seems to draw some similarities from Middletown Dreams for me. Not much to say about this song except it's the longest on this album, and preferably the most boring... sorry, but it just doesn't click with album.

Second Nature... is possibly the slowest and ethereal Rush song since Losing It (I sure love that song). A really good aspect of this is the piano chords along with all the empty space the band leaves, allowing the listener to absorb the flow. There is again some drum lines that Peart uses here that will be used again later on the album, a lot of percussion and toms, with the snare only carrying the beat. The lyrics here are commendable, and seem to get revisited on later albums. Geddy's singing on this song is just great and really brings out the severity of the lyrics. The music here is comparable to stadium rock, but the closure is good from this soothing song.

Prime Mover is truly a moving song, and although it has a bunch of synth with a few mainstream rock sounds, it has prog lyrics written all over it. Introduced with some vocal samples, the clean guitar sound from Alex is a great touch to the song, and Peart runs some great lines to go with it. The interlude section of "set the clouds in motion" is what really drives the song, and then the synth/drum succeeding it stitches the sections together. I don't like the fade out though, even though Geddy has lines like "Anything can happen"... I really want it to end, but maybe since it's called "Prime Mover" it's infinite. This one really stands out compared to the rest.

The second half seems to have some better offerings than the first, preferably Lock And Key. The orchestral synth is a good touch, supporting the grandeur and gravity of crime and people's crazy ideas. The song is more of a cry for help about those who do wrong and are locked up for it. Peart is probably the best here, along with Alex RIPPING a solo out; very different compared to the first half of the album.

Mission is very soulful, comparable to Second Nature earlier on the album. It is primarily synth driven, but Peart whips out some good drumming with marimba, fills and a quick middle section. Geddy has his best singing on the album here, brings out the emotion of the lyrics penned for this anthem. What separates this song from the rest is the playful middle section that is a kind of detour. The agonizing solo from Alex at the end is powerful yet simple, as he puts some deep emotion into it.

Turn The Page is a real rocker on the album, and Geddy brings back his bass technique. There is a kind of flavor to this song, makes me want to get up off my feet and move around. "Nothing can survive in a vacuum" is just the opening line, and many other lines that move along have a real connection with life. The song itself predates Superconductor, and is one of the few times in the 80s that Rush produces a song that jolts the senses. Peart just keeps wailing away as Alex rips out ANOTHER good solo; while Geddy's bass keeps churning along. This song is well placed, kind of rewarding the listener for holding on so long.

Tai Shan is a real gem on here, and is SERIOUSLY underrated. It has the ethereal qualities unlike any other song they've made, and sound true to the lyrics and the theme surrounding it. The Oriental flavor is a nice touch, a sort of continuation of Territories. I can't tell if Peart is sampling some drums here and there because there's some more electronic drum stuff; and Geddy's bass can sound synth-like sometimes. Alex's guitar adds to the flavor of the tune along with his powerful chords to blast over the calmness of the song. A good treat to proggers looking for a quiet, but strong song to listen to. It is surely one of the best songs on the album.

High Water seems to follow another progressive theme on human's connection with water, but this ain't Here Comes the Flood. There is a soothingness to the synth in the song in parts, but the song has a decent groove. It fits with a good portion of the album, but there is no solo and it's hard to compare it with other Rush songs here and other albums. The song also ends rather abruptly, like it finishes one rhythm "the water takes me home" and ends on a synth note. It kind of seems dry for the kind of ending you'd expect.

Overall, this is a Rush album, and one of the late 80s. To get a good impression of the album, one should realize the time period in which it came from. Sure there was synth, but I believe that was synth sporadically. The album isn't flooded with snyth like Power Windows or Grace Under Pressure, and has a much more modest approach to the usage of it. I should also note it was one of the last albums where they played most of the songs from a new album live. This album is not a masterpiece, but every Rush fan should have it. And its once of their few albums that one can relax to.

Report this review (#617317)
Posted Monday, January 23, 2012 | Review Permalink
Eclectic Prog Team
4 stars Hold Your Fire was my least liked Rush album for the longest time (of the ones I owned, anyway). I bought it used and sold it probably that same month. Only two songs moved me at the time, and they were "Time Stand Still" and "Open Secrets." The former I performed with a high school band, and the latter was just a tune I really dug during long drives to and from Georgia. The rest of the album disagreed with me and my distaste for 1980s synthesizers and drum tones. However, I have warmed up to it greatly. The melodies and lyrics are moving. There is a variety of tones in the guitar department, while the bass remains consistently "plunky." I love Presto, and it's nice to love the album that came two years before it; all but two songs have a resonant quality. And they're all so damn catchy; if one of these songs gets in my head, it's going to remain there for the better part of the day.

