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Rush - Permanent Waves CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.28 | 2123 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Permanent Waves' - Rush (9/10)

'Permanent Waves' represents a new stage in the band's development. Musically, the prog was starting to be melded with a new, more commercial approach. It is through this move that Rush experienced it's most commercially acclaimed period. 'Hemispheres' was obviously going to be a hard effort to top, but Rush was able to put together a record that while not beating it's predecessor, harbours a quality and flavour of it's own.

The record starts with one of Rush's most well-known and radio played pieces, 'The Spirit Of Radio.' The guitar work for the signature riff of this song is intense, and is very hard to play. There is prog to be had here, but unlike 'Hemispheres,' which was content to go on along with it's long song lengths and comparatively uncommercial approach, there's also an optimistic radio-friendly sound on here... An AOR sound that helped Rush to become as popular and influential as they are. While commercialism generally is frowned upon (especially by prog audiences) there's no fault here, and it's done in such a way where it only makes the music more listenable.

'Permanent Waves' is an easier album to simply sit down and enjoy, as opposed to '2112' or 'Hemispheres,' which needs a bit of audience participation and attention to really appreciate. It's music that can be played while driving, or while working out. There's good energy here (for the most part, songs like 'Different Strings' convey a more balladesque style.) The 'epic' 'Natural Science' unfortunately is probably the weakest epic Rush ever composed. Taken into consideration though is the fact that the song was written and arranged in a relatively short time (less than a week.) The production and sound effects on the song are very cool, such as the vocal effects towards the middle of the song. 'Natural Science' also has a strange evocation of progressive metal, despite the fact that the genre itself didn't come into major play until ten years later. The 'intense' part of the song sounds like a very fitting precursor to Dream Theater. If you listen to it, you'll know what I mean.

'Permanent Waves' is worthy of five stars, but not an essential masterpiece of progressive music. Despite some very great songs, it has a comparatively less-strong middle section. A great prequel to the band's masterpiece however, 'Moving Pictures.' This album comes highly recommended, even if it's not as highly recommended as the masterworks.

Conor Fynes | 5/5 |


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