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RUSH

Heavy Prog • Canada


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Rush biography
RUSH are a pioneering line-up of Seventies Progressive rock, who influenced many Prog, hard-rock and heavy metal bands. This Canadian band is composed of bassist, singer and keyboard player Geddy LEE, guitarist Alex LIFESON and renowned drummer Neil PEART. In 1974 John RUTSEY was replaced by Peart who also assumed the role of the band's primary songwriter. Acclaimed for their instrumental virtuosity, their lyrics and longevity, throughout their 40+ year career they've proved to be the masters of their respective instruments while creating challenging yet popular music. They have the record for the third most consecutive gold or platinum albums for a band on the US album chart behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Now, a brief summary of the band's career ...
Through the history of RUSH, they have passed through many distinct phases. Every one of these phases represents a triumph in music, allowing the band to move on. As at the end of all of RUSH's phases, a live LP was released. This tradition began with "All The World's A Stage", recorded live at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada. Since then, the group has released three additional live albums: the best selling "Exit... Stage Left" (1981), "A Show of Hands" (1989), and the three-disc set "Different Stages" (1998), which encompasses three decades of the group's music.

FIRST PHASE (1974-1976):
In the beginning, they started off as hard rock blues outfit with John-boy before he left and Neil came in, bringing his sci-fi mind into the works. The music seems to be a transition between straight-ahead rock tunes and more complex progressive tracks. "Caress of Steel" is a landmark album in the history of RUSH. Lyrically and musically, "2112" was a masterpiece. This multi-platinum release remains one of RUSH's best-selling albums.

SECOND PHASE (1977-1981):
They moved headlong into progressive rock in the later part of the decade, starting with the album previous and right on to their massive breakthrough, 1981's "Moving Pictures". Synthesizers were now employed by the band, played in the studio and on stage by Geddy. This was the end of transition from long epic pieces to shorter, more concise, and intricate songs. "Permanent Waves" is widely considered to be second only to "Moving Pictures" as RUSH's finest achievement.

THIRD PHASE (1982-1989):
RUSH embraced the 1980s sound...
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A Farewell To Kings [LP]A Farewell To Kings [LP]
Mercury 2015
Vinyl$18.97
$21.19 (used)
Fly By Night (Remastered)Fly By Night (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.34
$1.99 (used)
2112 [LP]2112 [LP]
Mercury 2015
Vinyl$21.74
$17.59 (used)
Moving Pictures [Remastered]Moving Pictures [Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.99
$0.29 (used)
Permanent Waves (Remastered)Permanent Waves (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$1.65
$1.04 (used)
Snakes & ArrowsSnakes & Arrows
Atlantic 2007
Audio CD$1.86
$0.81 (used)
Hemispheres [LP]Hemispheres [LP]
Mercury 2015
Vinyl$23.99
$14.99 (used)
The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987
Remastered
Mercury 2003
Audio CD$4.33
$1.31 (used)
Signals (Remastered)Signals (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.22
$0.98 (used)
Hold Your Fire (Remastered)Hold Your Fire (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$1.77
$1.76 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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RUSH The Story Of Kings Rare 1992 UK limited edition Interview PICTURE DISC CD USD $4.95 Buy It Now 41m 20s
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Original Motion Picture Soundtrack (Eric Clapton) - Rush (CD 1994) USD $7.54 Buy It Now 1h 32m
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RUSH 'SIGNALS' 1982 STEREO LP EX/G+ USD $9.06 [0 bids]
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Rush [LP] Permanent Waves *NM // VG+* [Mobile Fidelity; MFSL 1-302] Half-Speed USD $84.99 Buy It Now 4h 25m
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RUSH shows & tickets