"Force Ten" After a solemn choir, the well-known 1980s Rush sound pours forth. An incredible series of vocal melodies over clever bass thumping provides a catchy introduction. I did not appreciate this track way back when, but now it has joined the next two as favorites on the album. It weaves between energetic and tranquil, but is wholly captivating throughout.

"Time Stand Still" As I mentioned earlier, this was a song our band performed at a gig for a high school function at a lovely ranch (we didn't think we were half bad and I guess neither did anybody else, but it'd be interesting to find the tape we recorded this performance on just to see how truly awful it was). In any event, it is a favorite 1980s Rush song of mine, with incredible melodies, powerful clean guitars and beautiful female vocals. Indeed, as one grows older, the lyrics prove more and more relevant. I was fifteen yesterday. My children will be grown tomorrow.

"Open Secrets" After a memorable bass riff and dynamic bit of drums, Lifeson offers a simple guitar lead introducing a thoroughly enjoyable vocal performance from Lee. The parts intertwine in an incredible way. Despite having that 1980s vibe, this piece could have belonged on Counterparts with its lyrics and Lifeson's guitar ripping through the piece here and there- an amazing Rush song.

"Second Nature" I suppose the phony piano textures here threw me off, because piano isn't an instrument one associates with Rush. However, I'm always happier for listening to this song- it has a pensive melody with an excellent chorus.

"Prime Mover" A decent 80s rocker in the Rush vein, "Prime Mover" never really moved me until recently. It is a solid song with Lee's excellent bursts of bass. "Anything can happen" indeed.

"Lock and Key" A grand synthetic opening begins this one, with an opening cry. The lyrics describe how anyone, even the most upright person, is capable of losing it and taking a life. The music is upbeat and occasionally grungy, delving into some screaming lead guitar work.

"Mission" Following a synthetic opening and a light vocal passage expressing the album title, the typical 1980s sound takes over, alternating with the airier part in half-time.

"Turn the Page" Well, I never cared for the hectic verses or rather callow lyrics of this song. It involves Rush's sound typical of this period, backed by organ. The shrieking lead guitar rips through a number of creative licks.

"Tai Shan" Rush explores an Oriental style here, offering peaceful music of synthesizer pads and shimmering electric guitar brushes.

"High Water" I consider this the second of two weak tracks. Unlike the previous songs ("Turn the Page" excepted), this one still hasn't caught on for me. The music is rather dull and uninspired. A pity an otherwise admirable pop rock album could not have ended on a high note.

Report this review (#622655)
Posted Sunday, January 29, 2012 | Review Permalink
2 stars The All-music Guide states that this album is "infinitely greater than the sum of its parts." Since my first listen, I've tended to think the opposite, that this album is much worse than its individual components, which overall aren't that impressive to begin with. I don't hate this anywhere near as much as I used to (I once would have given it *), but as you can see from the rating I still don't have many warm feelings towards it.

I have a lot of problems with all of the tracks on this album after the opener. My main issue is that most of the tracks, at their cores, are really generic, really dull adult-pop songs. When the songs are slow, they don't have strong, memorable melodies, and when they're fast, they don't have strong, memorable riffs. Plus, the album tries to pass itself off as a high-brow art-rock album, filled with grandiose synths and ridiculous lyrics (there is quite a bit of dime-store psychology on here to go with the more typically grandiose Peart material), but the artsy aspects are mostly just a superficial covering for the rotten, boring melodies underneath. There are some good basslines, but the sound is so trebly and wussy that it drives me nuts. The drums only sound like there's a real virtuoso behind the kit some of the time; they're booming and loud in the mix, but very rarely impressive. Lifeson gets more to do on this album than I used to think, as he has a small number of great lines, and he does do a lot of work in setting texture (along with the synths), but I don't get the sense that he's a crucial part of the sound when I listen to this album.

