Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography



Heavy Prog

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

Rush Vapor Trails album cover
3.43 | 957 ratings | 112 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

Write a review

Buy RUSH Music
from partners
Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. One Little Victory (5:08)
2. Ceiling Unlimited (5:27)
3. Ghost Rider (5:39)
4. Peaceable Kingdom (5:22)
5. The Stars Look Down (4:28)
6. How It Is (4:05)
7. Vapor Trail (4:56)
8. Secret Touch (6:34)
9. Earthshine (5:37)
10. Sweet Miracle (3:40)
11. Nocturne (4:49)
12. Freeze (Part IV of Fear) (6:16)
13. Out of the Cradle (5:03)

Total Time 67:04

Line-up / Musicians

- Alex Lifeson / electric & acoustic guitars, mandola
- Geddy Lee / bass, vocals
- Neil Peart / drums, cymbals

Releases information

Artwork: Hugh Syme

2xLP Atlantic ‎- 83531-1 (2002, US)
2xLP Atlantic ‎- RRM1 83740 (2013, US) Remixed by David Botrill, different cover art

CD Anthem Records ‎- 6682510962 (2002, Canada)
CD Atlantic - 7567-83531-2 (2002, Europe)
CD Atlantic ‎- RRM2 83740 (2013, US) Remixed by David Botrill, different cover art

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
Edit this entry

Buy RUSH Vapor Trails Music

RUSH Vapor Trails ratings distribution

(957 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (37%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

RUSH Vapor Trails reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars 2,5 stars really!!!

OK ! So they are back! So what, you ask? This will allow them to make world tours and Live albums. Actually if this is not that a good record , I am very HAPPY that they did get back just for the sake of Peart's personal tragedies (who had lost a wife and daughter) and the fact that this had put Rush's career on hold so long. Nice to see them back in shape and it warms me very much to hear that Peart still has all of his great talent.

As for the album , we have here one of the hardest sounding Rush album a bit in the vein of the previous Test For Echoes , but in this one there is a sense of energy and urgency/spontaneity I found absent in a lot of 90's Rush releases. But by all means , this first hour fan is still not convinced by such records , although I am awed that these guys are still playing so tight. Lifeson's ever present guitar riffs fills out this album and the keyboards have it seems definitely a lesser role than in their 80's albums which were defintely not much to my tastes!

A return to form!

Review by chessman
2 stars Can't really decide about this one, if it is good, or just average. Average I think. Ghost Rider is my favourite here. Peaceable Kingdom is ok, and Vapour Trail it self is not bad. Another album where some of the material is tuneless and uninspiring though. I think they should withdraw from the public for 5 years and not get back together until they all agree they have the old need to again, and can come up with fresh and interesting material. Rush fans will have it in their collection, of course. But anyone interested in discovering the band will be put off by this one. Probably one of their weakest releases, along with 2112, Permanent Waves and, of course, Fly By Night. (Still the weakest of the lot!)
Review by Menswear
3 stars 'To fully understand, is to fully forgive'. Okay, we're lucky we even had Vapor Trails. After all the turmoil is Neil's life, this album is very acceptable. Not a classic, but superior in many ways in their 1990-2002 period. The songs are about reflexion and irony. I don't quite remember such mature and intense writing by Peart in a while. In this album, the extremes are evident. When it's good, it's good (One little victory, How it is, Vapor Trails, Earthshine, Sweet Miracle, Secret Touch, Ghost Rider) and when it's is (Freeze, Out of the cradle). A good 70% of the album is above Roll the Bones or Test for Echo. So I don't know why it gets so much bashing. Blaming Rush for being harder and more metal is non-appropriate because that's what they do best. Synths are Rush's best ally, but they make bad leaders. Lee is a very average keyboard player, but they do know how to make it sound nice. But this time, it's back to basics and it feel refreshing. Never Rush sounded so hard and abrasive. Lots of frustration and mixed feelings in Vapor Trails. Listen carefully. Feel the resignation and the desillusion of Neil's lyrics. A very dark and 'rusty' feeling. Don't expect Moving Pictures or Signals, what they did best is behing them. But Vapor Trail is the only album they made like this, so it's worth the try... Good? No...better!
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars After six years pause the band released this fireball. It has truly quite fast and heavy feeling on it, the opening drums sound almost like MOTÖRHEAD, and there are no synthesizers used on the whole album. Alex also restrains from doing any solos, which is a respectable artistic move. I first played this album very much, but lost my interest towards it after a some months. But I think doing this review will work as an impulse to do some re-listening! "Ghost Rider" was a track that stayed most clearly in my head. It had also some lyrics referring to Neil's family tragedy, and I recall I felt very sad for this man which I don't even know.
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The most recent studio album from Canadian Art Rock Trio Rush is a bit of a hit and miss album. Long gone are the 20 minute sci-fi epics of old and the synthesizer drenched atmospheres of old, and in come heavy and grungy guitar riffs. It doesn't really help that the audio quality isn't really up to par with a 2002 release. It's too trebly and the guitar is too distorted. Despite that, there are some things to like about the album. The guitar riffs are creative and the rhythm section really puts up a powerhouse performance. Peart's lyrics for this album are not the same as they were on the last album. This time... it was personal. With the loss of his daughter and wife in the same year, Peart wrote his feelings out on paper (as well as rode around the Americas on his motorcycle).

From the powerful double bass intro to One Little Victory to the grungy Out of the Cradle, one can't help but feel that Rush is returning to their roots. Key tracks to this album are Secret Touch, Earthshine, and Ghost Rider. Secret Touch has a sexually connotative title, but despite that it is a powerhouse track that has some brilliant riffing from Lifeson and punchy drums from Peart. Earthshine is a grungy, muddy, heavy song that has a snappy chorus and a great Lifeson solo. Ghost Rider, perhaps the most personal song on the album, deals with the loss of Peart's daughter. The blocky Lee bass chords combine with the soothing Lifeson riff and gentle percussion from Peart.

Overall, if you are a fan of the first two Rush albums, then you'll find something to like. However, if you like Rush from 1977-1989, you're not going to find much to like from this. To me, it is an exceptional album that all Rush fans should already own. 3/5.

Review by Raff
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars From what I've seen on this site, the jury is still out as regards Rush's comeback album after a forced 5-year stop: masterpiece or disappointment? Reinvention or rehash of old formulas? In my honest, humble opinion it is neither, though my judgment of this album veers definitely towards the positive. It has its flaws, first of all the notoriously muddy, grungy production - very untypical for the band, though in a way reflecting the changes that had occurred in those five years in the members' personal lives. Rush had come very close to calling it a day for good, which would have been an enormous loss for the whole world of rock music. Consequently, many fans expected a triumphal return to form, but things went rather differently and widespread feelings of disappointment ensued. "Vapor Trails" is undoubtedly a brave move on the part of the band, more experimental and raw than most of their past efforts, but it is also no masterpiece.

