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Rush Hold Your Fire album cover
3.27 | 1036 ratings | 85 reviews | 12% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1987

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Force Ten (4:31)
2. Time Stand Still (5:08)
3. Open Secrets (5:37)
4. Second Nature (4:36)
5. Prime Mover (5:18)
6. Lock and Key (5:09)
7. Mission (5:15)
8. Turn the Page (4:55)
9. Tai Shan (4:15)
10. High Water (5:33)

Total Time 50:17

Line-up / Musicians

- Alex Lifeson / electric & acoustic guitars
- Geddy Lee / basses, bass pedals, synthesizers, vocals
- Neil Peart / drums, acoustic & electronic percussion

- Aimee Mann / additional vocals (2)
- Andy Richards / keyboards, synth programming
- Jim Burgess / synth programming
- William Faerey Engineering Brass Band / brass ensemble
- Andrew Jackman / brass arranger & conductor
- Steven Margoshes / strings arranger & conductor
- Peter Collins / co-arranger, co-producer

Releases information

Artwork: Hugh Syme with Glen Wexler (photo)

LP Anthem Records ‎- ANR-1-1051 (1987, Canada)

CD Anthem Records ‎- VANK-1051 (1987, Canada)
CD Anthem Records ‎- ANMD 1086 (1997, Canada) Remastered by Bob Ludwig & Brian Lee

FLAC (2015, Ponomusic) Hi Res download in 48kHz/24bit lossless files from remaster by Sean Magee

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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RUSH Hold Your Fire ratings distribution

(1036 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(12%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(31%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

RUSH Hold Your Fire reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sean Trane
2 stars This one I found slighttly better then the previous four , but I was too busy discovering other things to really care . But I did keep track of their records and kept on listening to their album at least once , which was not the case with with other bands in dire times (Kansas?).

I cannot help the feeling everytime I see this album in stores to think that all Rush albums past Signals are just albums made as business-as-usual and are pretty much run-of-the-mill stuff , and this album is no exception to this first hour fan.

Clearly the 80's were troubled times for prog fans even if some of the pioneers were doing better than ever financially. But Yes, Genesis and Rush , if commercially successful and still dishing out poppier (and more commercial) tunes than at their early stages, they could never accused of playing it safe.

Review by chessman
4 stars This is a continuation of where Power Windows left off. The songs are on the same level, the production is of the same class, and the whole package is comparable. No weak tracks here either. Even the track Alex himself isn't keen on, Tai Shan, is very enjoyable and melodic. The opener, Force Ten, is a good guide to what you will get on the rest of the album. A fine piece of music. Second Nature is another highlight. Mission is another excellent track, and, ending the album, High Water is very evocative of primeval soup syndrome. Another album worth purchasing. In the old gun to the head scenario though, I would still place Power Windows higher.
Review by greenback
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Everything here has declinegd a bit in terms of performance and inspiration. Fortunately, it is still very good. No doubt, it sounds like "Power Windows", but Geddy Lee took it easy on the bass, focusing more on the keyboards. the bass is still very good, but it was outstanding on the previous album. The keyboards are more varied than on "Power Windows", but I prefer the ones on this previous album. Lifeson still makes pretty good solos here, but his rythmic sometimes seems to be less impressive. We feel Neil Peart is not at his best on drums.
Review by daveconn
3 stars I'm not certain "Hold Your Fire" is a concept album, but here's my take on things. Using the four elements (fire, water, earth, air) as imagery, RUSH tells the story of a pilgrim who searches to find the calm and understanding human being trapped beneath the surface storm of negative emotions. The "story" (as it were) alternates between the present journey and past recollections, finally achieving peace on "Tai Shan" and returning to the water of our origin on "High Water." Maybe that's stretching things a bit, but the good news is even without a uniting concept the songs on "Hold Your Fire" hold their own. In fact, the opening combination of "Force Ten" and "Time Stands Still" is probably their best stage entrance since "Moving Pictures". Add great standalone songs like "Prime Mover" and "Turn The Page" (which appear at well-placed intervals to shake the listener from potential apathy), and the sum total may edge out "Grace Under Pressure" and "Power Windows". Purists will note that RUSH still leans heavily on synthetic sounds, which diminishes the effect of their technical brilliance, but it's unfair to expect the trio to discard a style that they've obviously embraced and made work for them.

I'd stop short of calling this a great album, since too many critics have championed any one of their post-Pictures albums as the Dauphin in the discography, but I can see where folks would warm up to this more than their last two efforts.

Review by Menswear
3 stars Not essential on your Rush collection, but it has it's moments. To fully enjoy the complexity of Hold Your Fire, it's better to watch A Show of Hands. To me, Hold Your Fire is the top in efforts and musicianship in Rush history. Geddy uses his bass in a poppy and rapid way (Force Ten, Turn The Page, Time Stand Still). Lifeson has his moments too. But seems to be more on the background side this time. Peart is flamboyant. Most of the songs are a total work-out of technique and quickness. My hat to Peart, top of your drumming in this tour-de-force that is Hold your Fire. And it shows in the Tour video (Rythm method). Force Ten, Mission, Turn the Page and the very surprisingly catchy Point Mover, are lots of tracks that makes your feet stomp. Most of the songs of the albums are forgotten, by fans and maybe even by the boys themselves! The 80's feel is there, but 1988 was a new debut in rock. 1988 is a very decent year if your album's been produced in that period. It would be unfair to say that Hold your Fire is a bad album. Only girl-commercial-oriented. Technology in concerts and studios gave a crystal-clear sound and immaculate production. Remember in 1988 was also the release of Depeche Mode 101 with amazing sound and producted with advanced savoir-faire! Well, Rush always beneficied of the latest technology, studio or concert and it shows in here. Catchy tunes for almost every track, a lighter sound maybe more targetted to neo-prog fans that (unfortunately), can't get enough of Marillon.
Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars I liked some songs on this album very much, though I'm not a big fan of the musical style it represents. Maybe this partly makes it as an exotic album for me then? There's an extremely powerful feeling pulsing from the music, and one either likes it or hates it. Though the songs are quite accessible, they have complex musical parts in them, and the compositions have been done with a style. I would recommend listening this album, but the purchasing decision should be done after it's clear if this kind of music is pleasing or annoying. My favorite songs from this are "Force Ten", "Time Stand Still", "Open Secrets", "Mission" and "Turn The Page".
Review by erik neuteboom
2 stars My attitude on this site is to emphasize the good and interesting progrock instead of writing negative reviews about bands, artist and albums I dislike. But at some moments I feel an urge to push away this attitude. This time I would like to give my opinion about this album that is rated between 1 and 5 stars, room for discussion! I'm a hugh Rush fan and follow them from their album "A farewell to kings" until .. indeed, this album. I bought it, played it a few times and then sold it for a few bugs, what a disappointing Rush effort! To me Rush had lost control over their MIDI-controlled high-tec music, resulting in a over- produced and too clinical sound, far away from the exciting and compelling mid-Rush era featuring albums like "Moving pictures". I simply don't understand that progheads give 5 stars to this album but on the other hand, music is a matter of taste ...
Review by Cygnus X-2
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars My least favorite Rush album, and it deserves rightly so. The group was heavily into the pop/synth realm by the time this album was released. The musicianship is there, but the tracks go from mediocre and lame. It seems that they were losing their creative juices. Thankfully, they would get out of this rut, and create good follow ups. Geddy's bass work had gotten more simple during the synth years, and this is the apex of that era, his keyboard work had now become a very prominent feature. Lifeson, as always, is at the top of his game, creating catchy riffs and intricate solos to compliment the keyboards and bass. Neil Peart, on the other hand, had it musically, creating precision beats and rhythms, but his lyrics on this album are so mediocre.

The only song I can really recommend off of this album is the opener Force Ten, which features the best lyrics of the album, great synth work, and a great guitar solo. Musically, Mission and Turn the Page are among the best 80's Rush works available, but they are marred by lame lyrics.