Few of the songs are immediately offensive, and mixed in with other albums they would have just been fairly below average filler. An album like this, though, with one clearly-below-average song after another, becomes a pain in the neck to listen to. Plus, there are some unbearable moments of unintentional comedy. Hearing Geddy bellow out, "I DON'T WANT TO FACE THE KILLER INSTINCT, FACE IT IN YOU OR ME" over important-sounding synthesizers pretty much sums up on its own why I can't take this album seriously, and the rest of the song ("Lock and Key") doesn't get much better. The opening chords of "Mission" sound like music I first heard in Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, and the lyrics seem to think they're making an important artistic statement but are really just a lot of hot air. The song gets faster than the opening "majestic" section, but at best it's a generic, by-numbers 80's Rush rocker. "Turn the Page" is a rocker with some decent drive to it, but it's not that impressive a song, and when the song goes into the expected tricky instrumental break, all I can say is whoop-dee-freaking-doo. And as for "Tai Shan," well, I think George Starostin got it right when he said (essentially) that the lyrics sound like the reaction of a generic tourist upon visiting China; hearing these lyrics set to an oh-so-generic synth-heavy melody doesn't improve my mood much.

Fortunately, there is some really good stuff on here. I've always adored the opener, "Force Ten," a great rocker with a terrific bassline, some powerful riffage, a great vocal melody (especially in the "slower" portion) and good lyrics. The angelic chorus synths in the beginning are a little silly, and some of the synths in the middle are far cheezier than anything the band had used to that point, but when I listen to this song, it inspires me to think I can accomplish anything, and I respect any song that can do that to me. While I used to think this was the only worthwhile song on the album, though, I can now pick out three others (all in the first half) that I like a decent amount. "Time Stands Still" would work better as a 3-minute song instead of a 5-minute song masquerading as some kind of profound art-rock, but the lyrics at least touch on a subject (growing old, wishing time wouldn't slip by so fast) that can resonate with everybody. "Open Secrets" has some fabulous emotional guitar lines, and "Prime Mover," at the least, is a noticably better generic 80's up-tempo Rush song than either "Mission" or "Turn the Page."

Aside from a couple of other tracks (which have neither much of a positive nor much of a negative impact on the rating), my overall attitude towards the album is one of sleepy boredom, which is at least an improvement over my former vitriolic hate. I know that lots of fans consider this one of their best (though I have noticed that there are even a lot of fans of their 80's stuff who wrinkle their noses at this one), but I can't help but see this as a total dead end for the band. Unless you're a diehard, you should probably avoid this one.

Report this review (#625399)
Posted Thursday, February 2, 2012 | Review Permalink
5 stars Rush continued to move forward in developing both their sound and songwriting with 1987's Hold Your Fire, the peak of their forray into synth enhanced heavy prog pop/rock, or whatever you may choose to call the highly technical, emotional, and intelligent music they had been making with the last several albums. There are even more layers of even faster moving keyboards than on Grace Under Pressure and Power Windows, the drums are more electronically enhanced than before, and Alex Lifeson's ability to hang in there through all of the computerized additions with great wrenching, expressive solos is even stronger than before. Neil Peart continues to grow as a lyricist, taking his already profound philosophical approach to a new level, with every song having a very socially important subject matter that he's taken on deftly, with many, many great lines that are sure to get you and I thinking. The songs are packed with new musical ideas, and Geddy Lee has brought us some highly listenable and intriguing bass parts, especially in the chorus of "Force Ten", and in the intro to "Open Secrets." He's also using a wider pallete of keyboard sounds from the broad, majestic synth pad chords that open "Mission", to the oriental flute sound that graces "Tai Shan", to the sparkling decorative high-pithced synths that augment the arrangements throughout the album. There are many other noteworthy moments, like the humanist lyrics for "Lock and Key", and a generous helping of great melodies sung powerfully and expressively by Lee, including the truly beautiful harmonies between him and Aimee Mann on Time Stand Still. Many of the songs are more straighforwardly written than previously, but not necessarily simpler, and the band is playing very virtuostically throughout. When listening to Hold Your Fire all the way through, I'm tempted to say it's the best of their 80's output, but also always get the feeling there are a couple songs that weigh down some of the other ones and that it may have been just a little bit stronger if it would have been released as one of their 8 song albums, although I can never decide which two would have been better left out, as they're all great songs. I believe I once felt the same way about Genesis' ...And Then There Were Three... at one time, and eventually got over it, so let's go with 5 stars for this one as well, instead of that 4.5 stars I was thinking about that just didn't feel right.
Report this review (#627503)
Posted Monday, February 6, 2012 | Review Permalink
Symphonic Team
3 stars "from the point of ignition to the final drive, the point of the journey is not to arrive, anything can happen..."