Keyboards seem to have been relegated to the past, which is probably very good news for those fans who were seriously bothered by the over-abundance of synths in the band's '80s output. Even though Lifeson plays fewer solos than usual, his guitar is pushed to the fore with a rawer, aggressive sound which hasn't been heard for years on a Rush record. As a matter of fact, he proves once again that he is one of the greatest riff masters in rock. On the other hand, the production values somehow flatten the guitar, which results in the tracks sounding a bit samey after a while. Neil's drumming is immaculate and elegant as ever, and Geddy's vocals get better and better with time. When I heard him live two years ago I was surprised at how good he's become - no longer shrill, but rather forceful and expressive. It's a pity that the mix does nothing to improve the mighty sound of Geddy's legendary bass.

This album contain more tracks than most Rush records, though no instrumentals. There is also quite a bit of filler, songs which are rather unremarkable and undistinguished. This is not the case of the opening "One Little Victory", driven along by Alex's frantic riffing and Neil's powerhouse drumming, or the intense, relentless "Peaceable Kingdom" and the weird, mid-tempo "Freeze". The album's absolute standout, however, is the song I have chosen for my nickname, the hauntingly beautiful "Ghost Rider", in which the three musicians get a real chance to shine individually and collectively - especially the rythm section. The title-track is also outstanding, with great vocals by the inimitable Mr Lee.

Other reviewers have rightly mentioned the deeply personal nature of the lyrics, penned by Neil Peart after the tragic losses he had suffered. Gone are the times when he got his inspiration from the doubtful writings of Ayn Rand or from fantasy and science fiction. "Show me beauty, but there is no peace/for the ghost rider": these are the words of a man who's known pain, anger and grief, nevertheless has managed to get on with his life. The stylish, Tarot-themed cover art is also worthy of mention, even though the band are always been noted for the beauty of their album sleeves. Three and a half stars, really - waiting for the next one.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars What's the difference and similarity between Rush and Queensryche? I'd better start with the similarity. Both, I think all of you agree, lay their music foundation on heavy part of progressive rock music. Yes, they share heavy riffs in their music even though Queensryche is softer. And let's talk about the difference. Queensryche is a band that made a major leap in prog arena with the critically acclaimed "Operations: Mindcrime" and is "willing to continue" its presence in progressive arena by calling back their past success, deliberately. They just released the "Operations: Mindcrime II" riding the success of the past. What about Rush? It's totally different approach. They want to progress their music further and don't want "living in the past" situation at all. So there would be no "A Farewell To Kings Part 2" nor "Moving Pictures Goes In Town" nor "Memispheres in Digital World" nor "Permanent Waves are No Longer Permanent" for the sake of marketing gimmick. The past is the past! The band must move forward! As far as my observation goes, the band started new music direction from "Signals" and then moved to "Grace Under Pressure" with totally different concept. They never comeback to the past that's why Rush is a true progressive band as their music direction changes all the time. The risk is very high because the loyal fans who have been with the band from early days might be disappointed with their new direction.

We should not judge "Vapour Trails" too fast and analyse each track as compared to the glory hits of "Tom Sawyer" or "La Villa Strangiato" or "The Spirit of Radio" etc. We should view this album in the right context and releasing them from their past glories. . The producer on this album is Paul Norhtfield who also mixed the live album "Different Stages".

For this album, the band equally decided to keep out most of lengthy solos either keyboards or guitars. So you can imagine if you buy this album hoping to get Lifeson's solo you would definitely regret your dollars spent on this album. It's also the case with their fans base which find themselves difficult to accept this album as Rush album. I think the band was ready to take the blame and risk but that's the true heroism for people who have progressive mind in action. So be it. If it's to be hated, accept the fact but the band's music must move on. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW

Review by Melomaniac
4 stars or How to revitalize a band...

After the synth period of the 80's and the pop-rock period of the 90's, Rush returns with their heaviest album in quite some time, probably since the late 70's. I remember the chills I got the first time I listened to this album, when I heard the double bass drum intro to One Little Victory. THEY'RE BACK !!! The exclusion of keyboards, replaced by layers of guitars and back vocals made for a refreshing approach, yet again, for this band. The only letdown, to me, is that the album is a bit too long for it's own good. Songs like Out of the Cradle, The Stars look Down and Freeze don't do it for me, but the rest of the album, even the semi-ballad Sweet Miracle, is really great. A great return for a band that almost died following the tragedies in Peart's life. Suggestion : read Peart's novel, Ghost Rider. You'll get a better idea of how emotionnaly charged this album is.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars I think this is the best RUSH album since "Signals". I know the complaints, like the the songs are samey, and there are no keys, and not much in the way of breakouts. I personally could care less if there are any keyboards or not, and I love how powerful this record is with all of that bottom end. This is a hard rocking, reflective record with some of the best lyrics I have heard in years. I saw them play in Toronto in support of this record and it was an emotional home-coming for the band after a long absence that was marred by the tragedies in Neil's life. His daughter was killed in a car accident just north of the town I work in, and his wife lost her battle with cancer the following year. The lyrics reflect the dark place Neil was in but also the redemption of coming out of that place. He had this to say about the lyrics on this album. "They're obviously very personel, but I try to find a way to transcend them.This is what memories are like for everybody, not just me.Those vapor trails in the sky-they fade. I explored the nature of memory in a few of those songs. Even "Ghost Rider" is about my travels, but I tried to find universal emotional touchstones that other people could find in their lives. I like to weave imagery that has a basis in me so that it's heartfelt and then the listener can find something within it for them. It's like a wind chime : the wind blows through it and makes it sing". By the way this album is brought to us by the letter "3". The individual pictures in the liner notes of Alex, Geddy and Neil couldn't be more perfect.

"One Little Victory" features a powerful drum intro and the rhythm section throughout is fantastic ! This song was played on the radio a lot up here. "Ceiling Unlimited" features a lot of bass from Geddy and I have to say his vocals on this song and record are the best i've heard from him in many years. "Ghost Rider" is also the name of Neil's book. This is a top three track for me.The intro gives me goosebumps as Geddy's reserved vocals come in. Again the lyrics are so meaningful. "Peaceable Kingdom" has a powerful intro and the song gets better as it plays out. Some great guitar from Alex and Geddy is outstanding. This song is about the events surrounding 9/11 and a top three tune for me."The Stars Look Down" has an incredible rhythm to it and I love Geddy's vocals and also the scorching guitar solo 3 minutes in. Great chorus too. "How It Is" opens with mandola and features some acoustic guitar solos from Alex.

"Vapor Trail" has a great guitar intro and the tribal-like drumming is fantastic. Check out Geddy's bass playing before a minute. "Secret Touch" opens with some intricate guitar before it turns heavy. "Earthshine" is my favourite from the album. It opens with a good riff and what follows are some heavy drums and good vocals with the guitar screaming in the background. Mandola with vocal melodies follow then themes are repeated. "Sweet Miracle" opens with a cool guitar / bass groove but this song is all about the lyrics. "When the tide came in-Swept beneath the surface-Lost without a trace-No hope at all". "Nocturne" has some great drumming to open as Alex comes in lighting it up. Killer guitar in this one. Another song about Neil's dark journey. "Freeze (Part IV of Fear)" features some really amazing guitar and is quite heavy. "Out Of The Cradle" is the uptempo, uplifting conclusion to this amazing record.