  • Rush: R40 Live 40th Anniversary Tour on 10 May 2015
  • R40 on 12 May 2015
  • Rush on 14 May 2015
  • Rush at Austin360 Amphitheater, Austin on 16 May 2015
  • Rush at American Airlines Center, Dallas on 18 May 2015
  • R40 on 20 May 2015
  • R40 Live on 24 May 2015
  • R40 Live on 26 May 2015
  • Rush: R40 Live 40th Anniversary Tour on 28 May 2015
  • R40 LIVE 40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR on 30 May 2015
  • R40 on 8 Jun 2015
  • R40 Live on 12 Jun 2015
  • R40 Live on 14 Jun 2015
  • R40 Live on 17 Jun 2015
  • R40 Live on 19 Jun 2015
  • Rush at Centre Bell, Quebec on 21 Jun 2015
  • R40 Live Tour on 23 Jun 2015
  • Rush at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia on 25 Jun 2015
  • Rush at Prudential Center, Newark on 27 Jun 2015
  • Rush at Madison Square Garden, New York on 29 Jun 2015
  • Rush at Sprint Center, Kansas City MO on 9 Jul 2015
  • Rush at Pepsi Center, Denver on 11 Jul 2015
  • R40 Live 40th Anniversary Tour at Maverik Center on 13 Jul 2015
  • R40 Live on 15 Jul 2015
  • Rush at Rogers Arena, Vancouver on 17 Jul 2015
  • Rush at Key Arena, Seattle on 19 Jul 2015
  • R40 LIVE 40TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR on 21 Jul 2015
  • Rush: R40 Live Tour 2015 on 23 Jul 2015
  • Rush at US Airways Center, Phoenix on 27 Jul 2015
  • Rush at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater / Irvine Meadows Amphitheatre, Irvine on 30 Jul 2015

RUSH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RUSH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.89 | 821 ratings
Rush
1974
3.32 | 908 ratings
Fly By Night
1975
3.52 | 986 ratings
Caress of Steel
1975
4.09 | 1597 ratings
2112
1976
4.35 | 1664 ratings
A Farewell To Kings
1977
4.37 | 1787 ratings
Hemispheres
1978
4.30 | 1546 ratings
Permanent Waves
1980
4.40 | 2118 ratings
Moving Pictures
1981
3.95 | 1008 ratings
Signals
1982
3.69 | 890 ratings
Grace Under Pressure
1984
3.53 | 774 ratings
Power Windows
1985
3.28 | 706 ratings
Hold Your Fire
1987
3.14 | 650 ratings
Presto
1989
3.07 | 668 ratings
Roll The Bones
1991
3.76 | 716 ratings
Counterparts
1993
2.84 | 657 ratings
Test For Echo
1996
3.43 | 682 ratings
Vapor Trails
2002
3.59 | 771 ratings
Snakes & Arrows
2007
3.96 | 836 ratings
Clockwork Angels
2012

RUSH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.85 | 352 ratings
All The World's A Stage
1976
4.03 | 447 ratings
Exit... Stage Left
1981
3.47 | 327 ratings
A Show Of Hands
1989
4.37 | 316 ratings
Different Stages - Live
1998
3.78 | 281 ratings
Rush - In Rio
2003
4.17 | 149 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
3.57 | 189 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
3.95 | 139 ratings
Grace Under Pressure 1984 Tour
2009
3.56 | 49 ratings
ABC 1974
2011
3.31 | 123 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.28 | 46 ratings
Moving Pictures: Live 2011
2011
3.96 | 55 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013

RUSH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.94 | 110 ratings
Exit... Stage Left (VHS)
1981
3.34 | 33 ratings
Through The Camera Eye
1984
3.98 | 98 ratings
Grace Under Pressure Tour (DVD)
1985
3.99 | 91 ratings
A Show of Hands
1989
2.92 | 67 ratings
Chronicles
1990
4.33 | 229 ratings
Rush in Rio
2003
4.40 | 228 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
4.03 | 119 ratings
Replay x 3
2006
4.12 | 130 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
2.70 | 37 ratings
Working Men
2009
4.66 | 235 ratings
Beyond the Lighted Stage
2010
4.11 | 60 ratings
Classic Albums: 2112 - Moving Pictures
2010
3.86 | 84 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.83 | 36 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013

