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Rush - Snakes & Arrows CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

3.58 | 907 ratings

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Symphonic Team
2 stars I'm faithless

Snakes & Arrows is Rush's latest studio release to date and even though it is certainly an improvement over the sonic disaster that was Vapor Trails, it is not the return to form that fans like me have been waiting for. Snakes & Arrows is a more diverse affair and thus a bit more similar to Test For Echo than it is to Vapor Trails or Counterparts and there are some positive surprises. The first things I noticed when I read the credits and track list was the inclusion of as many as three instrumentals as well as Alex Lifeson's wider array of stringed instruments like twelve string guitars, mandola, mandolin and bouzouki (!). Both things spurred my interest and injected hope (incidentally the title of one of the instrumentals) that Rush finally made something really good again. The instrumentals are indeed welcome and so are the acoustic instruments, but the songwriting is not what it once was.

While the three instrumentals stand out in a positive way, there are also some tracks that stick out in a negative way. One of them is the utterly prosaic and straightforward rocker Workin' Them Angels and another is the rambling, Blues-based The Way The Wind Blows. The latter harks back to the band's very early days (before they evolved into a Prog band). Who would have thought we would ever heard such a bluesy number again from Rush so many years after they abandoned their Blues-Rock roots? This is, however, not my cup of tea, but it does at least add a little most welcome variety to the album. Hope - one of the instrumentals - is a Lifeson solo piece and a wholly acoustic affair. But those expecting a classical guitar piece like those of Steve Howe, Steve Hackett or Rik Emmett (of fellow Canadians Triumph), are in for a surprise. This is more like a droning Raga piece! - interesting, but hardly great. Faithless is a semi-ballad on the lines of Resist from the Test For Echo album, but it simply pales in comparison with that modern Rush classic. The rest is pretty much Rush by-the-numbers; neither good nor bad.

Overall, Snakes & Arrows is a rather average Rush album. It is better than most of their 90's and 00's albums, but a very far cry from the efforts of the band's heyday. Those waiting for Rush to do something on the lines of 2112, A Farwell to Kings or Hemispheres will most probably wait forever. I wouldn't hold my breath!

SouthSideoftheSky | 2/5 |


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