Rush
Roll the Bones


4.0
excellent

Review

by BludgeonySteve USER (17 Reviews)
May 13th, 2006 | 231 replies | 17,945 views


Release Date: 1991 | Tracklist


3 of 3 thought this review was well written

Released in 1991, well after what is supposedly Rush's "prime", Roll The Bones became an instant classic. While some were turned off by possible over-use of synthesizers and a rap breakdown in the title track, many will agree that this album is up there with the great Rush albums like A Farewell to Kings, 2112, Moving Pictures and Hemispheres. What really separates the albums is a distinct lack of very long songs with a lot of instrumental breaks on Roll The Bones. However in my opinion the song quality is just as good.

This album is quite possibly Geddy Lee's best vocal work. Abandoning the hard rock shriek that he is known (and I love but many Rush fans and critics find annoying) for and taking to a more calm and laid back vocal style clearly seen in songs like Bravado, Ghost of a Chance and The Big Wheel, we actually see that...... OMG GEDDY LEE CANS SING. He's quite a good singer when it comes to softer rock.

The album could be called a concept album due to song names all related to gambling. Gambling is a metaphor for life because of the risks we all take in our lives. Some of the songs have brilliant lyrics. One from Bravado is, "we will pay the price but we will not count the cost" saying that even if we make some mistakes in our lives (relating it to loses in casino gambling. Which seems a little superficial but I think it works), we will persevere, take our loses and move on. Or in Roll The Bones, the title track:

We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That's the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones

Keeping with the theme of "circumstances" as in many previous Rush songs, Neil Peart is saying that lady luck is unpredictable and we can't dwell on the idea of fate.

Anyway, probably some of their best lyrical work.

The music, for the most part, is soft rock. There are some upbeat parts of songs but the album is very relaxing and pleasing to the ears. Geddy Lee makes use of his moog synth to fill up the sound and guide the melody. You won?t hear very many crazy drum fills from Neil Peart or screaming guitar solos from Alex Lifeson but instead, well written and put together songs.

Some notable tracks:

DREAMLINE: The first track on the album and one of the best. Begins with a trippy sounding guitar riff and breaks into a very melodic verse. You can clearly hear Alex Lifeson's creativity with basic rhythms. The song has some excellent drumming and bass playing as usual and an excellent, tasteful guitar solo. The song is about being young and free and following your dreams to all parts of the earth, much like some people do by gambling. However while some follow their dreams to Las Vegas, Neil Peart would rather follow his dreams to a recording studio.

BRAVADO: This song is absolutely beautiful. It has a very strong beat, melodic guitar playing, And who knew Geddy Lee could sing like that. This is definitely my favorite song on the album.

ROLL THE BONES: The title track and possibly the most questionable song on the album. In any review of this album, the only thing that they can knock about it is... the rap breakdown. I have no idea what they were thinking putting rap into a progressive album. I don't really mind it but it kind of ruins an excellent song. The guitar solo is beautiful but then it goes into the rapping. Geddy begins to sing after some rapping and you think "please, let him keep singing, no more rap" but then there's more rap. This song is still a 4/5 but without the rap part it would be 5/5. I really like the bits of synth; they aren't overwhelming and add to the mood.

THE BIG WHEEL: Begins with a keyboard riff that sounds pretty cool and goes into some typical rush rock and roll which is pretty sweet, especially some of the trademark Alex Lifeson major chord riffs which are welcome in any Rush song. The Best part of the song is the chorus, though. The contrast between the rock and roll verses and the chorus which is very melodic is very pleasing to the ears. Geddy Lee makes good use of synth throughout the song which enhances it but you don't really notice it.

GHOST OF A CHANCE: Most rock radio stations play this song at least twice a week, I?m sure you've heard it if you listen to radio. I really like the guitar riff at the beginning and really really like the song up until the tempo change. The song goes from upbeat rock to a slow, beautiful vocally driven part with some great clean guitar fills and extremely tight drums and bass. The guitar solo is spectacular. Not one untasteful part in it. Anybody would love this song.

The rest of the songs are good but I just wanted to list the most notable songs in my opinion.

I gave it a 4/5 because I love most of the songs on it but there is room for improvement. I was really leaning towards 4.5, though.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
metallicaman8
May 13th 2006



4677 Comments


Decent review. This is a good album. I love neil pert

tom79
May 13th 2006



3363 Comments


I was gonna do this sooner or later. Either way, its good its done. I like this album, though it isn't my favorite from Rush.

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

BludgeonySteve
May 13th 2006



558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Of course. It's nobody's favorite Rush album. But it sure is good.

tom79
May 13th 2006



3363 Comments


Yeah obviously, but even from the 90's and up. I think I like Vapor Trails better. This is still great though, although I haven't listened to it in quite some time.

met65
May 13th 2006



105 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

sweet review. Geddy lee rules

pulseczar
May 13th 2006



2385 Comments


Fair review, I liked how you were going about the vocal work and theme, but you didn't describe the overall sound and music of the album. It would be great if you ditched the notable tracks thing and wrote a few paragraphs about the music.

BludgeonySteve
May 13th 2006



558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

There, I added a paragraph about the general sound of the album. And from the noteable tracks section, I do kind of give an idea of what the album sounds like.This Message Edited On 05.13.06

antooon
May 13th 2006



10 Comments


"...we actually see that...... OMG GEDDY LEE CANS SING."

Wtf? So what was it he did on every other album?

Nice review.

TheGreatFedora
May 13th 2006



116 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

I don't think anyone would really agree that it's equal to the likes of AFTK or Moving Pictures. I don't know exactly where I would rank it, but it's very low on my Rush list. Around the same place as pretty much all the keyboard era albums. Almost all of it is boring and uninspired. Dreamline's okay live, Bravado's pretty nice, Roll The Bones is catchy until it gets annoying and every thing else is just...bleh.


Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 13th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This is pretty much the only Rush album I outright dislike. The low point of their discography imo.

BludgeonySteve
May 13th 2006



558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"Wtf? So what was it he did on every other album?"

Made pies.


metallicaman8
May 13th 2006



4677 Comments


hahahaha^. You're sillyThis Message Edited On 05.13.06

BludgeonySteve
May 13th 2006



558 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

In the liner notes of A Farewell to Kings it says "Geddy Lee - Bass, Moog, pies", I swear.This Message Edited On 05.13.06

temporary
May 13th 2006



207 Comments


Decent review, of a quality album. Definitly one of my favorite later day Rush albums.

Arucard
May 13th 2006



575 Comments


I love the rap in Roll The Bones. Especially effective live, when a giant skeleton is rapping.

The Sludge
May 13th 2006



2169 Comments


RUSH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pretty good review, lol.

NewMetman
May 15th 2006



21 Comments


Finally a review for this album! Ive been debating buying it, but i wasnt sure about it. And to Iluvatar, id say their low point was more or less Power windows or Test for Echo

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
May 15th 2006



16081 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

You can make that debate for Test for Echo, but Power Windows was (sans Moving Pictures, but that still had prog metal leanings) their best synth era album.

NewMetman
May 15th 2006



21 Comments


Well, i can see where your goin but for me, Big money was best off that album, the rest was alright. And Dreamline is an awesome song.

JohnXDoesn't
May 15th 2006



1267 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I think Roll The Bones is one of the best Rush songs ever. So far as they write songs. The rest of it, well, it's fairly average, but they get away with it fairly nicely while making the most of it. Your review is fine, RNR, but a review of all the songs on an album in a tbt is most desirable.



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