Overall, this is a mediocre album by such a great band. Thankfully, Presto would begin their ascent from this rut. I find it hard to enjoy this album, and I think the general progressive fan would think the same. As much a fan of Rush I am, I can only give this a 2/5.

Review by The Crow
5 stars This is the best Rush's album I've heard! Every song included here touches my heart every time I listen this disc. The bass lines of Geddy are amazing! Prime Mover has one of the best bass playing I've heard!

The Neil's sound in drums it's also great, like in the beginning of Force Ten. It's obvious that Mike Portnoy has listened it! And I love the Alex's playing here too, like the beauty guitars of Tai Shan... This records really rocks!

Time Stand Still, Mission, High Water... What a collection of wonderful songs! I absolutely recommend this masterpiece to every good music's lover.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rush's "Hold Your Fire" is not my favourite Rush album but I still consider this as a good oneto have. "Time Stand Still" lyrics convey a message that is very meaningful even though musically is not something stand out with respect to my taste. Eeach track on the album has become interesting if it's repeated many spins. As usual, Neil Peart's lyrics are rich and full of meaning.

Hold Your Fire is not as powerful as "Moving Pictures" was, of course. Keyboards are still a strong element in Rush's music as it started being heavier since "Signals". Electronic drums have become obvious of Peart's arsenal, no more so than in the explosive opening notes of the above mentioned "Force Ten," which kicks off the album. Thing that the group does not want to compromise is the arrangements by which they still don't want to write simple ones. Each song is still distinctive from one to another so you don't get bored with the flow. The band has progressed in its true meaning by which they keep pushing their limits more and more beyond their boundary and did not want to live in the past with their glory hits.

Overall it's a good album even though you have to work hard forgetting their past and tune your mind into this new music direction of Rush. The sonic quality is excellent with Peter Collins and Rush as the producers. Keep on proggin' ..!

Review by Marc Baum
4 stars This may be Rush’s most synth-laden album, but it is still of excellent quality. One of the major complaints I have heard about Rush’s synth era is that Alex Lifeson had less to do. That’s not entirely true. Sure, he doesn’t play blazing leads or crunching riffs as he did in the early days, but he does play some excellent rhythm guitar during this era. Even still, a lot of his best solos were done through this time period so it’s not like he abandoned them all together. Don’t expect to hear classic progressive rock/metal when playing this album. It's definitely softer, but the depth of the music is great.

The opening track, "Force Ten", rocks the hardest here. The bass line is phenomenal, and overall the synth does not strike me as being as cheesy as it was in the past. "Time Stand Still" is probably the most ‘pop’ song here, but at least the lyrics are strong. It’s about wanting to slow down time to enjoy life a little longer. "Prime Mover" has yet another excellent bass line. I really wish more bands would use leading bass line like Geddy Lee does instead of just playing root notes. My favorite of the album is "Mission". It’s got inspirational lyrics about sticking to your dreams and goals in life, and it has great instrumental section near the end. A powerful guitar solo finishes off the track, and I think it’s one of Lifeson’s best.

I have spoken mostly about Geddy and Alex, but what about drum god Neil Peart? He’s not all over his drum kit like in the past, however he used electronic drums and percussion here, so his creativity is still evident. HYF has some of his best lyric writing as well. "Force Ten", "Mission", "Open Secrets", and pretty much every other track has well written lyrics. I’m not sure if there is an overall theme to the album, but a lot of the tracks have inspirational lyrics.

There are some weaker tracks here though. I’m not a big fan of the closing track, "High Water"; it just doesn’t come off as epic as a closing track should. Mission probably would have worked as a better closing song. "Tai Shan" is average but ok, as long as you don’t expect a usual Rush song. It’s mostly synth and mandolin, but no drums. It has grown on me with several listenings.

In my oppinion, "Hold Your Fire" marks the peak of Rush's synth-era in the 80's. Here it seems definitely matured in comparison with their previous album and works pretty well. Don't let the confusing low ratings fool you, this is one of the better Rush albums after their golden 70's era. Probably no comparison with the mighty Moving Pictures but definitely on par between Signals and Grace Under Pressure.

album rating: 8.5/10 points = 83 % on MPV scale = 4/5 stars

point-system: 0 - 3 points = 1 star / 3.5 - 5.5 points = 2 stars / 6 - 7 points = 3 stars / 7.5 - 8.5 points = 4 stars / 9 - 10 points = 5 stars

Review by 1800iareyay
2 stars The late 70s and all of the 80s were dark times for the 70s prog giants. Rush's fate is no different than that of Yes, Genesis, and ELP with the exception that Rush still released a good song here and there. Hold Your Fire isn't Rush worst, but it's not very good, either.

Force Ten and Time Stand Still are very strong songs that are prime 3rd era Rush. The former's drum and bass rythm and the latter's thoughtful lyrics show the band still has some zazz. Geddy shines on this album on songs like Turn the Page, Prime Mover, Force Ten, and Mission. This is one of his best albums in terms of bass. However, the rest of the band fails to impress.

This isn't a total disaster, but fans of the synth driven Rush should stick to Grace Under Pressure and Signals. Peart's use of electronic drums isn't as inventive as Bill Bruford's use on 80s era Crimson. However, he never fails to assert his skills. Alex keeps getting less and less time due to the dominance of the synth.

Fans of Rush might like this album, but this doesn't hold a candle to the 70s output. Bass fanatics would do well to check out this album, as Geddy is very strong here.

Grade: D+

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars They thank the Steve Morse Band in the liner notes (Steve is such a good guitarist), but where did the guitarist for RUSH go ? I know he's on here, especially during the opener "Force Ten" where his guitar is heard throughout, and after that he closes out "Mission" with some nice solos. He also gives us a solo on "Turn The Page". It's just that RUSH has turned into a synth driven band with Neil playing electronic percussion making it obvious to all who listen to it that this is an eighties album. I think you could say this is a soft album, with lyrics that are positive (dwelling on how good we humans are), and influenced I believe greatly by Neil's visit to the Orient. There is a spiritual or mystic vibe especially on "Tai Shan" an uplifting song.

I do have a secret love for "Time Stand Still" with TIL' TUESDAY's Aimee Mann providing some nice added vocals. It's the lyrics on this song that are so meaningful and Geddy's vocals seem to fit perfectly with the music. "Open Secrets" is about relationships. "Second Nature" is an optimistic tune. "Prime Mover" features some good bass lines from Lee."Lock And Key" has too many keys. "Mission" is one of the better songs here.

I took an informal poll at the "Vapor Trails" RUSH concert in Toronto asking people which RUSH album was their favourite. The only surprise to me was how many times this record was mentioned. One guy said this record helped him get through a very difficult period of his life. And I can see how "Hold Your Fire" could do that, it's the power of music. And although the power in RUSH seems all but gone at this point it's not. It's just making itself known in a different way.

Review by Prog Leviathan
3 stars "Hold Your Fire" changes focus a bit and looses a bit of steam when compared to Rush's previous two albums. At this point, the band feels like they are less concerned with experimentation, instead concentrating on writing songs that really try to reach people (this being far and away Rush's most political album) or sound nice. Unfortunately, there is very little serious rocking being done here.

With the exception of the first two tracks (which truly are awesome), the band is much more tame and mature, with Geddy's voice sounding mellow and stable and their collective playing coming across as very cool and precise. There aren't any songs here that will leave you breathless (even if you sing along!), and there are actually some you might want to skip ("Tai Shen" and "High Water" anyone?). There are even a few slow ones!