RUSH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.41 | 53 ratings
Archives
1978
2.72 | 24 ratings
Through Time
1978
3.59 | 89 ratings
Chronicles
1991
3.27 | 59 ratings
Retrospective I (1974-1980)
1997
3.15 | 56 ratings
Retrospective II (1981-1987)
1997
3.11 | 72 ratings
The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987)
2003
3.10 | 48 ratings
Gold
2006
2.84 | 44 ratings
Retrospective III 1989 - 2008
2009
2.75 | 38 ratings
Working Men
2009
1.83 | 26 ratings
Time Stand Still: The Collection
2010
2.34 | 26 ratings
Icon
2010
4.19 | 30 ratings
Sector 1
2011
4.56 | 33 ratings
Sector 2
2011
4.63 | 34 ratings
Sector 3
2011
3.50 | 4 ratings
Icon 2
2011
4.09 | 16 ratings
The Studio Albums 1989-2007
2013

RUSH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 35 ratings
Not Fade Away
1973
2.75 | 23 ratings
Finding My Way
1974
1.15 | 4 ratings
In The Mood
1974
3.00 | 23 ratings
Fly by Night
1975
3.00 | 24 ratings
The Twilight Zone
1976
3.47 | 31 ratings
2112: Overture/The Temples of Syrinx
1976
3.61 | 31 ratings
Closer to The Heart
1977
2.26 | 18 ratings
Everything Your Listeners Wanted To Hear By Rush... But Were Afraid To Play
1977
3.19 | 7 ratings
The Trees
1978
4.06 | 42 ratings
The Spirit of Radio
1980
2.72 | 38 ratings
Entre Nous
1980
3.90 | 45 ratings
Tom Sawyer
1981
3.83 | 6 ratings
Tom Sawyer / A Passage To Bangkok / Red Barchetta
1981
3.00 | 4 ratings
Vital Signs / Passage To Bangkok / Circumstances / In The Mood
1981
4.00 | 4 ratings
Subdivisions
1982
2.00 | 1 ratings
Countdown
1982
3.11 | 33 ratings
New World Man
1982
3.00 | 2 ratings
The Body Electric
1984
3.48 | 31 ratings
Distant Early Warning
1984
3.01 | 32 ratings
The Big Money
1986
2.00 | 1 ratings
The Pass
1989
2.71 | 15 ratings
Ghost of a chance
1992
1.86 | 18 ratings
The Story Of Kings
1992
2.90 | 20 ratings
Stick It Out
1993
3.35 | 24 ratings
One Little Victory
2002
2.82 | 178 ratings
Feedback
2004
3.47 | 35 ratings
Far Cry
2007
4.08 | 122 ratings
Caravan / BU2B
2010
3.57 | 70 ratings
Headlong Flight
2012
3.00 | 2 ratings
7 and 7 is
2014

RUSH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grace Under Pressure by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.69 | 890 ratings

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Grace Under Pressure
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by steelyhead

3 stars Of course I am a Rush fan and I NEED to have everything on my CD list and I have been reading some bad reviews about this outing. First things first: this is not their best material, but It is far form the worst Test for Echo. The main thing here is the usage of keyboards, they are everywhere, and sometimes the music is drowned, but beneath this the story is good and the drumming is superb, maybe one of the best from the master. So, try this one on a rainy day, I use It to jog and I, for one, find It excellent to listen while I see birds in the sky. Life is good. 3 and a half stars rounded down for the keyboards.

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 Grace Under Pressure by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.69 | 890 ratings

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Grace Under Pressure
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After initially being disappointed with the sound of the album "Signals", I hoped that the old Rush was back with this album, but once again I was disappointed. At that point, I figured the old days of Rush were gone and I was unwilling to move on like Rush did. But I would always love their harder and heavier (and proggier) albums from before. It was quite a while before I started really listening to the Rush from the 80s, but now at least I enjoy some of their music from that decade. You do have to admit, that out of all the 70s bands trying to cross into the 80s, many of them didn't do so well and sounded even older and more dated than they would if they hadn't tried to change their sound. Rush was one band that made the cross over quite well, and survived it without hardly scratch, and they actually didn't sound dated, just different.

