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Review of Snakes and Arrows, and album cover

 
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Walkinghairball



Joined: 21 Apr 2004
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Location: In a rock an roll venue near you....as long as you are in the Pacific Northwest.

PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:48 pm    Post subject: Review of Snakes and Arrows, and album cover Reply with quote

Well here they are.






RUSH: First 'Snakes & Arrows' Review Posted Online - Mar. 23, 2007

U.K.-based music journalist Dave Ling has posted a review of the new RUSH album, "Snakes & Arrows", on his official web site. It reads as follows:

"Yesterday afternoon [Thursday, March 22] was occupied by a playback of RUSH's new album. Given the paranoia that exists about downloading, this was the U.K. media's only chance to hear 'Snakes & Arrows' before its release date of April 30. I'd been dying to hear it, unlike the representative of [another magazine] that read a book for pretty much the entire 63 minutes, disappeared for a piss halfway through and f**ked off before the last song ended. Okay, I know RUSH's current standing at [said magazine] probably lies somewhere beneath PANIC! AT THE DISCO, JOB FOR A COWBOY or AIDEN ? altogether... WHO?! ? but I admit, this person's disprespect shocked me, especially as Pegi Cecconi from the RUSH office was in the room at the time.

"Anyway, 'Snakes & Arrows' is a vast improvement upon the Canadian trio's last album. I'll be frank, 2002's 'Vapor Trails' did very little for me. This time the band have gone heavier (very heavy in places!), with guitarist Alex Lifeson being let off the leash. Opening track (and first single) 'Far Cry' is probably the best song, being reminiscent of the band's 'Permanent Waves' album. But generally speaking, it's extremely strong throughout. Hugh Syme's artwork is excellent as ever, visualising a theme that seems to run through some of the songs; the elements. 'Spindrift', for instance, uses pounding instrumental parts to re-create waves crashing in on the western shore. 'The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum)', meanwhile, picks up where the 'Hemispheres'-era track 'Circumstances' left off with its couplet of: "Some of us live in a cloud of fear/Some live behind iron gates". In the vaguest possible way, RUSH also pay lip service to the differences between the Middle East and Middle West in 'The Way The Wind Blows', which features the telling line of 'Pray... and pass the ammunition' and a great solo from Lifeson. The best compliment that you could pay Peart's words is that they're thoughtful without being stuffy. The album, too, is heavy, but falls short of being one dimensional. You're gonna like it, I'm sure."

"Snakes & Arrows" is scheduled for release in the U.S. on May 1 via Anthem/Atlantic. Check out the album cover artwork at this location.

"Snakes & Arrows" track listing:

01. Far Cry
02. Armor and Sword
03. Workin? Them Angels
04. The Larger Bowl
05. Spindrift
06. The Main Monkey Business
07. The Way The Wind Blows
08. Hope
09. Faithless
10. Bravest Face
11. Good News First
12. Malignant Narcissism
13. We Hold On
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awip2062



Joined: 13 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting that, Bro!
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Walkinghairball



Joined: 21 Apr 2004
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 2:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for showing it to me.
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awip2062



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hope you end up liking it.
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Mr. Potatoe Head



Joined: 21 Nov 2003
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool, I don't care for the album cover with the use of the game theme though.

Thanks,
Big Hairy Guy
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Middle Kingdom



Joined: 06 Aug 2005
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess there are 3 instrumentals?
Two of them short.....should be interesting.
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zepboy



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PostPosted: Sat Mar 24, 2007 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, according to this review, Far Cry "is probably the best song".

I was hoping for more. I heard FC on the radio the other day, and I honestly wasn't very impressed. Yes, I could hear the unparallelled talent, but the song itself seemed lacking, even milky sounding.

I was led to believe this album was to be a bit harder than their most recent stuff, even a throw back to the old days. For me, the old days were lying stoned on my bedroom floor zoning out the 2112, and tripping about kingly guise.

Anyhow, time will tell. I intend to listen to the whole album, but I sure hope the review was wrong, and there are songs better than Far Cry.
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Mr. Potatoe Head



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PostPosted: Sun Mar 25, 2007 5:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zepboy wrote:
Well, according to this review, Far Cry "is probably the best song".

I was hoping for more. I heard FC on the radio the other day, and I honestly wasn't very impressed. Yes, I could hear the unparallelled talent, but the song itself seemed lacking, even milky sounding.

I was led to believe this album was to be a bit harder than their most recent stuff, even a throw back to the old days. For me, the old days were lying stoned on my bedroom floor zoning out the 2112, and tripping about kingly guise.

Anyhow, time will tell. I intend to listen to the whole album, but I sure hope the review was wrong, and there are songs better than Far Cry.
I am going to have to agree with you there Zep, just didn't do it for me either. Many didn't like Vapor Trails but... I did. I was hoping for a step up but...like you said we'll have to wait and see what the rest brings us.
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Kares4Rush



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's another review of the album. The reviewer seems a bit more "Rush friendly" than we're use to.

RUSH Snakes & Arrows Atlantic (2007)


Nothing concentrates the mind better than having to review a new Rush album after just one solitary play. And after this playback at Atlantic Records HQ in Kensington I was left breathless, if not stunned by the sheer power of an album that stylistically throws in the proverbial kitchen sink.

I suppose after such an enduring and varied musical career, it's not surprising that Rush have gone back to their Proggy musical roots. And with former Foo Fighters Alex Raskulinecz at the controls, the band are given a free reign to indulge their musical excesses, as they stretch out and jam in a post Zeppelin heavy duty deluge that manifests itself in a stunning wall of sound.

