Snakes and Arrows (2007)

1.Far Cry
2.Armor and Sword
3.Workin' Them Angels
4.The Larger Bowl
6.The Main Monkey Business
7.The Way The Wind Blows
10.Bravest Face
11.Good News First
12.Malignant Narcissism
13.We Hold On


After Rush released 2002's long awaited comeback CD Vapor Trails, the band was in a bit of a quandry. The critics loved that album for the most part, but many of the hard core fan was less than impressed with the grungy, distorted sound that left you with a headache after a mere 20 minutes. Sensing this, the band wisely goes back to an older formula of a more pristine sounded record that was definitely a relief to most of the old fans. This album sounds more like the band that their disciples were clamoring for. What's better is that the material is extremely sharp in its production and is well done in terms of overall quality. To be fair, it's a bit front-loaded, and the album does lose a bit of its punch a little more than half way through, but the first several songs are so strong, that any setbacks are very forgivable.

It only takes the first ten seconds of many of the songs to realize that you are listening to a Rush album - the trademark guitar, bass and drums are unmistakable - even before Geddy has a chance to inject his high pitched trademark croon. As a matter of fact, there are three instrumentals on this album (granted, one is a short acoustic guitar solo) which is a treat since those seems to be the songs their fans like the most. Lyrically, the album is one of the band's most darkest. Neil takes shots at politics and religion (both eastern and western - he never lets us forget) and it's a bit of a shame that he is so adamantly Faithless as the song of that title tells us. It's not so bad on songs like Armor and Sword, but his arrogance on songs such as The Way The Wind Blows is a little ridiculous. Other songs like The Larger Bowl aren't very encouraging either - they sing about how unfair it is that some have so many why others have so few. I've never particularly cared when rich rock stars have the nerve to scream about the injustices that they seem to uncover everywhere. Still, the band's share of followers will no doubtly gladly sing along to these anthems, and you can't blame the band for singing about what they truly think and feel.

When the band undertook their (customary) mammoth tour that supported the album, you could tell just how proud they were of this work when they played a total of nine songs from the album. As they produced more and more material, they had been lately forced to only cover three or four new tracks from their latest album in their shows. Of course, Rush fans are among the most fickle, and it was a bit surprising how many didn't like this album either. Personally, I thought it rocked. I also thought it was the best thing they had done in almost twenty years. I can even overlook the depressing lyrics.

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