That being said, the songs themselves are much more adult than what we've seen before, with Peart's rhyming sometimes sounding acrobatic-- but always serious. And while "Force Ten" rocks with the best of them, the rest just don't generate the same excitement as before. A good album for fans, but not a one for beginners.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: 3 Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

Review by b_olariu
4 stars I'm not totaly agree with others reviewers that Hold your fire is a bad album, maybe less inspiring than the early works, but times changed and Rush realy knew how to evolve in prog and in music in general . The good music is present all over the album, and i can't understand what is so bad on this album in comparation with Power windows or Presto, witch i find them less enjoyble. No doubt, it sounds like "Power Windows", but Geddy Lee took it easy on the bass, focusing more on the keyboards. With all that i find Hold your fire a 4 star album, and to me is the second best in the '80 after Moving pictures, and among the best Rush albums. Forte tracks all but with plus on Open secrets and lock and key. 4 stars for Hold your fire. This one is on top 5 albums of Rush.
Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Rush ends the tough 80s on a high note.

Though it may not be their best album, this is definately an album that is highly underrated and outspoken. Granted, it is very much more poppy than Rush's previous work, but it still has a very experimental side that is what has always kept the band pressing foreward. Continuing with a sound reminecent of "Power Windows", Hold your Fire is a rollercoaster of midpaced, slow, and all around dark-to-bright songs. But, as with all Rush albums, that normal heavyness is still around, but now in a different form.

Great right from the start, FORCE TEN is a noteable track with a very prog feel, from the echo of Neil's intro drums you're blasted with a kind of transformed sonic force that the band is used to dishing out. Other tracks on the album have this same effect, LOCK AND KEY is a great (lost) Rush song dominated by Geddy's haunting vocals and synthesizers. As for the more midpaced tracks, PRIME MOVER is definately the best, offering a great mini-pseudo-epic that is more soft sounding than some of the other material on the album. MISSION follows in suit, another great track, which is amazing live, especially on the recent Snakes & Arrows tour. The album slows down a bit in some parts, TIME STAND STILL is a great, well done pop song (and no, that's not Geddy, there's a woman performing on the track with them), SECOND NATURE is a bit weaker, but is good none the less.

A couple of songs that seem to have a sound unique to this album give off mixed vibes. As far as the good vibes go, TURN THE PAGE is a great, quick, Rush song, also great live ("Show of Hands" 1988). HIGH WATER is also a great track, as Rush never seem to disappoint with album codas. Where the album seems go lose my attention a bit is the almost cliche TAI SHAN. While this song has that unique sound of the album it's a bit of a let down. A bit on the slow side for my liking, this is also a track that I (as stated before) find a bit cliche, with having some typical oriental flutes grace the track, which isn't a bad thing, if done propperly, and this is not. The track does feature some relaxing vocals and lyrics, but this album would ahve been better with another song in it's place.

This is an album I used to have mixed feelings about, at first it was my least favorite of the Rush discography, but after it stagnated on the shelf for some time it seemed to have aged well, and when I got around to giving it a second chance it quickly became (and remains) one of my favorite Rush albums after the classic era. Definately Rush's best after Signals and before Counterparts. 3.5 stars, great album, but not essential to those looking to avoid 80s prog.

Review by Todd
4 stars While not their best album, this is certainly a worthy effort. There is more emphasis on melody, and the positive feel of the album is prominent. The synthesizers are perhaps overdone to the exclusion of the guitar at times, but overall this is an album that returns to my playlist more often than other late Rush albums. Chances are this will be not the first foray into Rush, and it is not representative of their other work. But once the other albums are explored, give this one a spin.
Review by Gooner
4 stars _Hold Your Fire_ is probably Rush's most exotic sounding album full of nuances and intricacies. Cartaily their most mature offering. Repeated listens find you hearing something new every time(not unlike listening to Gentle Giant's 2nd through 7th albums). This is probably their most ethereal album - Alex Lifeson at times soundling like Terje Rypdal in the solo department. Rush has never recorded a more _wordly_ sounding track than TAI SHAN - which to my ears sounds like their stab at _World Music_. I wish for Rush to explore this area once again. _Mission_ is another Rush classic(so much so...they dug it up and play it on their Sankes & Arrows Tour - a real crowd pleaser).
Review by SouthSideoftheSky
2 stars Tough times demand tough songs

After they reached rock bottom with the abysmal Power Windows album, Rush finally managed to break out of the downward spiral they found themselves in after Moving Pictures and release their best album since Signals in Hold Your Fire. The band is once again more inspired here than in several years and the songs are generally quite strong in comparison with other post-Moving Pictures Rush albums. As far as Prog goes, however, it should simply not be expected here. The band's Prog-phase was since long over at this point in time. The turn towards shorter and more conventional compositions and more polished and radio friendly production can be traced as far back as Permanent Waves at the dawn of the 80's and it reached its culmination in the mid 80's with albums like Grace Under Pressure, Power Windows and the present one. Of these three, I personally like this one the best.

Hold Your Fire consists of 10 tracks, all of them between four and six minutes in length and mostly quite similar to each other in mood and tempo. Two exceptions are the World-Music/Chinese-influenced ballad Tai Shan and the closer High Water, both on which Geddy Lee hands in some of his best vocal performances ever! Some unusual - for this band - elements are featured on this album such as electronic percussion, female backing vocals, string arrangements and even a brass section. Several guests appear on the album, which is also unusual for Rush. However, the presence of these "alien" musical elements are mostly very discrete. The production is very much of its time, corporate and a bit "plastic" (like Yes' Big Generator album from the same year, for example).

A decent album that is recommended to the band's many fans and collectors, but not for Prog fans in general

Review by UMUR
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hold Your Fire is the twelfh full-lenght studio album by Canadian progressive rock act Rush. It´s one of the first albums from the band that I listened to when I was younger. My interest was ignited when I listend to the song Prime Mover on a heavy metal compilation album I got for my ( I think) fourteenth birthsday. So there among songs from bands like Motörhead, Megadeth and Acid Reign was something completely different and allthough I was intrigued it wasn´t until maybe five or six years later that I remembered that song and purchased the album.

The music on Hold Your Fire is Rush as we know them from the eighties. Lots of synth, sophisticated drumming, powerful and melodic basslines, beautiful open guitar chords and great solos and to top it off Geddy Lee´s easily recognizable and distinct vocals. There are many great songs on the album like Lock and Key, Turn the Page and Prime Mover which has always been one of my favorites from the band. It´s not an album with any songs below standard, but on the other hand there are flaws that means that the album isn´t really excellent either. First of all Rush do go a bit overboard with the excessive use of synth on the album. It´s not always tasteful and some of the songs suffer because of it. The songwriting isn´t the most compositionally intriguing either but then again it´s been like this for a couple of albums by now so no big surprise there. But besides those minor flaws Hold Your Fire is a good album IMO.

The musicianship is of course outstanding. Rush is probably the best power trio in the world. Three guys creating this much sound is simply amazing.

The production is the most high end eighties sound that Rush would ever have and some are totally put of by this. I kind of like the production, but understand the critics.

Hold Your Fire is a special album to me as it is one of the first Rush albums that I discovered and because Prime Mover is one of my all-time favorite tracks from the band. But my overall rating will still only be 3 stars as not all songs are of this high quality. Hold Your Fire is Good but only occasionally excellent.

Review by Conor Fynes
4 stars 'Hold Your Fire' - Rush (7/10)

I've found every Rush album to peak in it's enjoyment after a few listens. After maybe five listens, I'll be able to decide whether or not I love it or not. 'Hold Your Fire' however was an exception to that rule. At first, I found it too mellow and boring. But being it a release from one of my favourite bands, I forced myself to keep listening to it until I at least found something to enjoy about it. As I became more familiar with the music, I allowed myself to let the sounds wash over me, and to interpret the lyrics as they naturally came to me. I found myself pleasantly suprised at the result, which was a state of real enjoyment and liking for this album.

This is the most laid back and symphonic effort from Rush. The guitars do not play a huge role in here; instead making way for Geddy's keyboards and voice to lead the way. This isn't a hard rock album. This isn't even really such a prog album...

...But is there emotion? Yes. Is there intelligence? Yes. Do I find myself moved by it? I would certainly have to say so.