With Grace Under Pressure being the 2nd album after the big change, Rush had decided to go with a new producer. They also kept the emphasis on keyboards, but they did at least bring more of a guitar sound back to the forefront than they did with Signals. But the guitar sound was more 80s sounding and the hard sound was turned into more of a "Police" mentality in that it was more of a support for the vocals. The new production pushed back the sound of any particular instrument standing out or emphasized, yes even the vocals in my opinion. The lyrics were still top notch, but the overall delivery of vocals and instruments were evened out and this made everything more flat and similar sounding, as a result, not many of the songs stood out much either. You can listen to a Rush album from this decade and not remember anything about it which is completely opposite of how it was before.

After becoming more accustomed to the songs on this album, I can now say that there are a few that stand out more than others, but it took a long time for that to happen for me. For every good song, there are a few mediocre songs. For every "Distant Early Warning" there is a "The Enemy Within" and a "Between the Wheels"...one that was good and two that were nothing special. On this album, Rush also took to experimenting with sounds that were new to them like Ska/Reggae or Funk. Now, there is nothing wrong with that, it's just that at this point, there wasn't much to distinguish the different sound because, again, nothing stood out. So these new forays into new sound still sounded too much like the song before it. You had to listen really close to even realize they were doing something different from the track before it.

After listening to the 80s albums a little closer, this one comes out of the decade as not the worst of the decade, but not even close to any of the best from the decade before....it's just slightly better than average because of a few good tracks. It's not quite good enough to give 4 stars to, but it's still better than average, so it comes out of it with 3 and a half stars, but I can't bring myself to like it enough to round it up , so 3 stars it is. Besides, the description really fits this one anyway, Good, but non-essential. A little better than average, but not much.

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 Clockwork Angels Tour by RUSH album cover Live, 2013
3.96 | 55 ratings

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Clockwork Angels Tour
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by ProgShine
Collaborator Errors & Omissions Team

3 stars I am a big (not to say huge) Rush fan, I own almost all of their releases, saw them live and keep following what they do. But, I must say that it's very, very sad to hear all this great music that Rush has in its back catalogue for the thousandth time live since 1997 (this is the sixth live release since then against 3 studio albums in the same time) and even more so it's really sad when you hear how bad Geddy Lee is singing.

I am one of those guys that always fought back when people accused him of having a horrible voice, because I always thought he has an amazing powerfull voice. So it's really sad when you hear him suffering so much and even going out of tune to reach notes that he would hit so easily in the past.

It's particular bad in tracks like 'Far Cry' (one of my favorite from the band), where his voice is REALLY bad.

To be very honest the material played in this 3 hours set is, as always with Rush, superb! They play if flawlessly as always. But I'm really surprised that they keep releasing live stuff as it is now. Sure, play concerts, people still want to see you live but do not release every single tour as it has been since 2002. To be honest, I'm not even sure if they hear the tapes before releasing them... because I have the impression that if they did, they would not put this album out...

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 Fly By Night by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.32 | 908 ratings

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Fly By Night
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rush's 2nd full album effort in my opinion is their weakest from all of their earlier albums from their debut album up to "Moving Pictures". Granted, Rush was working hard to find their sound, and they do move a little bit away from their straightforward Rock sound of the debut album towards a Hard Progressive sound, but they don't quite nail it down very well. To me, "Caress of Steel", their next album does a much better job of expanding their sound than this one does. I know that probably contradicts what most people say, but, I love "Caress of Steel" even if it is a little disjointed and "Fly By Night" to me is rather substandard in comparison. It even sounds more like a 1st album than the debut album does.

