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Rush - Grace Under Pressure CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.69 | 1121 ratings

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3 stars The natural successor to the excellent Signals album, and with a new producer in tow, the feel of its predecessor is continued, albeit with a far darker and almost at times apocalyptic tone. The album is, by far, the most political they had written and recorded, and is, largely, none the worse for that.

There are some genuine Rush classics on this album. The opener, Distant Early Warning, positively rips its way into your consciousness. The following track, Afterimage, manages the fusion of powerful synth lead with a resurgent Lifeson lead guitar, and this is followed up beautifully and powerfully with the timeless Red Sector A. Lifeson sets the tone from the outset with one of his best signatures in the band's long and glorious history, and it is a signature that more than amply backs up the doom laden, painful concentration camp inspired lyrics sung effectively by Lee, heavy synths in tow. Lyrically and musically, one of the finest tracks the band ever recorded.

The Body Electric is a great singalong piece with its 1001001 chorus, and more rather bleak lyrics dealing with technology taking over our lives and society. The opening drum roll is classic Peart, and, lyrically, it is as interesting as anything he produced during the bands "genuine" sci fi phase, and fans of that period would probably berate me for stating that, musically, this track has worn a lot better in hindsight over the years.

The closer, and, incidentally, the longest track on the album at 5:44, Between The Wheels, is a fine way to end the album and, more than anything, realises in glorious sound just how much Alex Lifeson had reconciled himself to the direction the band were taking. His solo is awesome, and the track's strength lies in its simplicity.

Not all of it, though, could be described as classic. The final part of Fear (by this I mean in recording sequence, as it is actually part one lyrically), The Enemy Within, is an experimental track with an almost reggae feel to it in parts, and it does not really work, as well performed as it is. Kid Gloves sounds as if it was thrown onto the album as an afterthought, is messy, and utterly out of phase with all else present. Very much a throwaway track. Even that, though, shines in comparison to Red Lenses, which is such a hotchpotch that it is virtually impossible to describe. The nearest I could state is that it sounds as if all three band members had an individual jam, and the results were thrown together onto the mixing desk after a particularly drunken session.

Rush do not make bad albums. This, to me, though, is probably the weakest of the sequence which had its roots in Permanent Waves, and, as such, deserves a solid three stars. A good album, but one that hinted at the need for a further reinvention in the future.

lazland | 3/5 |


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