This is music that might take a bit more time to get into than most Rush fans are used to. The symphonic influence here is very profound. I'm sure if this was an album by a Symphonic band like Genesis or Yes, people would warm up to it more, because that's what they're expecting from a band like that. I suppose this release is progressive, if you take into consideration that although Rush is traditionally a heavy prog band, they were willing to explore symphonic rock and take risks. And isn't that what prog is all about?

This is an album with a toned down, yet very optimistic sound to it. It's music to listen to when feeling down and stressed; a piece of music to unwind to. That's what it was intended to be, and that's what it should be taken for.

Review by progaardvark
COLLABORATOR Crossover/Symphonic/RPI Teams
2 stars After a stellar series of releases dating back to the mid-1970s, Rush finally wears itself out with their 1987 release of Hold Your Fire. With its lack of imagination for cover art comes 10 songs mostly lacking inspiration and any kind of kick to it. Sound-wise, Hold Your Fire is pretty much in the same vein as Power Windows, but whereas Power Windows had numerous standout tracks, Hold Your Fire seemed to have very little or any.

My first impressions of this album back when I purchased it in 1987 was Rush had gone pop. Well, considering what else was out in those days, this was far better than say Genesis' Invisible Touch, or Yes' Big Generator. But nonetheless, it was the most radio friendly album Rush had ever released. I have no idea if it was Rush themselves leaning towards this or their producer Peter Collins, who was well known in the pop world of the time. And what did it get them? Decreases in sales and possibly less radio play than they had before.

This may be the weakest album Rush had made up to this point in their discography. That certainly is debatable, but this isn't one that gets much play (if any in recent memory) in my CD player. If you're new to Rush, try getting something released before this, especially from their 1977-1981 period. If you like radio-friendly accessible prog (in the same league as Saga or even Asia), you might like this. Two stars.

Review by Nightfly
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Rush's 1981 album, Moving Pictures would be the last album they released until Counterparts in 1993 that I could say I thoroughly enjoyed. As a fan that had discovered them in the seventies it was with great disappointment that I watched them abandon their heavy rock/progressive early years and descend into more commercial and synth driven music, Alex Lifeson's excellent guitar work often sidelined. When he was to the fore it was with some weedy eighties processed sound replacing his powerful riffing. A run of six below par albums that caused me to just about give up on the band. Sure, they still managed to produce a handful of tracks on most albums that were worth listening to but very little, if anything that I found to be essential Rush. For me they hit rock bottom on Hold Your Fire in 1987.

Of course with a band of Rush's calibre the playing is never less than excellent but the music!!! On Hold Your Fire I can find nothing to lift this album out the depths of mediocrity. The production is terrible; a highly processed typical eighties sound, the type you'd more associate with pop at the time than a rock band. Lifeson's guitar is thin and weak, often overwhelmed by Geddy Lee's synths which took more and more of a front seat during this era. Neil Peart's drumming is a master class in precision, but lacks the excitement of earlier work and ditto Lee's bass playing.

Despite there being nothing particularly bad, I have to say there isn't really a single track that I like here. Ten tracks of commercial lightweight rock that leaves me totally uninspired to hit the play button again. The next two albums would show improvements but it wouldn't be until Counterparts that I could get excited about a Rush album again.

Review by Bonnek
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Hold Your Fire is the first Rush album that I find decidedly less then what preceded. It continues in the same vein as Power Windows but the usual high standards in song writing have declined.

The opener Force Ten is a strong, very dynamic, with a rocking drive, great vocal melodies and plenty of funky and new wave features. Time Stand Still however is probably the worst song I know from Rush, at least till this point in their discography. It is a weak radio-pop song with nothing of interest. Open Secrets is better, though it sounds like a leftover from Power Windows. The quality level keeps going up and down, Second Nature and Prime Mover have their moments of glory but also average radio-pop leanings.

The 'B-side' of the album is more consistent, Lock and Key, Mission and Turn the Page are vintage Rush tracks with great melodies, a very versatile Alex Lifeson and good bass slapping. Overall, I miss the usual prominent drum sound of Neil Peart on this album. His playing is very inspired but the sound of his kit is too thin. Thai Shan is a beautiful ballad and High Water tries to recreate the fabulous Mystic Rhythms from Power Windows, it's a good album closer again

HYF has plenty of 4 star material but is too uneven to be put on the same height of any of the 8 albums that preceded it. 3.5 stars

Review by lazland
4 stars Normally, I would state that the ratings for an album after a certain number of years and certainly numbers of reviews generally provide a prospective buyer with a fairly accurate guide as to the merits or otherwise of an album. Not, though, in this case.

Hold Your Fire is a 1987 release by the band who, by this time, has reinvented themselves as a powerful, and influential, heavy pop/prog outfit. It moves the band further in the direction provided by its predecessor, Power Windows, but is, to these ears, far better in terms of overall quality, production, band interplay, and lyrics.

It features, for the first time, Geddy Lee receiving assistance from a guest female vocalist in the shape of Aimee Mann on the wonderful, and extremely commercial, Time Stand Still, and the track rightly remains a great live favourite.

Elsewhere, there is not one weak track on the entire work, and, to give us all heart, some genuine Rush classics. There is the aforementioned Time Stands Still, and the stunning Mission, providing five minutes of extremely technical power rock and toe tapping joy. Absolutely to the fore are Geddy's keyboards and joyfully lilting vocals. This track is simply a pleasure from start to finish, and proved, as if they needed to prove such a thing, that it was entirely possible for a band to move with the sounds and attitudes of the time without once prejudicing the virtuosity that made them famous in the first place.

My personal favourite, though, is the wonderful, oriental world inspired, Tai Shan. Peart's lyrics tell a wonderful story of personal fulfilment in the ancient eastern world, and whilst Lee's keys and vocals are, again, very much to the fore (and soaring they are, too), I really admire and enjoy Alex Lifeson's deliciously understated guitar on this track. A great way to finish a great LP.

Elsewhere, there is not one weak link. Prime Mover perhaps comes closest from them to classic status, moving along at a cracking pace, and I still really enjoy the inventive drum loop that opens the album on Force Ten that leads into a massive statement of intent for what follows.

In closing, I would ask prospective buyers of this to ignore the comments in some previous reviews about the absence of Lifeson. It simply isn't true. For sure, this is an album very much synth led, but Lifeson contributes one hell of a lot as almost a rhythm guitarist, and Peart's drumming sounds as good as it always did. In other words, this is the sound of a band completely at ease with themselves and the direction in which they were heading.

Four stars for this, and a very strong four stars indeed. An excellent addition to any prog rock collection.

Review by Warthur
3 stars The whole of Rush's synth period took a good while to grow on me, and whilst Signals and Grace Under Pressure were able to win me over comparatively quickly, it's only lately that I've really warmed to Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, and Hold Your Fire is certainly the one I've warmed to least.

Power Windows was at the end of a day a solid album where it felt like they were beginning to repeat themselves as far as their post-Signals sound went, but they were still able to pull out a few more tricks here and there to keep things fresh. By comparison, Hold Your Fire comes across as a formulaic Rush-by-numbers album from their mid-1980s synthesiser era - and the fact that any Rush album could be called "formulaic" illustrates the magnitude of the problem.

It's still an entertaining enough release, but for the most part what's good about it is also what was good about the three previous studio albums - it's not bringing much new to the table which we haven't heard before. Some sections of Time Stand Still are downright repetitive - a word I'd never have applied to any prior Rush song.

At its best, Hold Your Fire manages to attain this chilly, cybernetic 1980s sheen, a combination of futuristic production methods and deft composition creating an icy, spacey aesthetic which feels very much of its era (in a good way). Then again, even that is something which they did better on Grace Under Pressure. It's good if you like Rush's synth phase - and I do - but probably the least of the studio albums from this era.