There are a few great songs here at least that hold their own when compared to the best Rush songs, namely "Anthem", "Best I Can" and the multi-movement epic "By-tor and the Snow Dog" and these songs throw the most light on the greatness that was to come later, but the rest of the album seems to sag. Most of the 2nd side of the album is much softer and sounds like an attempt to be radio friendly. Of course, this made the title track accessible and has become one of the band's most famous songs, but it pales in comparison to Rush's usual output. The usual emotion and energy of Rush's music is missing and this creates a weak album.

I can't rate this as a 1 star because it's not a poor album. The 3 strong songs here make it a good album, but just don't expect a lot out of it and you may find it somewhat enjoyable at least. Nothing really makes this essential though when compared to the greatest Rush albums. So, it squeaks by with a 3 star rating because of the excellence of 3 tracks and a very cool looking album cover.

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 Subdivisions by RUSH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1982
4.00 | 4 ratings

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Subdivisions
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

4 stars When I was twelve, Signals was one of the vinyls (owned by my big brother) that I got interested in, thus being not only my introduction to RUSH but also among a handful of albums to shape my music taste. Naturally Signals is still among my dearest in the Rush catalogue. 'Subdivisions' is its first track and the very central role of synthesizers comes clear right away. Some Rush fans may despise their 80's synth period, but I like it much more than the more recent, synthless Heavy Prog Rush. This song isn't really either heavy or prog, you could even say it's pop. But it's just fantastic. The lyrics deal with social pressures especially among young people; "be cool or be cast out". In the album the melody, or the synth riff, reappears in the final song 'Countdown' which is also great.

On the B-side there's 'Red Barchetta' from the succesful album Moving Pictures (1981). Peart was inspired by a futuristic short story "A Nice Morning Drive", by Richard Foster (originally published in 1973 in a magazine) and he attempted to contact the author with no results. BTW the two finally met in 2007. Anyway, the lyrics describe how the protagonist and his uncle take the Red Barchetta - a roofless sports car - out of the barn and enjoy the ride with it. I hadn't paid close enough attention to the lyrics to spot the little details hinting at the Science Fiction aspect, until a friend told me how he has used the song on his English lessons. But there are several words to mark the differences to the present time. The broad air-car is left behind by driving over a narrow bridge!

Great songs both, but also both from great albums, which means this is not a 5-star single.

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 Moving Pictures by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.40 | 2118 ratings

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Moving Pictures
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by maryes

5 stars If you read my review about "A Farewell to Kings" (review #1126496 posted Sunday, February 02, 2014 ) where I write "If you ask for prog rock fans - "What is the best RUSH album ? " The majority of them will answer to you : "Moving Pictures !!!". I respect this opinion, but, I disagree.... my top RUSH album is "A Farewell To Kings"- you can think which I treated "Moving Pictures" with disdain... on the contrary... I think in this album like a final chapter of a perfect cycle of four sequent studio albums.The side 1 of vinyl edition is simply perfect starting by "Tom Sawyer" a progressive/hard/heavy simple melody crowned by an "broken" riff in a way which only this guys can make! The "Red Barcheta"s introduction with guitar harmonics and bass guitar lines are simply "priceless"... YYZ is a instrumental theme where the band can expose again their incredible virtuosity ... broken beats, sinuous bass/guitar melody and guitar solo majestically finished in duo with keyboards. "Limelight" is a wonderful progressive hard/ballad rock . In the side 2 Rush starts their path in direction of a more simple form of progressive ( without leave aside their refined "trade mark"... ) ,"The Camera Eye" bnrings a almost space-prog atmosphere with great vocals moments . "The Witch Hunt" is a hard/symphonic prog with very heavy guitar chord progression. "Vital signs" are the most clear example of a more simple but refined melody and shows the course which Rush' music will follow. My rate is 5 stars !!!

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 Feedback by RUSH album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
2.82 | 178 ratings

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Feedback
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars 30 years after releasing their first album, instead of releasing an overly expensive box set, Rush releases an inexpensive EP full of covers that were influences on their music that you could almost imagine them singing and playing in their pre album days. Rush doesn't try to make any of these songs progressive and don't try to upstage any of the songs either. But, they are presented quite hard which is what you would expect from Rush. What they ended up with is a nice collection of songs that the band shows their utmost respect for.