This is a fairly long record at over 67 minutes. Lets face it though a lot has happened in their long absence and it had to be told.This album always makes me feel good and takes me back to that hot dry summer of 2003. "RUSH is back and so life is good" was my feeling back then. A very special album.

Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars A complete, powerful, emotive, and welcome return to form while at the same time showcasing an almost entirely new sound and style. "Vapor Trails" is outstanding!

More so than just about every other album Rush that has been released in the past two decades, this one shows them doing what they truly do best: playing really powerful, artistic rock music very, very well. Each member is on the top of their game: Geddy-- whose voice regains its high-timbre and intensity and whose gigantic bass shatters expectations, Alex-- whose guitar is raw, vibrant, amazingly listenable, but especially Neil-- whose drumming is more dynamic than ever and whose lyrics reach new poetic heights. I am sure most have heard about his life's tragedy some years ago, and this album's poignant and emotive lyrics speak of both his pain and recovery; absolutely heartbreaking and uplifting.

Many are turned off by this album's very unrefined sound, and I admit that it was hard for me to listen to the first time through... but what a pay off. "Vapor Trails" contains some of Rush's finest songs, worthy to stand by their old classics and I hope setting the stage for things to come.

Mandatory for serious fans of the band and an excellent introduction for those coming from outside the prog world.

Songwriting: 3 Instrumental Performances: 4 Lyrics/Vocals: 5 Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A graceful return from the masters of Heavy Prog.

After the 5 year hiatus following the very tragic events that plagued band member Neil PEART, the band decided to get back together again. Geddy LEE recounts that it was Peart's idea to begin with, that he called Geddy one day and asked if he was ready to reform the band. While it's terribly clear that the events had changed Peart's life and the way he wrote (he also hasn't appeared, to my knowledge, in any interviews since 1996) it's also clear that the man was again driven to play those drums. Neil is fierce on this outing, and many of the songs on the album revolve around his path to recovery as well as other more worldly issues that Peart is not unknown for writing.

While the production value of the album has been questioned, it's really a two way street. While the album is incredibly raw and heavy some may argue that the band wanted it that way to obtain a certain sound. Certainly, this does give the album an edge that the band hasn't seen since 1993's Counterparts, however it does have it's downsides as well. Unlike many a Rush album, this one can turn into the ''wall of sound'' that turns off many listeners. Indeed, it does have that effect on even the most hard-core fan, but with repeated listens one can eventually break through that wall to discover some truly classic Rush songs hidden amongst the Vapor Trails.

Starting off with the live favorite ONE LITTLE VICTORY the album is on it's way. Blistering drums and a deep, raw guitar riff the album starts off very heavily. When performed live this is the song that the band saves the pyrotechnics for, and it's clear as to why. This is the song that will more or less set the course of the rest of the album. Heavy, with a not-so-clearly-defined but still noticeable chorus and tight playing. CEILING UNLIMITED follows much on the same vein, jump starting with a fast riff from Alex LIFESON, this song is perhaps less catchy than it's predecessor, but there's just as much replay value to be had.

From here on the album starts to get more emotionally attached. The third track, GHOST RIDER, is the first track on the album penned by Neil about his trip to self-recovery. Pack up all those phantoms/shoulder that invisible load, sings Geddy over the mellow bass intro. While the song does later explode into motion the song is too emotionally involved to simply head bang along to it (in a good way of course). Following that is Peart's poetically scientific view on one major event that happened during Rush's absence -- the 9/11 attack. PEACEABLE KINGDOM is a lot less obvious of a song about this particular event than, say DT's ''Sacrificed Sons'', and it's a lot closer to the actual event time wise but it's still a topic that doesn't need much more attention regardless. However, this is a very good, (again) heavy track that's catchily-uncatchy as Rush does so well.

About halfway through the album there's a string of consistently good songs. While these are the songs that, unfortunately, suffer from the ''wall of sound'' effect the first couple listens through. THE STARS LOOK DOWN and HOW IT IS are fairly similar in sound at times, but are both excellent tracks. HOW IT IS in particular is a rather light-hearted track for the album and makes a nice contrast against the rest of the album. VAPOR TRAIL, with it's pleasant starting riff and nice mid-paced structure and dark undertones with pseudo-sci-fi lyrics make it a great standout. SECRET TOUCH, with its soft intro and heavy start is likely one of the heaviest songs that Rush have ever produced and is, apparently, one of Lee's favorites -- and even better when seen live.

Coming down to the end of the album the songs start to get more emotion again, and actually more towards the melody than the heavy. However, if the ''wall of sound'' has gotten to you by this point it's not likely to wear off for these tracks, unfortunately. EARTHSHINE, a live favorite, is another song to open with a wicked riff from Lifeson. Voice effects of Lee are easily forgiven as they're well used and the song becomes an excellent track to sing along to. SWEET MIRACLE is another song about Peart's road to recovery, this one slower than the rest on the album. Beautifully sung by Lee, this is a song that is, again, heavier than it seems, both in lyrical content and in music.

From this point onto the end the album is pure rock. The song about sleep, NOCTURNE, is another heavy piece. ''Did I have the dream/or did the dream have me?''. Definitely a song that requires the listener to dissect the lyrics, this is still a good song. Following in the tradition of their 80s albums, FREEZE concludes (I think) the 4-part song ''Fear'' started with their 1981 song, Witch Hunt. Heavier and less like any of the Fear tracks before it, FREEZE still has a catchy chorus that keeps it driving. Finishing off the album is the pure rocker, OUT OF THE CRADLE, which closes the album just as it started, heavily.

In the end this is more of a rock album than a prog album for sure. However, it will still appeal to fans of the Heavy Prog genre and any kind of rock fan in general. A welcome return after a not-so-great album (Test For Echo), and a long hiatus. This one gets 4 stars. Unfortunately you'll need to listen to this album many many times and even go back to it later to see how well it's aged since you last listened to it. Definitely a hard one to ''get'', this album is worth it in the end.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Hard-hitting and extremely personal, this is perhaps the deepest thing Rush ever did, considering the anguish of their lyricist and beloved drummer. This album represents the resilience of a man who picked himself up, brushed himself off, and moved on with his life after a year horrific calamities. There are no keyboards, and this is an album almost bereft of guitar solos, which might be something of a problem for even some of the most stalwart Rush fans, but I find that having Alex Lifeson in a far more supportive role shows a more restrained and yet powerful side to him. The biggest gripe for most Rush fans is the almost constant clipping due to distortion and too much compression, and for the most part, I agree that this can prove to be obstacle, but it in no way diminishes my attitude toward the album- it exists, in my opinion, as the heaviest Rush album ever made, and yet each composition is in itself a masterpiece or almost one.

