That three-man behemoth of progressive hard rock, Rush, is back. The unmistakable voice of Geddy Lee at the fore with Neil Peart's gigantic drum sound and Alex Lifeson's shredding guitars continues to rock the world into oblivion and back again.
Those in the know may've followed them in their '70s incarnation but the world at large got to know Rush in the '80s with the massive success of their album rock staple, "Tom Sawyer" and they've been rockin' the world ever since. Formed in 1968 in Toronto, the band has seen out various trends and eras of rock and roll and held strong, never sacrificing their hard but artful sound and the tracks collected on Snakes & Arrows are no exception.
"Far Cry" takes a sort of apocalyptic worldview, and sets it to a rolling, heavy riff. "Workin' Them Angels" is a majestic ode to workers of the world and the downtrodden -- the meek who shall inherit the earth. "The Larger Bowl" is a gentle track which also ponders the everyday life here on planet earth, its injustices and inexplicable turns of events.
"Spindrift" ultimately finds its center in the maelstrom, like the waves and wind that crash upon the proverbial shore. "The Main Monkey Business" is an all-instrumental track that calls on Rush's trademark fusion of hard rock, jazz and prog to drive it home. "Hope" is a sort of acoustic coda to that piece and one on which Lifeson can really take an opportunity to show off his acoustic fretboard abilities. The album rocks on with "The Way the Wind Blows," a bluesy, Stevie Ray or Hendrix-style workout. Lifeson continues to be the star of the show on the guitar intense "Faithless."
"Bravest Face" asks all the right philosophical questions while quietly stating its case as a melodic rock song. As favored in hard rock circles as they've been, there are times that Rush straddles the line of alternative rock and this is one of those times. With a title like "Malignant Narcissism," you know it's harsh and this instrumental twists and turns just like a bad case of that particular character flaw.
"We Hold On" finds Geddy holding the torch, to keep going until dawn. And the same could be said about the three-man band: 40 years on, why should they stop now?
By Danielle Santiago