Like many, when I first heard this I was bitterly disappointed and it took many years before it finally grew on me. One deciding factor was to be reintroduced to many of these songs on the live DVDs, of which they sound great, especially on "A Show of Hands". On returning to this album after a long hiatus I was more delighted than disappointed. I guess time has moved on and Rush changed back to their style of making heavier stronger material of recent years, so this album is more a diversion into some adventurous territory. The album features a crystal clean sound production and very poppy accessible songs that one might easily hear on radio. The melodies are extremely catchy and eventually jam themselves into your brain. Some of the highlights well outweigh the moments of mediocrity when it all begins to feel like the band are just going over familiar ground.

'Force Ten' begins it well with one of the highlights, a rocking melodic track with that solid 1980s sound. Lee's bass rings out true and there are tons of synths and a fairly pedestrian drum beat. Lifeson's guitars jangle cleanly and constantly maintain melodic phrases. This is one of the best things about the album so a good start.

'Time Stand Still' is another great track, played live on many occasions. There are female vocals which balance Lee's nasal high delivery very well. The chorus is strong and easy to sing along to and overall the production of this is excellent.

'Open Secrets' is soaked in synth and has a full on 80s sound but it is quite a good track although I had forgotten this totally until another listen for this review. It was so unfamiliar in fact that it felt like hearing it for the first time. Perhaps that is the problem with these Rush albums; they are full of forgettable material and this is one of the culprits for sure. I liked it though especially the lead breaks of Lifeson but I longed for a heavier riff to lock onto rather than all that kanoodling on the fret board.

'Second Nature' is perhaps one of the worst filler tracks here. It is a ballad style with crystalline percussion over incessant finger picking. Lee sounds nice but that is about it really; a nice song that won't trouble anybody's top 100 Rush songs list.

'Prime Mover' is another of the songs I rediscovered on a live DVD and it is terrific in the studio too. There are some great bass licks here and I love the lyrics. Lifeson's guitar is heavier and the overall riffs are at the top of his game. The melody builds in the chorus with a terrific lyrical phrase; "anything can happen, from the point of conception to the moment of truth, at the point of surrender, from the point of ignition to the final drive, the point of the journey is not to arrive, anything can happen." A great song from the 80s Rush sound.

'Lock and Key' is another synthesizer composition, and has some crunching guitar strums that are shrilly and really a trademark of Lifeson in this era. There are interesting lyrics "it's just a matter of instinct, I don't want to face the killer instinct, face it in you or me so we keep it under lock and key." The main theme suggesting that anyone is capable of great evil so we must work to keep it subdued lest it rears its ugly head. I like the lead break on this but again it is very short and moderate compared to what Lifeson used to do on previous albums.

'Mission' is another of the tracks I have heard live more than the studio, however it comes across well on this album. The melody is nice, Lee sounds great on high register, and the synths are ambient. The trebly guitars clash in aggressively and the rhythm pounds effectively, though Peart is very restrained on this album, almost like a session musician in places. The band are capable of brilliance as we Rushaholics know but they opt for a very pedestrian treatment of the songs on "Hold Your Fire" and it is maddening at times. Still once again a nice song for the 80s era.

'Turn the Page' has a fast tempo but it is still not as heavy as anything on 70s Rush and it is fruitless to expect it now. Again I had forgotten this song totally after a few years not hearing it and it was not really worth returning to as it really feels very ordinary compared to others on the album. The bass is relentless and there is a lot of synth dominating the sound, and some great lead guitar work, but the melody is rather forgettable. I have forgotten it already after hearing it 10 seconds ago.

'Tai Shan' is a strange one in an Oriental style. The ambience of synthesizer and gentle electric guitar sweeps is the focus. Lee's vocals are restrained and he sounds emotional on lyrics such as "I stood at the top of the mountain and China sang to me, in the peaceful haze of harvest time, song of eternity." As a curio and something different this one is not too bad really. At least the band are attempting something unique here and as such it stands out.

'High Water' ends things on a mediocre note, and it needed something better to counter balance the tirade of mediocrity prior. It is as though the band needed to fill up the album with one more song so tacked this on as an afterthought. A bad move as it is the last thing you hear and it leaves one with a sour taste, yet the album begins quite well and has some great tracks, though this is certainly not one of them.

