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Rush - Snakes & Arrows CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.57 | 963 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!

The decidedly tireless trio is now back after a three years silence, interrupted only with the cover album Feedback, Rush comes back with their stronger albums over the last two decades (at least, but I'm not that familiar with some of their albums) and it came at a point when the band seemed more content on living on their own heritage and legend (DVD's, live albums, world tours etc..), but this fear is now history! Fear and angst is exactly what this album is about: Peart's lyrics seem to make a constant theme over the whole album (wouldn't call this a concept album, though) and Lifeson is the unsung hero and loads the album with acoustic guitars. With a related artwork depicting a gloomy world full of dangers and destructions, until the prophetic and hope- filled end of We Hold On (where you see the skies of the futures clearing away), it only serves the themes

Starting on the very strong Far Cry (almost bringing us back to Waves) and its failed expectations message is one of the album's highlights. The next Armour And Sword follows suit and delivers a message of fanatism used as weapons, but we are more in the Signals realm, musically speaking. While Angels and its follow-up Larger Bowl are both acoustically-driven, they are uneven and present a shallower depth on the album's overall tenure, the later being an obvious reef in the album's smooth sailing. The album experiences a second wind with the very good but dark Spindrift, which is of the opening Far Cry's stature. But the main bravado piece is the excellent Main Monkey Business instrumental bringing us to MP's YYZ track, but fails to better its model.

Unfortunately after the bluesy and overlong Wind Blows (still catchy, though) and the short acoustic guitar instrumental Hope, S&A seems to drift a little too easily in a less-inspired vein, with three below-par tracks (for S&A, but they would be highlights on many other albums of theirs): Faithless is a tired reflection on religions and the tired music fits it quite well, while Bravest Face is the low point on the album (just saved by its chorus), and Good News First is anything but that, really!! By this time, the listener is K-O from the sheer mass of noise and even if Malignant Narcissism is a fiery instrumental, again in the YYZ vein, it comes simply after the overdose set in! The closing We Hold On is another track that could've sat on Pictures or Signals, but it is too late, this listener has hung up!

I can fully agree with my buddy Tony Riviere that this album is certainly Rush's best in the last 25 years and even up to Moving Pictures, but it is a far cry from that landmark as well! I certainly wouldn't call this essential, unless you feel like owning one album per decade from a classic band. Had this album an epic track on it, it could've even bettered some of their early works. Had this album had three songs less (from 10-12), it might have been less watered down!! But let's not nitpick, there are some really good moments on this album that can occasionally bring you back to the trio's heyday glories, but this is far from often, though! A good album that shows Rush still has some spunk left.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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