"One Little Victory" What an apt title for what, in essence, is a merciless comeback! Appropriately enough, the album begins with the thunder and "Life-is-a-bitch-but-I-am-moving-forward-anyway" drumming of maestro Neil Peart. This, in my humble opinion, is ultimately his album. Alex Lifeson, as a reliable friend, steps beside him with a gritty and harsh guitar riff. Geddy Lee's bass chugs along as only he can make it do, it seems. Once again, Canada's best band is back together, putting another notch in their belts, and demonstrating that it's perfectly fine to fall on one's face, so as long as one gets up and doesn't give up. Hardiness is the theme here, and the music of the opening track reflects that perfectly. Celebrate the moment indeed.

"Ceiling Unlimited" The band asserts itself as a true power trio, with a mighty progression on the electric guitar, trebly punches from the bass, and impeccable drumming. The lyrics are a tad on the esoteric side, something unusual for Peart, but I suspect this song holds a deep, personal meaning no one can penetrate.

"Ghost Rider" A bittersweet yet picturesque description of Peart's travels across North America by motorcycle after the unimaginable tragedy of losing both his wife and daughter in the same year (the former to disease, the latter to an automotive crash), this is one man's new "anthem" of optimism and endurance in the face of "shadows on the road behind" and "shadows on the road ahead." The various sections of this song flow perfectly and include a powerful, yet hardly noticeable key change.

"Peaceable Kingdom" After some strange vocal effects in the introduction, the band plays this heavy handed song with deep conviction and hope. A bass lead by Lee ushers in the lighter chorus. If there is one song that suffers from the clipping issue the most, it's this one. Lifeson's guitar is grating, but that almost serves to differentiate between the pessimism of the verses and the optimism of the refrain.

"The Stars Look Down" Although I love virtually every song on this album, this is in my top three for this album. Again, the band juxtaposes loud, clipping verses with gentler choruses. A ghostly twelve-string guitar is prominent in certain parts. The words are particularly of note, as they not only relate to the 1935 novel by A.J. Cronin, but speak of man's inability to understand the reason behind the various things he experiences, particularly painful times.

"How It Is" Using the structure of the previous two songs, this is a more upbeat song, with a fast rhythm and uplifting lyrics, which describe the resignation that how things are and how one expects them to be will almost certainly always be different, and yet that doesn't mean one has to resign oneself to gloom. The twelve-string guitar is again prominent, and this tends to the closest thing to acoustic music on this album, which of course is saying practically nothing.

"Vapor Trail" The title track takes the opposite route structurally. This time, there are quieter verses, and then Lifeson jumps in with an out-of-place bunch of crunchy guitar chords for the chorus. While initially such a transition would sound ridiculous, after just a few verses, it sounds perfectly natural. The vocal melodies to this one are outstanding.

"Secret Touch" A merry opening riff serves as the basis for the verses, while a heavy minor 6th chord crashes through to bring in the chorus, which features some of the Professor's most brilliant lyrics, including a line I'm sure he knows all too well to be the God's honest truth: "There is never love without pain." I myself (a Christian) impose my own interpretation on the lyrics, which I am usually not wont to do, particularly on the line, "A gentle hand, a secret touch on the heart."

"Earthshine" Were I to choose a favorite song from the album, this is it, as I cannot help but crank up the volume when I hear that ripping, opening riff from Lifeson. The waltz-like segment that unites verse and chorus is brilliant, adding a subtly played acoustic guitar. Lee's bass work is especially remarkable in the way he maintains the low end but creates some spectacular chugging in the higher register. There is a rare guitar solo on this song, rising in faintly and finely played- the economy of a true master. The lyrics describe an astronomical phenomenon (a more specific form of planetshine) during which the Earth bounces the sun's light to the moon, which in turn reflects it right back at us. The line, "pale facsimile like what others see when they look in my direction" is especially poetic, drawing upon this heavenly occurrence as a metaphor: People may read our words or see us act, but what they are seeing is likely a vague impression of what we really are.

"Sweet Miracle" I love the powerful introduction first of all, and the lyrics reel me in: As a Christian who generally believes God works scientifically, the words resonate with me and remind us all that life itself is a sweet miracle, even if does include some pretty low valleys. Lee's bass is the foundation for that epiphany of a third verse, and his harmonies are exquisite.

"Nocturne" Here's a powerful and somewhat mystical song. A frenetic, spiraling, wild ride transfers the listener from the verse to the refrain, as Lee's untamed crying out ushering him through like a deranged Charon into the hypnotic yet nightmarish otherworld. Dreams are a temporary madness, even those we have while awake.

"Freeze (Part IV of Fear)" Gouging bass and grating guitar begin part four of the trilogy. That chorus is a remarkable place in what is probably one of the most progressive pieces on this record. It is loaded with different musical passages, mostly heavy-hitting and loud, however, and the words, which don't exactly mesh with the previous three parts, describe mankind's fight-or-flight response to fear.

"Out Of The Cradle" A nice rocker to finish up a fine album, this one, like it's brothers, boasts strong lyrics and amazingly tight playing. Yes, for those with the music in their hearts, they come "out of the cradle, endlessly rocking." Rock on.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Vapor Trails could have been such an excellent album and I'm sure every fan was delighted when hearing the first few songs of it. But in the end it failed to achieve the deserved appreciation because of only one thing: the terrible mastering of this album.

This album must have been mixed by somebody who has been tune-deaf or has suffered severe tinnitus for at least 20 years. It's a disgrace. It's one big clutter of mid-frequency noise. It's even hard to tell the difference between guitars, bass and drum sound.

There's no lack of excellent songs though, certainly not. I don't like every single one of them but there's plenty to enjoy. Due to the mixing and mastering though, there's no way you can sit this album out without damaging your ears.

That being said this is actually a very powerful diamond in the rough. 3.5 stars, sure to be rounded up if this album ever gets a remix.

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars A couple of things regarding this review, I was reading Neil Pearts' Ghostrider for a few months last year, yes a slow reader, but it is the kind of book full of diary notes and journals and consequently it became a labor of love just to read it, a bit like a self enacted journey for myself at the same time. Vapor Trails is no small surprise to ardent Rush fans, the album released post Peart's family tragedies as in the death of his daughter and subsequently his wife. The book and album go hand in hand especially as the lyrics as usual are written by Peart. It's release was the culmination of Peart surviving the tragedy, forging ahead with his new life, wrestling his demons, courtesy of his beloved BMW bike travelling Canada, USA and Mexico. His fellow band members occassionally connected with Peart on his journey as friends to offer their love and support, never once suggesting or pressuring his return to making music.