Review by Epignosis
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Hold Your Fire was my least liked Rush album for the longest time (of the ones I owned, anyway). I bought it used and sold it probably that same month. Only two songs moved me at the time, and they were "Time Stand Still" and "Open Secrets." The former I performed with a high school band, and the latter was just a tune I really dug during long drives to and from Georgia. The rest of the album disagreed with me and my distaste for 1980s synthesizers and drum tones. However, I have warmed up to it greatly. The melodies and lyrics are moving. There is a variety of tones in the guitar department, while the bass remains consistently "plunky." I love Presto, and it's nice to love the album that came two years before it; all but two songs have a resonant quality. And they're all so damn catchy; if one of these songs gets in my head, it's going to remain there for the better part of the day.

"Force Ten" After a solemn choir, the well-known 1980s Rush sound pours forth. An incredible series of vocal melodies over clever bass thumping provides a catchy introduction. I did not appreciate this track way back when, but now it has joined the next two as favorites on the album. It weaves between energetic and tranquil, but is wholly captivating throughout.

"Time Stand Still" As I mentioned earlier, this was a song our band performed at a gig for a high school function at a lovely ranch (we didn't think we were half bad and I guess neither did anybody else, but it'd be interesting to find the tape we recorded this performance on just to see how truly awful it was). In any event, it is a favorite 1980s Rush song of mine, with incredible melodies, powerful clean guitars and beautiful female vocals. Indeed, as one grows older, the lyrics prove more and more relevant. I was fifteen yesterday. My children will be grown tomorrow.

"Open Secrets" After a memorable bass riff and dynamic bit of drums, Lifeson offers a simple guitar lead introducing a thoroughly enjoyable vocal performance from Lee. The parts intertwine in an incredible way. Despite having that 1980s vibe, this piece could have belonged on Counterparts with its lyrics and Lifeson's guitar ripping through the piece here and there- an amazing Rush song.

"Second Nature" I suppose the phony piano textures here threw me off, because piano isn't an instrument one associates with Rush. However, I'm always happier for listening to this song- it has a pensive melody with an excellent chorus.

"Prime Mover" A decent 80s rocker in the Rush vein, "Prime Mover" never really moved me until recently. It is a solid song with Lee's excellent bursts of bass. "Anything can happen" indeed.

"Lock and Key" A grand synthetic opening begins this one, with an opening cry. The lyrics describe how anyone, even the most upright person, is capable of losing it and taking a life. The music is upbeat and occasionally grungy, delving into some screaming lead guitar work.

"Mission" Following a synthetic opening and a light vocal passage expressing the album title, the typical 1980s sound takes over, alternating with the airier part in half-time.

"Turn the Page" Well, I never cared for the hectic verses or rather callow lyrics of this song. It involves Rush's sound typical of this period, backed by organ. The shrieking lead guitar rips through a number of creative licks.

"Tai Shan" Rush explores an Oriental style here, offering peaceful music of synthesizer pads and shimmering electric guitar brushes.

"High Water" I consider this the second of two weak tracks. Unlike the previous songs ("Turn the Page" excepted), this one still hasn't caught on for me. The music is rather dull and uninspired. A pity an otherwise admirable pop rock album could not have ended on a high note.

Review by tarkus1980
2 stars The All-music Guide states that this album is "infinitely greater than the sum of its parts." Since my first listen, I've tended to think the opposite, that this album is much worse than its individual components, which overall aren't that impressive to begin with. I don't hate this anywhere near as much as I used to (I once would have given it *), but as you can see from the rating I still don't have many warm feelings towards it.

I have a lot of problems with all of the tracks on this album after the opener. My main issue is that most of the tracks, at their cores, are really generic, really dull adult-pop songs. When the songs are slow, they don't have strong, memorable melodies, and when they're fast, they don't have strong, memorable riffs. Plus, the album tries to pass itself off as a high-brow art-rock album, filled with grandiose synths and ridiculous lyrics (there is quite a bit of dime-store psychology on here to go with the more typically grandiose Peart material), but the artsy aspects are mostly just a superficial covering for the rotten, boring melodies underneath. There are some good basslines, but the sound is so trebly and wussy that it drives me nuts. The drums only sound like there's a real virtuoso behind the kit some of the time; they're booming and loud in the mix, but very rarely impressive. Lifeson gets more to do on this album than I used to think, as he has a small number of great lines, and he does do a lot of work in setting texture (along with the synths), but I don't get the sense that he's a crucial part of the sound when I listen to this album.

Few of the songs are immediately offensive, and mixed in with other albums they would have just been fairly below average filler. An album like this, though, with one clearly-below-average song after another, becomes a pain in the neck to listen to. Plus, there are some unbearable moments of unintentional comedy. Hearing Geddy bellow out, "I DON'T WANT TO FACE THE KILLER INSTINCT, FACE IT IN YOU OR ME" over important-sounding synthesizers pretty much sums up on its own why I can't take this album seriously, and the rest of the song ("Lock and Key") doesn't get much better. The opening chords of "Mission" sound like music I first heard in Final Fantasy: Mystic Quest, and the lyrics seem to think they're making an important artistic statement but are really just a lot of hot air. The song gets faster than the opening "majestic" section, but at best it's a generic, by-numbers 80's Rush rocker. "Turn the Page" is a rocker with some decent drive to it, but it's not that impressive a song, and when the song goes into the expected tricky instrumental break, all I can say is whoop-dee-freaking-doo. And as for "Tai Shan," well, I think George Starostin got it right when he said (essentially) that the lyrics sound like the reaction of a generic tourist upon visiting China; hearing these lyrics set to an oh-so-generic synth-heavy melody doesn't improve my mood much.

Fortunately, there is some really good stuff on here. I've always adored the opener, "Force Ten," a great rocker with a terrific bassline, some powerful riffage, a great vocal melody (especially in the "slower" portion) and good lyrics. The angelic chorus synths in the beginning are a little silly, and some of the synths in the middle are far cheezier than anything the band had used to that point, but when I listen to this song, it inspires me to think I can accomplish anything, and I respect any song that can do that to me. While I used to think this was the only worthwhile song on the album, though, I can now pick out three others (all in the first half) that I like a decent amount. "Time Stands Still" would work better as a 3-minute song instead of a 5-minute song masquerading as some kind of profound art-rock, but the lyrics at least touch on a subject (growing old, wishing time wouldn't slip by so fast) that can resonate with everybody. "Open Secrets" has some fabulous emotional guitar lines, and "Prime Mover," at the least, is a noticably better generic 80's up-tempo Rush song than either "Mission" or "Turn the Page."

Aside from a couple of other tracks (which have neither much of a positive nor much of a negative impact on the rating), my overall attitude towards the album is one of sleepy boredom, which is at least an improvement over my former vitriolic hate. I know that lots of fans consider this one of their best (though I have noticed that there are even a lot of fans of their 80's stuff who wrinkle their noses at this one), but I can't help but see this as a total dead end for the band. Unless you're a diehard, you should probably avoid this one.

Review by AtomicCrimsonRush
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "from the point of ignition to the final drive, the point of the journey is not to arrive, anything can happen..."

Like many, when I first heard this I was bitterly disappointed and it took many years before it finally grew on me. One deciding factor was to be reintroduced to many of these songs on the live DVDs, of which they sound great, especially on "A Show of Hands". On returning to this album after a long hiatus I was more delighted than disappointed. I guess time has moved on and Rush changed back to their style of making heavier stronger material of recent years, so this album is more a diversion into some adventurous territory. The album features a crystal clean sound production and very poppy accessible songs that one might easily hear on radio. The melodies are extremely catchy and eventually jam themselves into your brain. Some of the highlights well outweigh the moments of mediocrity when it all begins to feel like the band are just going over familiar ground.

'Force Ten' begins it well with one of the highlights, a rocking melodic track with that solid 1980s sound. Lee's bass rings out true and there are tons of synths and a fairly pedestrian drum beat. Lifeson's guitars jangle cleanly and constantly maintain melodic phrases. This is one of the best things about the album so a good start.

'Time Stand Still' is another great track, played live on many occasions. There are female vocals which balance Lee's nasal high delivery very well. The chorus is strong and easy to sing along to and overall the production of this is excellent.