Aside from a high in the mix raucous drum sound and some complex arrangements, vocalist Geddy Lee's successfully uses his impressive high range to give full meaning to Neil Peart's esoteric lyrics. Where once there was a thin high register vocal line, there is now a more mature vocalist whose phrasing puts him up there with Robert Plant in his element.

'Snakes & Arrows' opens with the new single 'Far Cry', which after a big, powerful staccato drum intro opens into a slice of melodic hard rock with a lilting chorus. 'A Far Cry' is much more accessible than much of the rest of the album and sets the standard with a belated chorus that stays in the mind long after the conclusion of the song.

The following 'Armor & Sword' features some of Peart's best lyrics, and might be regarded as a metaphor for both personal faith and contemporary world events. The line, 'Our better natures seek elevation, A refuge for the coming night, No One gets to their heaven without a fight', seems to be a personal reflection but can be taken as a wry comment on our times, while 'The suit of shining armor, becomes a keen and bloody sword', is an uncompromising analysis of the machinations of religion and faith.

'Working Them Angels' employs a big wall of sound and is punctuated by urgent time changes which build up a tension that is finally resolved by the 'Working them angels-Overtime' line. 'The Large Bowl' is a more radio friendly affair and is one of the highlights of the album. Opening with an acoustic guitar and a vocal line that recalls Mark Bolan, the hook has a hypnotic quality about it, before Alex Lifeson delivers a trademark solo.

There's more of the evocative big sweep wall of sound on 'Spindrift'. The song cleverly uses natural elements in the lyrics as metaphors and delivers big booming chords and a heavy duty rhythm track topped by some lovely bass notes and jangling guitar.

Guitarist Alex Lifeson sounds a little like U2's The Edge as the band use an ascending chord sequence and a stop time rhythm before plunging back into an explosion of riffs. 'Spindrift' impresses if only for the fact that Rush manage to make the music conjure up the lyrical imagery.

'The Main Monkey Business' is the first and certainly the most impressive of three instrumental outings. It's interesting to see what Rush make of a piece that doesn't have to accommodate the lyrics, and the result is a guitar-led motif with a vaguely Celtic/Zeppelin sounding feel, and a real sense of presence and controlled power. The mid-section slips into a Space Rock outing that resolves itself in a Prog Metal oeuvre as layers of keyboards beef up the melody line.

'Monkey Business' is both coherent, powerful and delivers a polished production without ever losing the essential band dynamic. Another drum intro graces 'The Way the Wind Blows' before giving way to a surprising heavy duty bluesy guitar led shuffle. If anything there are elements of Jethro Tull's soft Metal period of the late 80's with the song's poignant lyrics about the pseudo East/West religious divide glued together by repeated heavy guitar riffs, some belated space rock elements, and impressive vocal swoops. The second instrumental 'Hope' is a pleasant if unchallenging acoustic link piece with a Eastern, almost sea shanty feel, while 'Faithless' is an impressive return to the lyrical raison d'etre of the album. The line 'I've got my own moral compass to steer by' neatly summarises the song's meaning, and it is essentially a simple outing that derives an anthemic quality from some big production trappings that include the use of a mellotron. If 'Faithless' is another high point of the album then 'Bravest Face' continues the upwards curve, with its acoustic intro, some complex crunching chords, and impressive lyrics that dwell on the nature of mankind's duality.

'Good News First' doesn't work as well, with the high register vocals struggling manfully to unravel the lyrical meaning over another big production wall of sound. Curiously enough the sometimes impenetrable nature of the previous track adds lucidity to the following hard hitting rocked out instrumental 'Malignant Narcissism'. This short piece of guitar drenched Space Rock works really well and even finds time for some impressive bass and drum breaks.

The closing 'We Hold On' is the perfect kind of powerful and coherent outing to finish with and features soaring vocals, feverish guitar, a pounding rhythm track and a strong chorus.

'Snakes & Arrows' is a powerful album which in striving to be contemporary is possibly a little heavier and a touch more cluttered than it needed to be. Neil Peart's heartfelt lyrics are impressive throughout, and Geddy Lee's vocals suggest a new maturity. Above all the band find room to jam out enthusiastically, but in occasionally over egging the arrangements and sometimes falling in between the Prog Rock, Space Rock and melodic Metal genres, 'Snakes & Arrows' might be a CD that seeks to consolidate rather than break new ground.

****

Review by Pete Feenstra
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Walkinghairball



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent review. Thanks Kares.
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Ogg



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice posts Bro and Kares'.
I've just been reading this on 'wikipedia'...

"In a first for Rush, this album contains multiple new instrumental tracks: "The Main Monkey Business", "Hope", and "Malignant Narcissism".This also marks the first new instrumental piece(s) composed by the band since "Limbo", on 1996's Test for Echo...

...but MK beat me to it .

I have to agree with Zep' in that I found the single disappointing, having removed it from my mp3 player after a mere single day! I can't believe the leading cut is 'Far Cry' though. Personally I loved VT so I'm hoping this will be good. It's going to be awful skipping past the opening track eh?
To be honest I was discussing this with Mrs Ogg last night, she asked if I was more interested in the new Porcupine Tree album? I really couldn't answer... Sad
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awip2062



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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess we are still just going to have to wait (and hope) and see what we personally think of it. I hope I decide it is most worthy of listening to until memorized.
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