So when Vapor Trails came about , circa six years after Test For Echo it had a special meaning not only for Rush fans but also as a cathartic release for the band, who in essence are ' Family'. The music is full of renewed energy, passion as though each band member have put just a little extra into every aspect of their performances. The lyrics are accutely personal and fragile but with hope and purpose each song increases respectively by another notch as if exposing new light at the end of the tunnel. The music is heavier with a harder edge to it and the album is a great conceptual work. IMO this review would suffer by individualizing each song as they are all extraordinary but ' One Little Victory', ' Ghostrider' and ' The Stars Looks Down' are just for starters but ' Peaceable Kingdom' IMO the highpoint, lyrically and musically, as hard hitting as a1200cc BMW bike dismissing an insect at high speed, leaving nothing but the whiff of a thin vapor trail. Essential listening.

Review by Evolver
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Crossover & JR/F/Canterbury Teams
3 stars In 2002, the good news was that Rush was back, after a six year absence. But after the personal tragedies that Neil Peart had to endure, who could blame them. The bad news was that they had all but forsaken their progressive roots on this album. But "roots" seemed to be the word of the day for this album. Despite an overlying air of modern hard rock, there is a constant reminder of Rush's beginning from the start to the finish of the album. I hear echoes of Led Zeppelin, The Who and other hard rock pioneers. For example, How It Is with it's jangly guitar, sounds like it was inspired by The Byrds.

There are some very good songs, but nothing astounding musically (although Peart does write some of his best, and most personal lyrics). One Little Victory and Secret Touch are my favorites on the album. And Freeze (Part IV of Fear) approaches prog.

All in all, it was good to have Rush back.

Review by SouthSideoftheSky
1 stars If Counterparts was a car-crash, Vapor Trails is a train-wreck!

For Vapor Trails, Rush seem to have entered the studio with a clear idea of what they wanted to sound like, but seemingly without any melodic ideas whatsoever. Like on 1993's Counterparts album the kind of sound they opted for here was once again an Alternative Rock/Grunge one. In many ways, Vapor Trails can be seen as a follow up (or should that be "counterpart") to Counterparts. Vapor Trails is however even more noisy and monotonic to these ears and the song writing is more lacklustre than ever. It is almost as if they tried to hide the lack of good songs behind a thick and dense wall of sound. Also like on Counterparts, the keyboards were once again completely ditched in favour of the basic power trio format of guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Personally, I enjoy Rush a lot more when they are utilizing a wider musical palette as they did on their best and most successful albums in the 70's and 80's. If all you knew from Rush was their self-titled debut album from 1974 and the present album, it would be strictly speaking impossible to even begin to imagine that albums like 2112, Hemispheres, Moving Pictures or ever Presto could be found in between in the very same band's discography. Indeed, the songs on Vapor Trails are as straightforward as those of the debut album, only that the production values of the late 60's (even if released in 1974, Rush's debut sounded like Led Zeppelin in 1969) have been replaced by those of the 90's (even if released in 2002, Vapor Trails sounds very much like a product of the 90's).

There seems to be consensus about that the previous Test For Echo album was something of an anomaly in between Counterparts and Vapor Trails. The latter two albums go naturally together while Test For Echo is rather different. For me Test For Echo was a positive anomaly. Even if it did contain a couple of weaker tracks, it was a much more enjoyable album to these ears than the two that surrounded it. Test For Echo was altogether more harmonic and melodic than is the present album. Where are the melodies on Vapor Trails? Instead, the songs are based on rather simple and loud riffs. There is nothing wrong with riffs though, of course. Indeed, some of my favourite music is based on riffs. But these particular riffs are utterly uninspired. The 13 tracks are all between four and a half and six and a half minutes long and sound very much the same as every other. Behind the contemporary and noisy production, there are 13 songs based on the same tired formula as the band have used for years.

The renewed interest in progressive Rock that emerged in the 90's and 00's (partly due to the internet and sites like this one) seems to have passed Rush by entirely. There were some traces of recognition of their own past on Test For Echo, but on Vapor Trails there is not even the slightest attempt to connect to the band's Prog-phase in the mid 70's to the early 80's. It is almost as if they are trying their very hardest here to disown the label of progressive Rock. It is indeed respectable that an old band are trying to do something new instead of just doing what they did in their youth, but it has to be done with passion and which I find clearly lacking here.

For this reviewer, Vapor Trails is Rush's worst album ever and even lacklustre efforts like Power Windows and Roll Your Bones, and even Vapor Trails' musical brother Counterparts, offer more listening pleasure for me

Review by Warthur
4 stars After his wife and daughter both died within a year of each other, it seemed as though Neal Peart was simply too shattered to continue with Rush. After a lot of soul-searching and a long road trip, Peart finally felt ready to get back in the saddle and the result was Vapor Trails.

Alas, the original release of the album had an absolutely horrible mix. Nu-metal was hot at the time, which meant that dark and murky production in general was common in hard rock circles in general, and the loudness war had escalated to a ridiculous extent. The end result obscured many of the album's merits under a mass of oversaturated audio and silly gimmicks.

Rush realised the original mix was a bad mistake, however, and that led to the release of a new mix in 2013 - the same year that Marillion released a new mix of Radiation, another turn-of-the-millennium prog album whose original released was blighted by an unfortunate mixing job. And as was the case with Radiation, the rerelease of Vapor Trails turned out to be something of a revelation, revealing an actually pretty decent album which had been obscured by a mixing desk atrocity.

I'm not going to say Vapor Trails is a flat-out groundbreaking classic, but I will say that in the remixed version it's very, very good - perhaps their best since Grace Under Pressure. In the corrected mix, it comes across as a confident development of the general approach of Counterparts and Test For Echo, but enhanced simply by stronger songwriting, and a warmer feeling all over. There's less sense of the excessive artifice which had touched all the albums from Power Windows to Test For Echo, and more sense of a band doing what comes naturally to them.

Perhaps the boys were just thrilled to be working together again, and that joy seeped into the recording process; either way, whatever they were doing differently here worked, it's just that it was disguised for over a decade by the original mix. Shave a star - or even two stars - off this rating if you are considering the original mix, but it's pretty obvious that Rush regard the remix as the canonical version of the album. They aren't wrong there.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Lighting up my unconscious, And the secret places of the heart.'

'Vapor Trails' is the last Rush studio album I got hold of as I knew it did not receive favourable reviews. I really only bought it as there was nothing else in the shop worth purchasing. I listened to it in the car on the way home and was underwhelmed to say the least. Apart from a few decent songs in the first half it is a very half hearted return to the studio from the virtuoso musicians that have produced some genius work over the years. The keyboards have been locked in a cupboard somewhere, and Lifeson has put his guitar soloing on hold. The sound is compressed and it is a raw aggressive sound overall. A lot of the songs have appeared on 'Live In Rio' and I prefer those versions any day however at least it is superior to some of the mediocrity in the 80s such as 'Presto' and 'Hold Your Fire'.

The background of the album is more famous than the actual songs. The production is below par but the music has passion and lyrically is very strong. There were some extenuating circumstances in which the album was released. Tragically Neil Peart suffered terrible losses with the death of his daughter and subsequently his wife. The lyrics reflect the pain of loss and grief and as such have a lot to say to us about suffering and dealing with grief.