'Open Secrets' is soaked in synth and has a full on 80s sound but it is quite a good track although I had forgotten this totally until another listen for this review. It was so unfamiliar in fact that it felt like hearing it for the first time. Perhaps that is the problem with these Rush albums; they are full of forgettable material and this is one of the culprits for sure. I liked it though especially the lead breaks of Lifeson but I longed for a heavier riff to lock onto rather than all that kanoodling on the fret board.

'Second Nature' is perhaps one of the worst filler tracks here. It is a ballad style with crystalline percussion over incessant finger picking. Lee sounds nice but that is about it really; a nice song that won't trouble anybody's top 100 Rush songs list.

'Prime Mover' is another of the songs I rediscovered on a live DVD and it is terrific in the studio too. There are some great bass licks here and I love the lyrics. Lifeson's guitar is heavier and the overall riffs are at the top of his game. The melody builds in the chorus with a terrific lyrical phrase; "anything can happen, from the point of conception to the moment of truth, at the point of surrender, from the point of ignition to the final drive, the point of the journey is not to arrive, anything can happen." A great song from the 80s Rush sound.

'Lock and Key' is another synthesizer composition, and has some crunching guitar strums that are shrilly and really a trademark of Lifeson in this era. There are interesting lyrics "it's just a matter of instinct, I don't want to face the killer instinct, face it in you or me so we keep it under lock and key." The main theme suggesting that anyone is capable of great evil so we must work to keep it subdued lest it rears its ugly head. I like the lead break on this but again it is very short and moderate compared to what Lifeson used to do on previous albums.

'Mission' is another of the tracks I have heard live more than the studio, however it comes across well on this album. The melody is nice, Lee sounds great on high register, and the synths are ambient. The trebly guitars clash in aggressively and the rhythm pounds effectively, though Peart is very restrained on this album, almost like a session musician in places. The band are capable of brilliance as we Rushaholics know but they opt for a very pedestrian treatment of the songs on "Hold Your Fire" and it is maddening at times. Still once again a nice song for the 80s era.

'Turn the Page' has a fast tempo but it is still not as heavy as anything on 70s Rush and it is fruitless to expect it now. Again I had forgotten this song totally after a few years not hearing it and it was not really worth returning to as it really feels very ordinary compared to others on the album. The bass is relentless and there is a lot of synth dominating the sound, and some great lead guitar work, but the melody is rather forgettable. I have forgotten it already after hearing it 10 seconds ago.

'Tai Shan' is a strange one in an Oriental style. The ambience of synthesizer and gentle electric guitar sweeps is the focus. Lee's vocals are restrained and he sounds emotional on lyrics such as "I stood at the top of the mountain and China sang to me, in the peaceful haze of harvest time, song of eternity." As a curio and something different this one is not too bad really. At least the band are attempting something unique here and as such it stands out.

'High Water' ends things on a mediocre note, and it needed something better to counter balance the tirade of mediocrity prior. It is as though the band needed to fill up the album with one more song so tacked this on as an afterthought. A bad move as it is the last thing you hear and it leaves one with a sour taste, yet the album begins quite well and has some great tracks, though this is certainly not one of them.

Overall this is a balanced album for the 80s but is not progressive, rather is just a pleasant harmless album. I don't think we can pretend this is Rush at their best but it is at least not a complete waste either. It is nice, and that is about it with about 3 decent tracks that overshadow the others. The first half is very good and it tends to get worse as it goes, though it is not half as bad as "Presto". 3 stars is certainly as much as it deserves, but that is not to say it does not make a worthwhile listen.

Review by ProgShine
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars The 80's Rush is a 8/80 situation, love it or hate it. I on the other hand prefer to sit on the fence, I don't hate and I don't love. Every situation is different.

When the band decided to go deep into new directions after Signals (1982) each album was deeper into the keyboards 'drama' - as Alex Lifeson would say - and the results vary from album to album.

Grace Under Pressure (1984) is a weaker album, Power Windows (1985) their best of this phase and Hold Your Fire (1987) a weak one again. But one thing must be said, even when Rush is weak they are above the medium!

On Hold Your Fire (1987) keyboards are everywhere and you have to really dig into the album's sound to find Alex's guitars. Geddy Lee's amazing bass playing is still here, Neal Peart's lyrics too. Tracks like 'Force Ten', 'Time Stand Still' (with the wonderful Aimee Mann) and 'Turn The Page' prove that.

Unfortunatelly the albums also have tracks like 'Tai Shan' and 'High Water' that are just forgetable. The rest of the material is ok, but not that very attractive.

Rush wouls release one more album in the 80's and caputure their synth phase with a live album before going to a new era once again.

Review by siLLy puPPy
2 stars This album should really be re-titled "Hold Your Creativity" since despite a whole bunch of guest stars adding their input to it seems like a whole lotta filler to me. I also vote that they repackage it and instead of the three red dots on the cover they should be tomatoes being thrown at the faces of the three members (the cute pics of them with their hip new wave hairdos in the liner notes would do nicely). I suspect at this point that their fan base who was so patiently waiting for another at least decent album again were ready to pull plug on their support. In fact they did just that. This album saw a huge decline in sales which was the thunderbolt that caused RUSH to tone down the synths on their following album.

HOLD YOUR FIRE is their 12th studio album and one of the weakest IMO. I find the first three tracks tolerable and the rest absolutely horrendous and tolerable isn't good enough for a band with this much talent. Listening to this I can only wonder what planet RUSH was living on at the time. I know that they were doing what they wanted and were experimenting with ideas that all the members had wanted to follow, but I can only wonder WHY these particular ideas that they seemed to put so much into to make happen sound so, well, awful. Another good title for this would be HOLD YOUR PURCHASE. Save your precious shelf space for something worth hearing. I'm adding a star just for their boldness in experimenting otherwise this is a 1 star album musically speaking.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
3 stars By the time the last half of the 80s was rolling around, Rush had settled into it's keyboard/lyric dominated sound. The songs for the last 3 albums were starting to sound too similar, except for in a few cases. That trend continued for "Hold Your Fire" and, if there were any changes, it was a trend to a more popular sound than ever. There is no mistake, when listening to this album, that it is a product of the 80s. There just isn't much guitar domination here. Those crazy and irresistible guitar hooks and anthems were non-existant at this time, except for a few guitar breaks which are much too short, the guitar has become totally supportive to Geddy's vocals and Neal's lyrics. And the songs, for the most part, continue to sound the same.

Not that there weren't some gems on this album, but seemingly less than on the previous 3 albums. Two of the best songs, "Force Ten" (which was the last song recorded for the album) and "Time Stand Still" (the album's huge hit) start the album off quickly and things seem great at first. But after that, the songs fall into that sameness as before, yet now even mellower and more keyboard laden. After those first two great songs, the only other songs worth mentioning are the fairly decent "Mission" which contains a more unique melody and some tricky rhythms in the instrumental break that stands out better than the others, and the very distinctive "Tai Shan" which is more experimental, and as such, breaks up the monotony of the rest of the album. Interestingly enough, the latter mentioned track was named as one that the band had wished they left off of the album because it was so different from the rest of the material. Hmmmm....well, it works for me to at least add some variety to the album.

But the highlights are too few and far in between and even the highlights can't come close to the earlier albums that came before "Signals". Again, we have a keyboard heavy album, with songs that don't stand out much and fail to generate the excitement of their earlier albums. Only the few highlights of the album save it from falling below 3 stars. Not a great album, just good, but not one I would recommend.

Review by patrickq
2 stars Hold Your Fire isn't exactly a return to form, although Rush more effectively merges their progressive sensibilities and their pop ambitions than they had two years earlier on Power Windows. "Mission" and "Lock and Key" are the best songs here, while "Second Nature," "Time Stand Still," and "Turn the Page" aren't bad.

As expected, bassist Geddy Lee and drummer Neil Peart are at the top of their respective games, while guitarist Alex Lifeson is his usual solid self, particularly on "Mission." The production is also good, although I prefer the sound of the next two albums, Presto and Roll the Bones.