Overall this is a balanced album for the 80s but is not progressive, rather is just a pleasant harmless album. I don't think we can pretend this is Rush at their best but it is at least not a complete waste either. It is nice, and that is about it with about 3 decent tracks that overshadow the others. The first half is very good and it tends to get worse as it goes, though it is not half as bad as "Presto". 3 stars is certainly as much as it deserves, but that is not to say it does not make a worthwhile listen.

Report this review (#764248)
Posted Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | Review Permalink
1 stars If Power Windows invited the pop sound with open arms, then Hold Your Fire abuses it. I do appreciate some of the risks they took in finding new sounds, especially on 'Tai Shan,' but it simply sounds silly when you're a band that also has the progressive masterpieces of Hemispheres and Moving Pictures in your discography. Songs like 'Time Stand Still' and the sappy 'Second Nature' don't convince me otherwise. All of the songs simply have the same structure, and it gets annoying after a while, not to mention that pop sound I dread so much.

I can't put ALL the blame on Rush, after all many progressive bands released sub par albums in the 80's (Genesis, Yes, etc.) Regardless, this album is simply not good.


Report this review (#771351)
Posted Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars This album still presents Rush caught in the 80's whirlpool as was the previous album. There are no tracks on the album that shout to me that they are present and standing to attention. It's an innocuous album that is pleasant enough background music for me. There is no way that I would rush (heh heh) out and buy this album however if it landed in my collection I wouldn't set fire to it either. The trouble for me with this album is the same as it was with the previous album - if I play with a puppy I would like it to be feisty and bite me. This thing doesn't bite, or growl either - it just kind of sits there and looks cute. A three star album for me - saved from two stars because hell, it is Rush after all, and as I emphasised nothing here is worth lighting a cooking fire for to find out if it's edible as opposed to listenable.
Report this review (#940347)
Posted Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permalink
Errors & Omissions Team
3 stars The 80's Rush is a 8/80 situation, love it or hate it. I on the other hand prefer to sit on the fence, I don't hate and I don't love. Every situation is different.

When the band decided to go deep into new directions after Signals (1982) each album was deeper into the keyboards 'drama' - as Alex Lifeson would say - and the results vary from album to album.

Grace Under Pressure (1984) is a weaker album, Power Windows (1985) their best of this phase and Hold Your Fire (1987) a weak one again. But one thing must be said, even when Rush is weak they are above the medium!

On Hold Your Fire (1987) keyboards are everywhere and you have to really dig into the album's sound to find Alex's guitars. Geddy Lee's amazing bass playing is still here, Neal Peart's lyrics too. Tracks like 'Force Ten', 'Time Stand Still' (with the wonderful Aimee Mann) and 'Turn The Page' prove that.

Unfortunatelly the albums also have tracks like 'Tai Shan' and 'High Water' that are just forgetable. The rest of the material is ok, but not that very attractive.

Rush wouls release one more album in the 80's and caputure their synth phase with a live album before going to a new era once again.

Report this review (#1085700)
Posted Wednesday, December 4, 2013 | Review Permalink
siLLy puPPy
PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams
2 stars This album should really be re-titled "Hold Your Creativity" since despite a whole bunch of guest stars adding their input to it seems like a whole lotta filler to me. I also vote that they repackage it and instead of the three red dots on the cover they should be tomatoes being thrown at the faces of the three members (the cute pics of them with their hip new wave hairdos in the liner notes would do nicely). I suspect at this point that their fan base who was so patiently waiting for another at least decent album again were ready to pull plug on their support. In fact they did just that. This album saw a huge decline in sales which was the thunderbolt that caused RUSH to tone down the synths on their following album.

HOLD YOUR FIRE is their 12th studio album and one of the weakest IMO. I find the first three tracks tolerable and the rest absolutely horrendous and tolerable isn't good enough for a band with this much talent. Listening to this I can only wonder what planet RUSH was living on at the time. I know that they were doing what they wanted and were experimenting with ideas that all the members had wanted to follow, but I can only wonder WHY these particular ideas that they seemed to put so much into to make happen sound so, well, awful. Another good title for this would be HOLD YOUR PURCHASE. Save your precious shelf space for something worth hearing. I'm adding a star just for their boldness in experimenting otherwise this is a 1 star album musically speaking.