The album cover is an iconic image of a meteor blazing away, or perhaps it is the sun, and we see the vapour trails of the burning mass. The image is symbolic of burning away the dross of the past, the turmoil of tragedy, and moving on which is a key point of the album. There are some definitive highlights as on any Rush album and most of these come at the first half of the album. so I will begin with these first.

'A certain measure of righteousness, A certain amount of force, A certain degree of determination, Daring on a different course, A certain amount of resistance, To the forces of the light and love, A certain measure of tolerance, A willingness to rise above'.

'One Little Victory' starts things off with a thunder clap of loud guitar and drum pounding. The band sound serious and really thrash this out with conviction. Rush are back and they want the world to know it. It is a fantastic song with tons of melodic guitar and very powerful lyrics. One of the better Rush songs of recent years and it sounds incredible live.

'The vacant smile, Of true insanity, Dressed up in the mask of Tragedy, Programmed for the guts and glands, Of idle minds and idle hands, I rest my case, Or at least my vanity, Dressed up in the mask of Comedy, If laughter is a straw for a drowning man.'

'Ceiling Unlimited' is a feast of guitar and fast paced basslines with indelible percussion. The quick tempo works well making it feel very urgent and quite uplifting. The lyrics border on impenetrable but of course Peart was keeping a lot of his thoughts private and it is open to interpretation. The song drags on a bit and is not memorable but not too bad overall thanks to the driving beat.

'Sunrise in the mirror, Lightens that invisible load, Riding on a nameless quest, Haunting that wilderness road, Like a ghost rider, Just an escape artist, Racing against the night, A wandering hermit, Racing toward the light.'

'Ghost Rider' has a beautiful melody sung well by Lee and augmented with some very innovative guitar licks. The hopeful lyrics depict Peart motorcycling across North America following the tragedy of losing both his wife to a terminable disease and daughter in a car crash in the same year. The song is one of the best things on this album and it is Peart's songwriting that makes it extra special; 'nothing can stop you now'.

'All this time we're burning like bonfires in the dark, A billion other blazes are shooting off their sparks, Every spark a drifting ember of desire, To fall upon the earth and spark another fire, A homeward angel on the fly, A wave toward the clearing sky.'

'Peaceable Kingdom' begins with preternatural vocalisations and there is a strong cadence. The verses are primarily bass and some ambient guitars. Later there is a crunching guitar riff that is raw and harsh but it has emotion and passion. It feels like a throwaway track but at least it is heavier than the material on previous albums. I especially like the riff at 3:30 and the way it builds with layered vocals.

'Like the rat in a maze who says, 'Watch me choose my own direction', Are you under the illusion, The path is winding your way? Are you surprised by confusion, When it leads you astray? Have you lived a lifetime today, Or do you feel like you just got carried away?'

'The Stars Look Down' is based on the 1935 novel by A. J. Cronin that was concentric on how mankind is powerless to comprehend the main reasons why we have to suffer pain due to the tragedies that befall us. Of course Peart related to this and eloquently is able to convey the emotions of grief in the lyrics. The melody is upbeat but Lifeson's heavy guitars add a darker texture. The twelve-string guitar is a welcome addition, and Peart's drumming is forced and appropriate to the heavy atmospheres. The song is a highlight as it is a very different sound for Rush.

'Here's a little trap, That sometimes catches everyone, When today's as far as we can see, Faith in bright tomorrows, Giving way to resignation, That's how it is, How it's going to be.'

'How It Is' continues a fast pace with a ton of 12 string acoustic and a happier feel especially in the lyrics. I am not so taken with it and it is not one that stands out among the others on the album.

'Atmospheric phases make the transitory last, Vaporize the memories that freeze the fading past, Silence all the songbirds, Stilled by the killing frost, Forests burn to ashes, Everything is lost.'

'Vapor Trail' is another highlight with great musicianship. A touch of synth enhances the guitar break. Peart is terrific on fast drumming fills and the bass accentuates the sound. Overall the vocals sound excellent and this is always one of the delights of the album on every listen.

'Out of touch, With the weather and the wind direction, With the sunrise, And the phases of the moon, Out of touch, With life in the land of the loving, With the living night, And the darkness at high noon.'

'Secret Touch' is one of my favourites with it's memorable 'the way out is the way in,' mantra. I heard this live a few times on one of the many DVDs I own. The melody is nice and the whole thing sounds uplifting and optimistic. I like Peart's lyrics here and especially the way Lee injects so much emotion in the vocals. One of the best Rush moments on this album.

'Earthshine, Stretching out your hand, Full of starlit diamonds, Earthshine, Reflected light, To another's sight, And the moon tells a lover's story.'

Earthshine' is another fast paced track with some innovative guitar work. I like how it misses a beat in some sections. Lifeson unleashes a great lead break which is a nice change on this album. I like the lyrics that focus on the way occasionally the sun's light bounces off the Earth's surface and reflects to the moon, and then the moon shines its light back to the Earth. Perhaps this reflects Peart's thoughts as he controls the grief he feels by putting on a brave face hiding his true feelings like a mask. I think we can all relate to doing this occasionally to hide our feelings. I like the ideas that surface on this album such as this.

'I wasn't walking on water, I was standing on a reef, When the tide came in, Swept beneath the surface, Lost without a trace, No hope at all.'

'Sweet Miracle' is another sleeper that I have rarely heard but it is okay. The guitars are akin to the U2 sound of Edge. The lyrics are again full of hope despite tragedy and it is a credit to Peart that he was able to express such feelings. The music is also uptempo and bright to enhance the mood.

'Set off on a night-sea journey, Without memory or desire, Drifting through lost latitudes, With no compass and no chart, Flying through hallucination, Distant voices, signal fires, Lighting up my unconscious, And the secret places of the heart.'

'Nocturne' has a booming drum tempo and some grinding guitar distortion. The lyrics question if the protagonist had the dream or did the dream have him. The aggressive fuzz guitars are a welcome sound, and overall this is one of the darker explorations of Peart's thoughts. I like this as something very unique in the Rush canon, with a diverse sound and instrumentation. Lee screams in one section adding to the mystical atmospheres.

'Coiled for the spring, Or caught like a creature in the headlights, Into a desperate panic, Or a tempest of blind fury, Like a cornered beast, Or a conquering hero, The menace threatens, closing, And I'm frozen in the shadows.'

'Freeze (Part IV of Fear)' is the continuing saga began on earlier albums that deals with fear. The riffing and deep growling bass are a feature but it is monotonous. It is an unremarkable song but still not half as bad as a lot of material on their 80s albums, so at least the band have stepped up a notch on this heavier sound. It is a bit noisy though, the multilayered processed vocals are annoying after a while, and it is way too long and repetitive.