Hold Your Fire suffers, though less acutely, from the song-quality issues that beset Power Windows; there's a lot of "blah" on this album. As I said of Power Windows, the best two songs on Hold Your Fire are also on the live A Show of Hands - - although in this case, "Lock and Key" didn't appear on the Show of Hands CD, apparently only having been included on the laserdisc (it's not on my VHS copy). Anyway, that live version of "Mission" is even better than the original, and A Show of Hands also includes good versions of "Time Stand Still" and "Turn the Page."

Of course, all of this makes Hold Your Fire less essential than it might have been otherwise. Although it's a bit of an improvement over Power Windows, I'm giving it the same rating - - two stars - - for mostly the same reasons: the compositional quality is too low to recommend to the average "prog rock" fan.

(P.S.: This was the first Rush cassette I owned, and for years the esteem in which I held Hold Your Fire was a bit too high. A few years ago, when I started using the itunes star-rating feature to create "smart" playlists, I realized that there were really only two songs here that were worthy of a "best-of" Rush list.)

Review by Necrotica
3 stars Following the success of the solid Power Windows and its subsequent tour, Rush took a much-needed break so they could be with their loved ones and relax. However, after a mere few months had passed, the band members quickly started letting the creative juices flow again and they started writing material for their follow-up release Hold Your Fire. Once the promotional single "Force Ten" was released to the public, it was clear to everyone that Rush hadn't given up on the poppier arrangements of the previous record; in fact, it seemed even more accessible than usual! With punchy drum work and flashy synthesizer bursts from Geddy Lee's trusty keyboard work, it sounded as though Rush were really going off the deep end with their pop-rock phase this time around. And... well... yeah. In a way, they kinda did.

Don't get me wrong; there are indeed progressive moments scattered about Hold Your Fire. In fact, the album's big hit single "Time Stand Still" is ironically one of the most typical and classic-sounding Rush songs on this entire thing because of its frequently altered tempos and more experimental character (with the female vocals, heavy atmosphere, the works). Unfortunately, this is also one of the first times in Rush's career in which some of their choices end up really biting them in the collective ass. There's only so much someone can take of a more watered-down Rush, and songs like the bland power-ballad "Second Nature" and the overly cheery instrumentation of "Mission" are begging for a songwriting overhaul. The emotional weight is here in top form, but - and I do hate to say this - the music has a tendency to be just plain boring. It's not that Rush have to be technical to be good, and the band's instrumental prowess shines in tunes like "Prime Mover" and the mystical "Tai Shan," but the synthesizers are really what kill a good chunk of this record. Why? Because they're so damn overbearing. As with Signals and a decent chunk of Power Windows, it feels as though Alex Lifeson has been once again shoved off to the sidelines as Lee's large array of keyboard effects comes in to take command of the record.

There are, however, some nifty things here and there that provide a good contrast to this, my personal favorite being the highly guitar-driven rocker "Turn the Page"; while there is still a high amount of synthesizer work when the song occasionally slows down, Alex's presence is strong and provides a uniquely stark atmosphere to the track. As for Neil Peart, he's certainly very commendable on this album because of his ability to transform simplicity into an immersive experience. He could easily have just followed what the other instruments are doing, but instead offers his own unique takes on these poppy tracks. The fills on "Time Stand Still" and "Turn the Page" are among his finest, and his highly involved performance in closer "High Water" positively contrasts the song's slow tempo and simple instrumental work.

Still, it's quite upsetting to hear a band's sound become diluted to the point of genuine boredom, and Rush were quite close to hitting such a mark. Hold Your Fire isn't a bad album, but it's one of the band worst records regardless; the emotional content and atmosphere are strong, but not as powerful when coupled with the overdone synth arrangements and weaker songwriting. This just barely escapes its 2.5/5, but what a dangerously close call. However, to the Rush fans out there: you should get this if you're a completionist or into 80s Rush. Otherwise, I'd say this one's more for pop rock fans than the ones who adore the band's more progressive 70s material.

Review by Hector Enrique
3 stars Hold Your Fire, the work that closes the third stage of Rush, is characterized by the exploration of new sounds, full of synthesizers and ever-present guitars, less rough and more affordable.

Each theme is produced with enviable neatness, leaving no detail to chance. However, musically speaking, the album travels irregular paths, with high points and others not so much, which prevents it from being defined as a solid work.

Highlights and part of my favorite Rush themes are the dynamic Time Stand Still, the effervescent and festive Prime Mover, and the thoughtful and intensely beautiful Mission. The rest of the songs show a level between correct (Force Ten, Second Nature, Lock And Key) and discreet (Open Secrets, Turn the Page, Tai Shan, High Water).

Perhaps Hold Your Fire is not one of Rush's happiest works, but the enormous quality of Canadian musicians is shown intact.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars A band that has sold its soul: devolving further into the quagmire of 1980s techno-"New Wave" pop rock.

1. "Force Ten" (4:31) Nothing here but techno-glam-rock reflective of the music of the period. (8.25/10)

2. "Time Stand Still" (5:08) a song I remember for its limited radio airplay, despite its shadow reminder of the Rush of old, it's still so simple and so pop-oriented. The fretless is too much, the toms so canned (and so plastic), the guitars so simplistic, the keys so thin, the sound engineering so compressed. (8.75/10)

3. "Open Secrets" (5:37) sounds so much like a song from ART IN AMERICA's debut album. Such poor sound production. Please take that fretless away from Geddy--and please let Alex go free more often! (8.667/10)

4. "Second Nature" (4:36) a band that normally delivers far-above average lyrics seems to have sold out (as has Alex Lifeson. Alex: you are note Jamie West-Oram!) A gentler, more standard pop song (reflecting a lot of the music of the time). Nice keyboard exposé in the fourth minute. (8.25/10)

5. "Prime Mover" (5:18) opens with a true RUSH feel before it goes a little Bon Jovi. Can the band really have sunk this low? (8.25/10)

6. "Lock and Key" (5:09) horrible melodies and chord progressions. Not even Neil's herculean efforts can pull this one out of the trash can. (Can't believe the band tried to promote this one as a hit single.) (8.25/10)

7. "Mission" (5:15) the first half of this song makes me feel so sad for Alex Lifeson: it must have been an all-time low for him to stoop down to playing those "Don't You Forget About Me" chord strums. The second half offers some of the most interesting and fully-developed music of the album. Finally! The real Rush is shining through. Unfortunately, Geddy's vocal (and message) do nothing to bring us into the song. (8.667/10)

8. "Turn the Page" (4:55) more Simple Minds chord strums and Jamie West-Oram bended arpeggi and chord strums. Neil must've been getting so bored by now. Less rolling fretless is such a nice thing. Alex gets to unleash a little in fourth minute (I can sense all of the pent up frustration he's releasing). The vocal here is actually engaging and memorable. (A unique event with Geddy giving in to the suggestion of using multiple tracks of his own voice to deliver quick, repetitious phrases.) Amazing how big a difference it is for me when Geddy's vocal is inviting instead of off- putting. (8.75/10)

9. "Tai Shan" (4:15) a slower, less 80s-sounding sound-scape (aside from Alex's guitar arpeggi). Weird to hear Geddy sing a kind of subdued "love" ballad. Weird to hear so much of the instrumental palette coming from collaborators outside of the main three. (8.5/10)

10. "High Water" (5:33) a disco-based song in which Geddy's voice sounds like he could care less. Even the keyboard chords used in the second verse are recycled from old material. Obviously, Geddy is having fun with the fretless--he's been running around that fretboard for 50 minutes now. And even Alex seems to have somehow been convinced that the pitch-unstable twangy (chorus-drenched) 80s guitar sound is the latest greatest. I hope it's over. Drumming superman Neil Peart just seems to keep on going: nothing seems to phase him or deter his enthusiasm for his job. The SIMPLE MINDS sound Alex uses around the four-minute mark is shameful. The "Owner of a Lonely Heart" chords and "In Your Eyes" lifts that follow even moreso. (8.33/10)

Total Time 50:17

What horrible sound production was allowed/condoned in the 1980s! Where 1985's Power Windows foray into the techno-pop world of synthetic sound seemed to go so well, this one sounds as if a new inexperienced band has burst onto the techno-pop scene. What happened? Not only are the instrumental performances reined in and watered down (or worse, made to sound horrible: cite Geddy's fretless bass and Neil's plastic toms), even the song compositions are disappointingly simpler.

