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Rush - Vapor Trails CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.42 | 815 ratings

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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.

TCat | 3/5 |


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