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Rush - Test For Echo CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

2.86 | 773 ratings

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Special Collaborator
Symphonic Team
3 stars Time and motion

In my book, the early 90's is Rush's weakest period in the whole of their long career with 1991's Roll The Bones and 1993's Counterparts being two of the band's least good albums ever. 1996's Test For Echo was a breath of fresh air after these two lacklustre predecessors and a worthy album in its own right. The dense and murky production of Counterparts is thankfully abandoned here in favour of a more "open" and vivid sound and keyboards once again form part of the band's sound (although discreetly so). Many Rush fans seem to think that Test For Echo was disappointing in comparison with the previous album. For me, however, exactly the opposite is true. While Counterparts was very one- dimensional to these ears, Test For Echo is a bit more diverse and a more interesting affair. Indeed, it remains a bit of a mystery to me why anyone - especially Prog fans - would prefer Counterparts over Test For Echo. While Test For Echo is hardly a Prog album (Rush abandoned Prog countless years earlier), it does contain one or two nods to the band's classic period. Some people even claim that Rush were inspired by Dream Theater while creating this album, which, if it would be true, would be a very great thing indeed. But while they clearly had a major impact on the progressive Metal genre, Rush is neither Metal nor progressive on Test For Echo. Still, if there is any 90's or 00's Rush album on which they are trying to do the kind of things that should get noticed by the Prog fan it is Test For Echo.

The opening trio that includes the title-track, Driven and Half The World constitutes a good start to the album. The latter track is a somewhat folky tune that features a nice acoustic solo. The lyrics consist of some social commentary. Time And Motion is probably the track that inspired the idea that Rush is copying Dream Theater. It is a rather heavy affair with some sparse keyboard fills. I enjoy it, but if you expect anything like Images And Words, you will be seriously disappointed. Another track that certainly deserves special mention is the delightful, semi-acoustic, semi-ballad Resist which is one of the very few post-Moving Pictures Rush songs that really sounds like a classic. And this tune has indeed gone on to be a live favourite in the band's acoustic set. It is not 2112 or Hemispheres, of course, but it does hark back to the band's golden years and reminds of songs like Closer To The Heart and Different Strings. The wonderful expression "I can resist anything but temptation" that forms part of the lyrics is, however, not a Neil Peart original, but an Oscar Wilde quote.

While I agree that there are a couple of tracks in the middle of this album that can legitimately be called fillers, the album as a whole holds up quite well. It is hardly an album I will return to often, but it is one of the better latter-day Rush albums and certainly the best Rush album of the 90's. As many others have pointed out, Test For Echo also features one of Rush's best ever sleeve designs.

If you are at all tempted, it is not necessary to resist - this is a quite worthy release

SouthSideoftheSky | 3/5 |


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