'It's a hand, That rocks the cradle, It's a motion, That swings the sky, It's method on the edge of madness, It's a balance on the edge of a knife, It's a smile on the edge of sadness, It's a dance on the edge of life, Endlessly rocking.'

'Out Of The Cradle' closes things off with a breakout of heavy guitar riffs and energetic drumming. Lee still opts for a processed vocal which does not resonate with me when I know he has great vocals without studio trickery. It is again not a highlight on the album but rocks hard and is an interesting song to finish on. Peart is saying despite all that has happened the band will keep on endlessly rocking, and thank heavens for that!

Overall 'Vapor Trails' is certainly not half as bad as the critics attest. It is no masterpiece but at least it rocks and the lyrics are some of the best Peart has penned. 3 solid stars.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars After the horrible tragedies of Neil Peart losing both his wife and daughter within a year's time, RUSH was put on hold for a few years but after the dust settled they put out their 17th studio album VAPOR TRAILS. This album has been criticized for its horrendous production but I disagree with these critiques finding this "alternative" production to lend a totally different kind of sound for RUSH that has that loud distorted 90s feel to it. This album seems like it should have been released after "Counterparts" (thereby skipping "Test For Echo") because it rather continues the same sound, feel and songwriting. Unfortunately it also continues the now too frequent tradition of one good side and a second side that just painfully goes on too long. In fact it probably would have been better to take side one of "Counterparts" and combine it with side one of this album to make a really good album.

Once again, I was expecting more from this one. After the life changing events that took place it seems like they would have made more of an impact on this music this time around, but VAPOR TRAILS doesn't sound significantly different than the other tepid outputs of the 90s, however, the first side is fairly interesting and it is an album that does make it into the player now and again unlike some of their absolute weakest members of their discography.

Review by Necrotica
4 stars To say the mid-to-late 90s were not very kind to Rush is quite the understatement. First there was 1996's Test for Echo, which was widely regarded as one of the band's biggest disappointments with the critics and the fanbase; then there was the infamous car accident that killed Neil Peart's daughter and the battle with cancer that his wife lost. Any of this would have been good reasoning to retire and call it a day... hell, he actually DID tell his bandmates he was retiring around that time. But was this the true end for Rush and Neil Peart's careers? Nope! Instead, Peart decided to take a lengthy sabbatical throughout North and Central America to reflect and mourn what events had transpired. After writing a book about his travels, he decided to remarry and then tell his bandmates that he was finally ready to return to the fold. What came of all this was Vapor Trails, a great comeback album that displays the band in top form again.

Don't get me wrong, however; it's still not the perfect comeback a lot of people were clamoring for. The most common criticism of Vapor Trails is a pretty well-founded one, and that's the record's mix. It's easy to conclude that the record was a victim of the loudness war, which was becoming more frequent around the 2000s; because of this, there's a bit too much loudness and compression permeating the whole thing. Luckily, this doesn't do much to lessen the impact of the songwriting because of how strong these tunes are from the get-go. One listen to the opening number "One Little Victory" can tell you that this isn't synth-era Rush anymore. Instead, we're given some of the beefiest and most metal-oriented guitar lines Alex Lifeson's ever played, highly overdubbed and layered bass lines courtesy of Geddy Lee, and the most inspired lyrics and drum work from Neil Peart in over a decade. It's really great to hear Rush go back to a more traditional sound again, and Vapor Trails represents sort of a mixture of all their eras into one. "One Little Victory" has a more modern progressive rock/metal sound to fit the 2000s, the motifs of "Ghost Rider" and the title track sound like something that could come out of their Roll the Bones days, and the more prominently displayed virtuosity on this album recalls their more complex 70s and early 80s material like A Farewell to Kings or Hemispheres.

But what pushes Vapor Trails over the edge is just how damn inspired the whole thing sounds. This is not only a reinvention of the band, but it feels like one. A lot of this comes from Peart, whose lyrics on this are probably the most personal and hard-hitting the band have ever had in their career (alongside Clockwork Angels, I'd say). Also, as I mentioned, this album can be really hard-hitting and heavy for Rush standards, especially "One Little Victory," "Peaceable Kingdom," and "Secret Touch." The latter is especially notable for its heavy syncopated main riff which is perfect for some headbanging; what I'm saying is that these tend to be some pretty metal songs, which is something that Rush would continue for the next two albums. But the intensity levels are never excessive, and the band usually know when to scale things back and focus on a more layered or subdued musical environment. One of the best traits of Rush has always been how the three musicians blend their instruments together and sound like a cohesive unit despite such complex pieces, and Vapor Trails is no exception to this. It also helps that Geddy Lee's vocals are quite varied on the album, able to fit whichever mood the song has created with ease. In fact, he can still hit some pretty damn high notes despite his age around this time, especially that one note he sustains near the end of "Peaceable Kingdom."

Vapor Trails is no classic, but it's a substantial improvement over Test for Echo and probably the band's best work since Power Windows. Despite the weird production (which has thankfully been improved in the 2013 remix) and being a bit too lengthy (over an hour long), this is a great display of Rush being reborn for the new decade. Musically, it makes enough nods to their past while remaining firmly in the present, with a great variety of lyrical and musical concepts to reflect this. All of this leads to my final words: thank you for rejoining the band, Neil Peart.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars 'Vapor Trails' is an interesting anomaly in Rush's catalog. After a long hiatus during which the members of the band were each suffering personal issues, especially Neal Peart, the band got back together with Geddy and Alex jamming out ideas while Neal worked separately writing lyrics. This was a fairly typical way for Rush to work, and once everyone had enough ideas, they would all get together to work them out. It was decided that the band would not use keyboards in this album, which is actually the first time they did this since 'Caress of Steel' which was the band's 3rd studio album. This was not such a bad thing, and even Alex's decision not to do any guitar solos was not a bad thing, because the music that they ended up with was good. The problem was that production is terrible on the album because of the recording.

Rush was not happy with the sound on this album, even though they did love the songs. As Peart said, the recording, which concentrated on making everything louder, took away all dynamics and nuances of the music. What you end up with is a very clinical sounding album with a lack of much emotion.

I agree that the songs themselves are great, at least for the most part, but they sound tinny and too much alike. I also miss the occasional keyboard and Alex's usual solos. The lyrics are also amazing, some of Neal's most personal lyrics. Song structure is good, musicianship is great as always, but one of the most important things is missing from the original recording, and that is any variety and any emotion. I completely agree that the fault lies mostly with the bad production, it is quite obvious when compared with other Rush releases.

I never bothered to listen to the remixed version of this album so I can't say for certain that it made things better, but I can imagine it did. Some day, I will listen, but it's difficult to return to an album where you have had bad listening experiences previously. There are, of course decent songs here like 'Peaceable Kingdom' and 'Ghost Rider' but the cheap sounding recording, which was recorded way too loud creating distortion and destroying dynamics, make the overall experience of this album a negative one. Without hearing the remixed album, I would recommend listening to that, because it definitely can't be worse than this, by any means. I wish I would have heard it that way first, because it makes it difficult to want to listen to it again. I can at least give it 3 stars based on everything else though. I'm sure it would have gotten at least 4 stars otherwise.

