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Rush - Grace Under Pressure CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.69 | 1104 ratings

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4 stars One of the great things about Rush is that they make music that can also be appreciated by deaf people. It's true, you can totally imagine what the music will sound like just by looking at the band pictures on the album sleeves. Take those long hairs, capes and moustaches of Hemispheres and 2112, you can simply hear prog rock symphonies and shrieking guitar solos. In similar manner you hear no-nonse new wave from the 1984 look that Rush had adapted here.

This change in sound had began with Permanent Waves and reached it's final form here. The next Rush album Power Windows added some more layers of synths but that didn't make it more 'new wave' for me, but rather neo-prog, as it cast away some of the bleakness and grimness that prevails here.

For many, the change in sound was hard to stomach and the more synths Geddy added to his collection, the more fans left with bewildered looks and desperate sighs. Though I am not much of a fan of synths in rock music, I've always enjoyed the move Rush made in the 80's. They sound very much at easy in the shorter rock song format and especially on this album, the synths are very successful, adding a cold and bleak ambience to Rush's usual upbeat sound.

Most songs on this album are excellent, Afterimage particularly is very moving and boast one of the most enjoyable synths on any Rush album. Together with Red Sector A, the song contains synth bass parts in stead of Geddy's usual frenetic bass guitar. It's very effective and a nice change to their usual approach. Other tracks like Distant Early Warning and The Enemy Within have a more regular bass+guitar+drum sound.

As a teenager I didn't like side B of the album. It has grown well on me since then. The Body Electric is another excellent new wave track where Neil Peart experiments with his usual drum sound and plays more percussive. Kid Gloves is possibly Rush's most ear-friendly track, despite its unusual time signature. It's the first Rush track where I hear such clear influence of The Edge on Lifeson. Red Lenses is probably no one's favourite, with its funky vibe, the strange percussive sounds and the synth part around minute 2 that almost sounds like Siouxsie's Hong Kong Garden. It's quite fun and groovy really. Between The Wheels ends the album with a big epic gesture and will please most fans.

Grace Under Pressure is another excellent album and an important step in the continuing evolution of Rush's sound. It's quite unique and sounds like no other Rush album.

Not recommended for people with 80's phobia though.

Bonnek | 4/5 |


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