B-/3.5 stars; a fair if dated addition to any prog lover's music collection--but surely an embarrassing contribution to any Rush fan's proud display.

Latest members reviews

2 stars In 1987, Rush released Hold Your Fire. The opening "Force Ten" is a decent hard-rocker, but if it weren't for Geddy's distinct voice, I doubt I would have recognized this as a Rush song. "Time Stand Still" is another generic '80s pop-rock cut, but it's notable for featuring guest vocalist Aimee Mann ... (read more)

Report this review (#2904243) | Posted by TheEliteExtremophile | Monday, April 3, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars In my review of Signals, I mentioned my being a latecomer to Rush and the fact that I love synthesizers. So I'm starting by tackling (as I can) the controversial post-Moving Pictures 1980's Rush albums, just...well, because I can. So there. Seriously, there's certainly plenty of worthy materi ... (read more)

Report this review (#1599612) | Posted by Mr. Gone | Saturday, August 20, 2016 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album still presents Rush caught in the 80's whirlpool as was the previous album. There are no tracks on the album that shout to me that they are present and standing to attention. It's an innocuous album that is pleasant enough background music for me. There is no way that I would rush ( ... (read more)

Report this review (#940347) | Posted by sukmytoe | Saturday, April 6, 2013 | Review Permanlink

1 stars If Power Windows invited the pop sound with open arms, then Hold Your Fire abuses it. I do appreciate some of the risks they took in finding new sounds, especially on 'Tai Shan,' but it simply sounds silly when you're a band that also has the progressive masterpieces of Hemispheres and Moving Pictur ... (read more)

Report this review (#771351) | Posted by Mr. Mustard | Friday, June 15, 2012 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Rush continued to move forward in developing both their sound and songwriting with 1987's Hold Your Fire, the peak of their forray into synth enhanced heavy prog pop/rock, or whatever you may choose to call the highly technical, emotional, and intelligent music they had been making with the la ... (read more)

Report this review (#627503) | Posted by 7headedchicken | Monday, February 6, 2012 | Review Permanlink

3 stars It's surprising how much Rush can hold on through the decades, especially with this album. This WAS one of the few Rush albums that grew on me fast. Hold Your Fire pretty much concludes their synth-induced coma, but I must say that the band makes some strides musically with this album compared ... (read more)

Report this review (#617317) | Posted by FromAbove | Monday, January 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars I fell in love with Rush around this period (just before Presto was released) and still remember listening to Prime Mover on the Friday Rock Show on Friday nights; such great times! Although Hold Your Fire is a very synthy album, it features many of Alex Lifeson's most beautiful guitar solos ( ... (read more)

Report this review (#600882) | Posted by garry1972 | Sunday, January 1, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars What do we label this album as ? Intelligent rock, art rock or prog rock ? Hold Your Fire was my first ever Rush album (bought in 1987) and one I have played a lot. I became a fan of the band there and then. I am still a big Rush fan and buys far too many Rush albums. A bad habit, really. B ... (read more)

Report this review (#566052) | Posted by toroddfuglesteg | Friday, November 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album took away alot of the cold production found on the last 2 albums and made a very warm soft record with this one. That being said it is one of my favorite of theirs because of the variety of songs on this album is great. It has the rockers (Force Ten) the soft ballads (Second Nature) ... (read more)

Report this review (#463566) | Posted by criticdrummer94 | Saturday, June 18, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars RUSH - HOLD YOUR FIRE (1987) - 3,8/5 Just like with the preceding 3 albums of RUSH's "atmospheric prog pop/rock" era, this album holds a high standard from start to finish. It is slightly better than the predecessor POWER WINDOWS as it has a few more standout tracks like the opening FORCE TEN ... (read more)

Report this review (#431400) | Posted by Caprianders | Tuesday, April 12, 2011 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This album is an odd beast and gets pegged as a lot of things it's not. First, lets run over some facts about it: 1) Yes, it is their most poppy by far. 2) No, guitars have returned on this. 3) GEDDY LEE plays one mean bass, doesn't he? 4) This is kinda-sorta a concept album telling a story a ... (read more)

Report this review (#409657) | Posted by Gorloche | Monday, February 28, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars "Hold Your Fire" is the final Rush album of the synth-heavy period, and that is a pity. It took me a good while to get into this, but now it is one of my top albums. 1) Force Ten (8/10) A pretty good technical rocker. 2) Time Stand Still (6/10) Actually quite a decent pop song dressed up i ... (read more)

Report this review (#332810) | Posted by gingernut | Wednesday, November 24, 2010 | Review Permanlink

2 stars "Hold Your Fire" is the final Rush album of the synth-heavy period, and thank god it was. This was going too far, my friends. Here is my track-by-track review of the album. 1) Force Ten (7/10) A pretty subtle opener to the album, and is very generic for most of the song. It just sounds melodram ... (read more)

Report this review (#332003) | Posted by jpthehp | Tuesday, November 23, 2010 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Maybe not the best Rush album, but it is definatly the best album of this era. Its much more prog and much more challenging sounding than the previous recording because it's a little less electric sound, and much deeper sounding than the previous record. The bass lines are stunning, as Geddy ... (read more)

Report this review (#243123) | Posted by Rushlover13 | Monday, October 5, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Another album where I DO NOT UNDERSTAND AT ALL why it is worst, most disappointing, lack of all etc... This is not worst Rush's album at least. Dear careful listener, first of all take a look on the structure of this album. Couple of 5-minute songs, short intro, singing section, guitar intermezz ... (read more)

Report this review (#207510) | Posted by raleks | Tuesday, March 17, 2009 | Review Permanlink

2 stars Hold Your Fire is the last studio album in a group I call RUSH's "Synthesizer Period". All of these albums came out during the 1980's and represent the band's post-Moving Pictures era. The albums are Signals (1982), Grace Under Pressure (1984), Power Windows (1985), Hold Your Fire (1987) and A ... (read more)

Report this review (#182984) | Posted by Analog Kid | Saturday, September 20, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Uh oh. We'd seen Rush stagnate somewhat over their last two albums (both GUPRessure and PWindows lacked originality) but here we combine that lack of new ideas with a lack of good song-writing (a curse the would plague the band forever after). While in many ways similar to PWindows, HYFire simp ... (read more)

Report this review (#174718) | Posted by MrMan2000 | Saturday, June 21, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This was very controversial era in Rush career. Being huge 70's prog rock fan I surprisinlgy find that Rush era the best period in their career. 81-87 albums are better for me that those recorded in 70's by the band. Hold Your Fire is filled with very beautiful melodies and great almost orchestr ... (read more)

Report this review (#172956) | Posted by LSDisease | Tuesday, June 3, 2008 | Review Permanlink

4 stars This album is not a very good prog album, but it is a good rock or crossover prog album. No doubt that RUSH moved a lot towards commercial FM-music, as many reviewers report, compared to their 70's albums, so in progressive sense HYF is not so exciting. Still - one thing few reviewers write a ... (read more)

Report this review (#170256) | Posted by Boluf | Thursday, May 8, 2008 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Here is the first in a string of Rush albums I bought and thought, What were they thinking!?. I am not kidding when it took me years to get into it, and now I gladly do. Keep in mind I have purchased every Rush album as it was released since Moving Pictures. After a while it seemed it was more o ... (read more)

Report this review (#169403) | Posted by StyLaZyn | Thursday, May 1, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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