I was afraid when I first saw this album and thought surely Rush has not slipped to the same level as other mature bands that can only make it off of covers nowadays. But, thankfully that wasn't the case. Curiosity made me buy this one, but enjoyment of the covers made me keep it around. No there is not anything spectacular here, and that is quite okay because it is enough just to hear their treatment of these classics. The best covers here are "Summertime Blues" which actually gives the song the kick it always asked for, "Mr. Soul" which actually does make an old favorite of mine even better (and the riff is so much better pronounced in their cover), "Seven and Seven is" is so much better modernized in this version and of course "Crossroads" is made into a great Rush song and is probably the closest thing to Rush's debut album than anything they have done since.

Nope, there is no prog rock here. Just great covers of songs that have been given all the respect they deserve. I'm glad this on is only 27 minutes, it is the perfect time for a cover album of this type. No it's not essential, but it is a lot of fun anyway. 3 stars.

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 A Farewell To Kings by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.35 | 1664 ratings

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A Farewell To Kings
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars If I were to say anything about this album, it would only be a repeat of what has already been said. This is Rush at their peak and at their best. This is where synthesizers started to enter the mix, but they were so well orchestrated and melded into the formula Rush had developed, that no one complained. They had their place in the sound and they improved on the sound, so keyboards belonged. Other than that, the songs became more complicated as far as orchestration among the 3 musicians in the band. How in the world could 3 musicians make such full and satisfying music? They did it and they did it better than most.

This album is a masterpiece. There is nothing wrong with this album. "Xanadu" was unbelievable, an epic of majesty and wonder. Cygnus X-1 was a dynamic masterpiece. Even the shorter songs were excellent. Rush's most famous song "Closer to the Heart" is the weakest song on here and yet it was their most. famous. song. What does that say about the rest of the album?

There really isn't anything that I can add that hasn't already been said. I love this album. It was my 2nd Rush album after 2112, and after hearing the greatness of 2112, I instantly went out and bought this one. I thought I had discovered the most amazing music ever recorded. This was the kind of music I wanted to make. Little did I know at the time that Rush was being discovered by music lovers everywhere at the same time. Within weeks, everyone knew who they were and I was high riding the wave of their popularity, discovering a band right when they exploded into the spotlight.

I listen to this and marvel at what their recording sessions must have been like. Surely, they were excited at what was coming together here. This music is genius. It is a perfect example of what progressive music should be. That's all I'm going to say about it because I'm only going to end up repeating all that has been said. If you haven't heard this yet, then all I can do is ask, Why?

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 Fly By Night by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.32 | 908 ratings

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Fly By Night
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by FragileKings
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rush's second album, "Fly By Night" is similar in a way to Judas Priest's "Sad Wings of Destiny" and Metallica's "Ride the Lightning". All three albums were sophomore releases that included the final pieces of material written with founding members who had since departed. Judas Priest included some final bits of material written by Al Atkins; Metallica included some parts claimed by Dave Mustaine; and Rush included a last couple of songs written when former drummer John Rutsey was in the band. Yet while the efforts of Judas Priest and Metallica would go on to have profound impacts on the growth and development of heavy metal, Rush's impact on metal and prog would not leave a huge impression until two albums later with "2112".

Rush's eponymous debut was a good solid hard rock album with some wonderful heavy guitar work. With Neil Peart now on board not only providing an added dimension to the drums but also lyrically taking the band in more intellectual directions, Rush released for their second album a tight rocker with budding progressive tendencies. With songs like "Anthem", and "Beneath, Between & Behind" the band was raising the bar for fast- paced heavy rockers with a higher degree of complexity. Conversely, "Best that I Can", "Making Memories" and "In the End" still sound like the old Rush of a few months prior with "Making Memories" featuring some slide guitar and acoustic guitar that remind me of Nazareth.

