Review Summary: A solid release by a solid band.
After almost forty years, Rush is still going strong. Considered by many to be the Canadian response to Led Zeppelin, Rush have recently released their eighteenth studio album: Snakes & Arrows is a very solid performance from what appears to be a band that will never die.
From the catchy opening single, “Far Cry”, to the short and heavy instrumental “Malignant Narcissism”, Snakes & Arrows will always deliver that solid rock sound. Rush is largely driven by drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, who is considered to be one of the greatest drummers of rock history. No Rush concert is complete without a Peart branded drum solo. His lyrics on this album are focused mainly on overcoming challenges in the hope and pain of life, sometimes through stories of science-fiction and fantasy.
This is the first time that a total of three instrumental tracks are included on a Rush album. Rush instrumentals are known for being exceedingly masterful due to the sheer experience and skill of these three musicians. “The Main Monkey Business”, “Hope” and “Malignant Narcissism” are all interesting tracks that project not only the skill but also the talent of this band. “The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum)” is one of my favorite tracks. It elaborates on the huge problems with equality in the world, for example some are born in gold while others are born scared. The song intrigued me even more since it is written in the form of a pantoum, which is a rare form of poetry that plays with rearranging certain stanzas within different clauses. Another great feature of the song is a mandolin solo by guitarist Alex Lifeson.
Rush can be described as a very technical band that are a source of inspiration for numerous modern bands ranging from Metallica to Primus to Dream Theater and even power metal-ers Symphony X. The drums are thunderous and technical, with odd time signatures and a wide variety of percussion instruments. The guitar, played by Alex Lifeson, is sonic yet sweeping but seems to be slightly turned down at times. You won't find jaw dropping solos or squealing fills in his department. Geddy Lee has a nice balance between his bass guitar work and his slightly high pitched vocals.
Overall, Snakes & Arrows will easily satisfy any old fan of the band and will surely woo new ones as well.