Report this review (#1188744)
Posted Sunday, June 8, 2014 | Review Permalink
3 stars By the time the last half of the 80s was rolling around, Rush had settled into it's keyboard/lyric dominated sound. The songs for the last 3 albums were starting to sound too similar, except for in a few cases. That trend continued for "Hold Your Fire" and, if there were any changes, it was a trend to a more popular sound than ever. There is no mistake, when listening to this album, that it is a product of the 80s. There just isn't much guitar domination here. Those crazy and irresistible guitar hooks and anthems were non-existant at this time, except for a few guitar breaks which are much too short, the guitar has become totally supportive to Geddy's vocals and Neal's lyrics. And the songs, for the most part, continue to sound the same.

Not that there weren't some gems on this album, but seemingly less than on the previous 3 albums. Two of the best songs, "Force Ten" (which was the last song recorded for the album) and "Time Stand Still" (the album's huge hit) start the album off quickly and things seem great at first. But after that, the songs fall into that sameness as before, yet now even mellower and more keyboard laden. After those first two great songs, the only other songs worth mentioning are the fairly decent "Mission" which contains a more unique melody and some tricky rhythms in the instrumental break that stands out better than the others, and the very distinctive "Tai Shan" which is more experimental, and as such, breaks up the monotony of the rest of the album. Interestingly enough, the latter mentioned track was named as one that the band had wished they left off of the album because it was so different from the rest of the material. Hmmmm....well, it works for me to at least add some variety to the album.

But the highlights are too few and far in between and even the highlights can't come close to the earlier albums that came before "Signals". Again, we have a keyboard heavy album, with songs that don't stand out much and fail to generate the excitement of their earlier albums. Only the few highlights of the album save it from falling below 3 stars. Not a great album, just good, but not one I would recommend.

Report this review (#1418943)
Posted Saturday, May 23, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars Following the success of the solid Power Windows and its subsequent tour, Rush took a much-needed break so they could be with their loved ones and relax. However, after a mere few months had passed, the band members quickly started letting the creative juices flow again and they started writing material for their follow-up release Hold Your Fire. Once the promotional single "Force Ten" was released to the public, it was clear to everyone that Rush hadn't given up on the poppier arrangements of the previous record; in fact, it seemed even more accessible than usual! With punchy drum work and flashy synthesizer bursts from Geddy Lee's trusty keyboard work, it sounded as though Rush were really going off the deep end with their pop-rock phase this time around. And... well... yeah. In a way, they kinda did.

Don't get me wrong; there are indeed progressive moments scattered about Hold Your Fire. In fact, the album's big hit single "Time Stand Still" is ironically one of the most typical and classic-sounding Rush songs on this entire thing because of its frequently altered tempos and more experimental character (with the female vocals, heavy atmosphere, the works). Unfortunately, this is also one of the first times in Rush's career in which some of their choices end up really biting them in the collective ass. There's only so much someone can take of a more watered-down Rush, and songs like the bland power-ballad "Second Nature" and the overly cheery instrumentation of "Mission" are begging for a songwriting overhaul. The emotional weight is here in top form, but - and I do hate to say this - the music has a tendency to be just plain boring. It's not that Rush have to be technical to be good, and the band's instrumental prowess shines in tunes like "Prime Mover" and the mystical "Tai Shan," but the synthesizers are really what kill a good chunk of this record. Why? Because they're so damn overbearing. As with Signals and a decent chunk of Power Windows, it feels as though Alex Lifeson has been once again shoved off to the sidelines as Lee's large array of keyboard effects comes in to take command of the record.

There are, however, some nifty things here and there that provide a good contrast to this, my personal favorite being the highly guitar-driven rocker "Turn the Page"; while there is still a high amount of synthesizer work when the song occasionally slows down, Alex's presence is strong and provides a uniquely stark atmosphere to the track. As for Neil Peart, he's certainly very commendable on this album because of his ability to transform simplicity into an immersive experience. He could easily have just followed what the other instruments are doing, but instead offers his own unique takes on these poppy tracks. The fills on "Time Stand Still" and "Turn the Page" are among his finest, and his highly involved performance in closer "High Water" positively contrasts the song's slow tempo and simple instrumental work.