The title track was a song I heard frequently on the classic rock radio station along with "In the Mood" and "Closer to the Heart" but none of those songs ever impressed me. Now I really enjoy this song about Peart's time he spent in the U.K. becoming disappointed with the reality of the music business. The guitar solo is a classic seventies rock guitar showcase, and Alex Lifeson, in an interview a couple of years back, listed this among his top ten favourite solos that he has ever played.

The song that was really intended to make headway into prog territory was the mini-epic, "By-Tor and the Snow Dog", a multi-part narrative about two arch enemies who encounter each other and commence battle. The song describes the events that lead up to the battle which is then played out with Lifeson's guitar playing Snow Dog and Geddy Lee's bass growling as By-Tor. The battle is ferocious but at one point it seems Snow Dog might be defeated. The music becomes sparse while little chimes tinkle like ice crystals. We came imagine the two combatants bloodied and out of breath, By-Tor perhaps looking on as Snow Dog seems worse for wear and potentially defeated. But the music returns to power as the Snow Dog does likewise and at last Snow Dog is victorious while By-Tor flees.

The one odd track on this album and indeed one of the oddest in Rush's catalogue is "Rivendell". Featuring only acoustic guitar, soft electric guitar notes, and Lee's voice, the song relates the comfort and joy of staying in Rivendell from Tolkein's "The Hobbit" and "Lord of the Rings".

This is still Rush in their first phase, the seventies hard rock one. Though they began experimenting with more progressive approaches to writing music, this was only their first step. Nevertheless, this album walks with a foot firmly planted on each side, one in the heavy rock of the mid-seventies and one in heavy prog. A step up from the debut and looking strong.

As a prog album, good but not essential. As a rock album, excellent!

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 Snakes & Arrows by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.59 | 771 ratings

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Snakes & Arrows
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Pastmaster

5 stars Rush-Snakes & Arrows

Following the darker mood and atmosphere of their previous album, Rush released their follow-up album five years later. With Rush taking long breaks in-between albums, expectations may get rather high. Don't expect the same thing as 'Vapor Trails' though, because Rush never remains the same with their recent releases.

The music differs from 'Vapor Trails', with Snakes & Arrows having more of a variety between heavy rocking tracks and softer acoustic moments. You have, as always, the heavy opener 'Far Cry' with driving guitar riffs, which is probably my favorite song on the album. From haunting yet still heavy tracks like 'Armour & Sword' and 'Faithless' to a great bluesy 'The Way the Wind Blows' and a great finale 'We Hold On', Snakes & Arrows never fails to captivate me.

Unlike other albums, 'Snakes & Arrows' is filled with unique instrumentals. You have an experimental jam 'The Main Monkey Business' with heavy guitar, nice acoustics, space-like sounds, and an ambient guitar solo. The 2nd instrumental 'Hope' is a short but sweet acoustic song. Nothing but acoustic guitar, it's a really unique folk-like song. The 3rd and final instrumental is 'Malignant Narcissism', a heavy track with strong bass. Hard for me not to tap my foot to this song, with the driving bass riffs.

The lyrics are dark, like the previous album. There is a less raw and dark sound to the songs though, making them feel a little more uplifting. Certain songs are in fact empowering, like the closer 'We Hold On' which gives the feeling of hope and is combined with great heavy guitar. The instrumentals, having no lyrics, have to let the music speak. The song 'Hope' is, not surprisingly, relaxing, but the other two are heavy and haunting.

If you are one of the people who didn't like the production on 'Vapor Trails', You'll enjoy the loud powerful production 'Snakes & Arrows' has. Production for me sets a certain atmosphere for an album, and that's why I enjoyed the production for 'Vapor Trails'. For 'Snakes & Arrows' the production fits with matching the powerful riffing, vocals, and drumming.

Overall, 'Snakes & Arrows' is another flawless album in my opinion. It's less raw then 'Vapor Trails', but it doesn't remove the rock and dark mood. It's certainly essential if you enjoy Rush's present century releases.

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Thanks to Tony R for the artist addition.

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