Latest members reviews

2 stars Rush returned to the studio in early 2001, and in contrast to their usual speedy recording process, it took them nearly a year to finish this release. The result was 2002's Vapor Trails. Vapor Trails was distinct from Rush's preceding albums in that it wholly lacked keyboards?the first time this occ ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904248) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Monday, April 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rush - Vapor Trails After being on hiatus since 'Test for Echo', Rush came out with my favorite Rush album. Seeing as Peart lost his wife and daughter during Rush's hiatus, it makes sense that Vapor Trails is one of Rush's darkest albums. This is no light and uplifting album, this is a dark a ... (read more)

Report this review (#1351832) | Posted by Pastmaster | Friday, January 23, 2015 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Vapor Trails Remixed is beautiful. The new mixing imposes new magic to hear this album, that it was always underestimated. Now it's enjoyable to listen to, understand and highlight each song, for example, the song One Little Victory. Early on, the bass and drums of this song were once a kitchen ful ... (read more)

Report this review (#1090880) | Posted by Gabimm | Monday, December 16, 2013 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In my view, Rush is one of the best-preserved prog dinosaurs, consistently releasing new material into their fifth decade with basically no-change line-up. At the same time, its clear that their creative years are behind them. For those new listeners who started with their best work and moved on ... (read more)

Report this review (#1081871) | Posted by Progrussia | Tuesday, November 26, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A six year wait for this album since the last one - was it worth it? Peart had come through a very torrid period relating to life and was now ready to continue with the band and with the music. Again the band use the harder rock approach on this album. Highlights for me here are "One Little Vi ... (read more)

Report this review (#940449) | Posted by sukmytoe | Sunday, April 7, 2013 | Review Permanlink

1 stars I honestly have no idea what the band was thinking when releasing this album. This is so far removed from the Rush of the late 70's and early 80's it might as well be a different band. The heavier, almost alternative rock approach does nothing for me. The songs are not very good at all. But this is ... (read more)

Report this review (#771356) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Rush seems to have moved into a new direction with Vapor Trails, and it's at least interesting enough for Rush fans, and probably even enough to win over some new ones, although it doesn't represent their sound in general. The songs are more insular than usual, and will probably require a goo ... (read more)

Report this review (#640471) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Friday, February 24, 2012 | Review Permanlink

2 stars It took me the longest time to get into this album, perhaps longer than any other Rush album, with perhaps the sole exception of Grace Under Pressure - which never grew on me. Musically, it's not very inspiring, not too many solos, it has the feel of a 'rush'ed job in the studio. There are a h ... (read more)

Report this review (#586931) | Posted by Vaz | Monday, December 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars In 1997, Neil Peart suffered a terrible tragedy that threaten not only his life but the life of the band but after 5 years of healing, he was ready to go again. With Vapor Trails Rush came back with a new heaviness not found on Counterparts but they really deliver in some anger and rage courtesy ... (read more)

Report this review (#463627) | Posted by criticdrummer94 | Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I think that this is tricky one to review. I think that musically, this is Rush's best album since Signals (excepting the delightful aberration known as Counterparts). I can tell you why I think that, and I think the arguments are convincing. But, it sure is hard to get past the sound of the albu ... (read more)

Report this review (#437673) | Posted by Guitarnoize | Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I cannot describe my feelings about receiving the news of a new album from Rush, after the weak Test For Echo and the strong personal problems that evolved Neil Peart. I was really fearing a new miss, but what we got is a good album that makes us say that this IS the real Rush we love ! Whe ... (read more)

Report this review (#437423) | Posted by Antonio Giacomin | Friday, April 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars VAPOR TRAILS presents a rejuvenated RUSH, pumping out songs that are simultaneously layered, heavy, proggy, and groove-heavy, shedding all of the lyrical awkwardness from their 90s albums and featuring porribly their most unique package of songs in their oeuvre. Why the low rating, then? The ma ... (read more)

Report this review (#409679) | Posted by Gorloche | Tuesday, March 1, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars in 1996, Rush released Test For Echo album and this album was released in 2002. its a six year gap for music. i wasn't really much of a fan of the Test For Echo album, but there were some great on the Test For Echo album. the songs that i liked on the Test For Echo album were Test For Echo, D ... (read more)

Report this review (#289678) | Posted by DiehardTheRushFan | Thursday, July 8, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars I have not yet determined if I like the newer "noiser" Rush. There seems to be a very jagged, hard, and unrefined sound to VAPOR TRAILS, and I think I sort of like it. But too much just gets on my nerves. "One Little Victory", "Ghost Rider" and "How It Is" are 3 songs I particularly like on VAPOR ... (read more)

Report this review (#271085) | Posted by mohaveman | Wednesday, March 10, 2010 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Wow, what a comeback. Rush came from one of their worst albums, then a terrible hiatus (sorry Mr. Peart) and then this! Though the production gets in the way heavily, I still can manage to get this album a decent review because the music overall is very good. The guys are playing better tha ... (read more)

Report this review (#247847) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Monday, November 2, 2009 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The big comeback This was the album I never thought would be released. Rush had closed down and Geddy Lee released his own album. The whole story is described very movingly and brilliantly in the Rush biography. But Rush returned for some rehearsals and then; for the comeback of the century. Th ... (read more)

Report this review (#189501) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Sunday, November 16, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars With all that had happened in the 6 years since the absymal Test For Echo (Neil losing both his daughter and wife and taking 3 year sabbatical) I was enthused to hear Rush returning to release new music. I was also enthused to hear they were embracing a harder, more urgent sound. And frankly VT ... (read more)

Report this review (#174727) | Posted by MrMan2000 | Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Ok...forget the synths. Forget the leads. Forget a glossy production. Forget a crisp, clear, clean mix. Forget, for that matter, everything (EVERYTHING) you ever (thought you) knew about Rush. This is Rush bigger, rawer, nastier and gritter, stripped down and wicked for a new era. I, f ... (read more)

Report this review (#172523) | Posted by nahnite | Thursday, May 29, 2008 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Ok, I'm giving them 2 stars because of their skill in each instrument. But I've never expected such a boring album, from my teenage heroes. I guess the last album that I really did enjoy from them was Roll The Bones, from then on, they ran out of ideas, and I don't really know how can this be cal ... (read more)

Report this review (#167499) | Posted by exagerardo | Tuesday, April 15, 2008 | Review Permanlink

1 stars Yet another "blah" sounding album by Rush in their late decline. This is not a particularly bad album but it is probably the worst album they've ever made. Yes, it is even worse than Test for Echo, at least that album sounded unique in a sense, but this one sounds alternative or something of the s ... (read more)

Report this review (#155873) | Posted by Draith | Tuesday, December 18, 2007 | Review Permanlink

Post a review of RUSH "Vapor Trails"

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

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.