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Rush - Grace Under Pressure CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.69 | 1121 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl Team
4 stars In a way, this is an even better album than its predecessor, "Signals" - perhaps less accessible and definitely darker from a lyrical point of view, but containing a few real gems. The synths are still there (as they will be until the end of the '80s), as are the influences from reggae and new wave - something which irritates many fans of the band's heavier days, though, in my very humble opinion, it enriches and adds interest to their already stunning songwriting. Fortunately, chart-friendly numbers as the awful (sorry!) "New World Man" are absent from this album.

Geddy's steady improvement as a vocalist is evident from the opening "Distant Early Warning", one on the band's undisputed classics, with a definite reggae tinge and apocalytptic lyrics about the possibility of a nuclear holocaust - a constant presence in the 1980s. Geddy's vocals are distinctly lower-pitched, therefore more menacing and suited to the bleak subject matter. Another standout track is "Red Sector A", inspired by Geddy Lee's mother's experience in Nazi concentration camps. Lifeson's guitar really comes into its own on this intense, majestic song, backed by Peart's almost- military drumming. In fact, he uses electronic drums quite a lot, which lend their distinctive metallic sound to the overall feel of the album. The slow, brooding "Between the Wheels" (recently reintroduced by the band in their setlist for their R30 tour), driven along by Lee's pulsating synth riffs and showcasing Lifeson's atmospheric, emotional guitar playing, closes the album in style.

The other tracks are solid, if less memorable than these three. However, the overall result is an excellent, though somehow bleak and disturbing album, proving Rush's ability to change with the times (even at the risk of alienating some hard-core, long- time fans) and incorporate disparate influences in their output. "Grace Under Pressure" may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it's undeniably progressive. Highly recommended - at least to those who keep an open mind.

Raff | 4/5 |


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