Still, it's quite upsetting to hear a band's sound become diluted to the point of genuine boredom, and Rush were quite close to hitting such a mark. Hold Your Fire isn't a bad album, but it's one of the band worst records regardless; the emotional content and atmosphere are strong, but not as powerful when coupled with the overdone synth arrangements and weaker songwriting. This just barely escapes its 2.5/5, but what a dangerously close call. However, to the Rush fans out there: you should get this if you're a completionist or into 80s Rush. Otherwise, I'd say this one's more for pop rock fans than the ones who adore the band's more progressive 70s material.

Report this review (#1445877)
Posted Tuesday, July 28, 2015 | Review Permalink
3 stars In my review of Signals, I mentioned my being a latecomer to Rush and the fact that I love synthesizers. So I'm starting by tackling (as I can) the controversial post-Moving Pictures 1980's Rush albums, just...well, because I can. So there.

Seriously, there's certainly plenty of worthy material on all those albums. The thinnest for me is probably Grace Under Pressure, where certain songs seem a bit forced, and the energy seems a tad down (there's a heaviness in sound but also in delivery). Power Windows sounds cleaner, but is weighed down by some unremarkable filler. There's filler on Hold Your Fire, too, but the high points are certainly memorable and quite moving here, more than probably on any of these other releases.

Let's start with the low(er) points. "Force Ten" is a fine song the first 30 or so times you've heard it. After awhile, though, it becomes a bit ordinary. Powerful, yes. But it doesn't always stick terribly well. The sentiments of "Time Stand Still" are beautiful (especially as someone staring down middle age and watching loved ones - even peers - succumb to that inevitable final enemy, while also contemplating things I wish I could accomplish or times I wish I could go back to), but the presentation is a bit too poppy and feels somewhat unsubstantial. And "Prime Mover" - just never liked this song. There's nothing to distinguish it from anything else on the album. A rather boring riff at the center and the lyrics don't speak to me.

Other songs fare better. "Open Secrets" is also a bit slight, but the melody is lovely and holds up fairly well on repeated listenings. My favorite of these "pretty good" songs is "Second Nature", with a pleading tone of gentle desperation and the recognition of our efforts to save the environment ("We fight the fire") while simultaneously destroying it ("while we're feeding the flames"). "Tai-Shan" has a nice Asian feel to it, courtesy of sitar-sounding guitars and synthesized flutes. I know this is not a favorite of many (like "Madrigal" on A Farewell to Kings, there isn't another Rush song quite like it), but I quite fancy it and also appreciate the band's willingness to try something quite atypical for them. And "High Water" rumbles along with a nice energy through its fat guitar/bass riff in its middle.

Then, there are the three songs I consider to be the true centerpieces of the album - the "side two" openers. "Lock and Key" has decent lyrics if perhaps a bit of a reach (I'm not sure all of us have homicidal mania in our psyche, especially not close to the surface), but the orchestrated melody is very, very well done and highly enjoyable. Alex Lifeson gets a nice solo in the middle (if perhaps a bit short) and Geddy Lee gets to play a muscular bass at the same time while Neil Peart turns in his usual complicatedly catchy tom hits. "Mission" is my favorite here, celebrating the movers and shakers in our world in a variety of areas (science, art, literature, architecture, etc.) while simultaneously wondering if they might have appreciated a bit more sanity in place of the frenzied brilliance that dominated the lives of many. Substantial thoughts, here, and presented against an immaculately beautiful musical backdrop. Great guitar lines, fantastic keyboards, excellent drumming - just a terrific song. And "Turn the Page" has a great bassline and a great guitar solo. Maybe it's no more progressive than "Prime Mover" (I would argue it is), but it's certainly a far more distinctive and memorable effort.

So, the final analysis? Some filler here for me. I never liked "Prime Mover", and the album's openers don't wear that well. Some of the "pretty good" songs ("Open Secrets" especially) are pleasant but not super-distinctive. But the three centerpieces are among the best work the band ever did (yes, even with "Red Barchetta", "Xanadu" and "La Villa Strangiato"), so that props things up a bit. In my younger days, this album was one of my faves. I see its flaws more clearly now, and it's certainly not their best, but I still pull it out and enjoy it from time to time. Essential? No. Somewhere between Good and Excellent. I'll give it three stars, with the caveat that everyone should hear it at least once and decide if they need more.

Report this review (#1599612)
Posted Saturday, August 20, 2016 | Review Permalink

RUSH Hold Your Fire ratings only

chronological order | showing rating only

Post a review of RUSH Hold Your Fire

You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not.


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives