Snakes & Arrows



by JohnXDoesn't USER (97 Reviews)
May 3rd, 2007 | 262 replies

Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Neil Peart and Rush make a welcome return from having one foot in the grave and sound like a band with a new lease on life and music. Oh Canada, I sing your praises....

Perhaps the best thing to come out of Canada besides maple syrup, Neil Young, and assorted hockey teams with names like The Canucks and, well, The Maple Leafs, Rush returns with their first album of original material in five years with the release of Snakes And Arrows. In tentative mode for the last ten years due to tragic events surrounding drummer and songwriter Neil Peart's personal life and his subsequent "healing journey", Snakes And Arrows marks a return to prime Rush after the somewhat average for this group Vapor Trails album of a half decade earlier.

Spurred on and inspired by his new life and memories of his old, Peart and bandmates Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson indeed sound reborn (or at least rejuvenated) on Snakes And Arrows, using the hope and pain of life and turning it into musical and lyrical art. Far Cry kicks things off in familiar Rush territory, all crashing power chords, galloping, hard hitting drums from Peart, and of course Lee's clean, pulsating bass and unique high alto vocals. Lyrically the song touches on themes that run throughout the album of being up against odds of pain and struggle and somehow finding hope, reason, and purpose to carry on. Nothing new for Rush, but with one of the principle songwriters going through devastating life changing events in recent years, rather then sounding like the same old band touching on familiar themes Rush sound like an old band with a new purpose. And thats good news for any crotchy old band, much less these bunch of hosers.

The music on Snakes And Arrows is also 100% familiar. Alex Lifeson's guitar is sonic, sweeping, and rings out as it always has, Peart's drums powerful and thunderous, Lee's bass precise and exacting. The band explores giant, spaced out prog rock blues riffs on the layered and diverse The Way The Wind Blows, which sounds like retro Rush of sorts, Lifeson turns in some fine acoustic work on the solo instrumental track Hope, and those 'ol familiar Rush keyboards ring out on the straight ahead rock track Good News First. Or do they? Actually they don't, as not nary a keyboard is to be found on this album. Which isn't to say you don't hear a guitar or bass that doesn't sound like something resembling a keyboard, but it is to say the album has a certain warmth and organic sound that can sometimes be absent from this bands music in the name of studio wizardry or covering up some sub par songwriting. However on Snakes And Arrows the songwriting is solid throughout, the performances generous and busy, the band as tight and focused as it's ever been. And it's been almost forty years for Lifeson and Lee, with Peart just several years behind in band membership. So that's a good deal of focus.

The more things change the more they stay the same. A wise old adage that applies squarely to Rush just as it does most things. Nothing is new here, yet everything is new. A rebirth, if you will. Not that Rush ever went away. But in a career of a band with many peaks and valleys as is to be expected from such a long recording history, Snakes And Arrows definitely represents not just a peak, but coming after the shaky ground this band has stood on the last ten odd years, a peak that is an unexpected and welcome surprise. Meet the new Rush, same as the old Rush....and as it turns out after all these years that's a pretty good thing.

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user ratings (1004)
other reviews of this album
Brendan Schroer CONTRIBUTOR (4.5)

Hokeyboy (4)
Arguably the finest album of their later era, SNAKES & ARROWS features Rush at their most emotionall...

jimay333 (4)
A solid release by a solid band....

diddy (3.5)
While it's not one of their classic albums, it's a new style and I like the new direction that Rush ...

Comments:Add a Comment 
May 3rd 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Good review, but I have a few minor spelling quabbles.

many peaks and valeys

Should be valleys.

and as it turns out after all these years thats a pretty good thing.

apostrophe anyone?This Message Edited On 05.03.07

May 3rd 2007


I wrote a review for this the day it came out but it wasn't accepted for whatever reason there was seriously nothing wrong with it anyway, this is better

May 3rd 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Sweet review. I've been interested in this album for a while.

May 3rd 2007


Great review, short and to the point. I haven't heard this yet but I'll pick it up soon.This Message Edited On 05.03.07

May 3rd 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

so it's valleys not valeys? o my who knew? :confused:


but anyway yeah thanks for pointing those out i used FF's spell check to correct that so it should have been all good. my apostrophe thing springs from a bug when i used to write my reviews on MS Word and all the apostrophes would show up as weird symbols on the page, so i stopped using then and never really started again. i'm trying to overcome my casual ways but take that one up with jeremy This Message Edited On 05.03.07

May 3rd 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Finaly a review of this cd. a Great comeback for Rush IMO. I love Armor And Sword.

May 4th 2007


i hate rush

May 5th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

Just got this. It's very good so far.

May 5th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

good review. good album but I don't see any drastic changes from vapor trails. well except for the sound quality. thank God for that.

May 5th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

gonna get this soon. i wish it wasnt 14 songs though cuz i prefer how they used to have less than 10 tracks. good reviewThis Message Edited On 05.06.07

May 5th 2007


I will look into this.

May 5th 2007


Album Rating: 4.5

This album is great. In my opinion, this is as good as anything they've ever done. It's just not a classic yet.

May 6th 2007


Album Rating: 3.0

Good review. I would have given this album a higher rating, but like most Canadian bands, the singer has a rather horrible voice. Geddy might be distinct, but his voice sounds like shit!

Digging: Yautja - The Lurch

May 7th 2007


Actually, in response to the no synths, if you look in the album liners, under geddy lee's instruments used hear, you will see mellotron, and peart used electronic percussion as well. All in all, i thought this album was a solid return to glory for rush, but malignant narcissism was way too short

May 8th 2007


I really want this album! I've heard a couple of songs of it, sounds gooooood!

May 14th 2007


Yeah, Geddy said they used an original mellotron that the recording studio had in an interview on XM. This album is pretty good, not favorite, but I've only listened to it about 6 times since it came out. And I've listened to all of the other Rush albums many more times, so I'm going to give it more time. I still don't think any Rush album will top 2112, but this is still good.

The Larger Bowl is awesome.

May 14th 2007


Album Rating: 4.0

great review, but so far this album is just ok

May 27th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

Rush did not disappoint with this release. This is the best thing I've heard from them since Power Windows.

May 27th 2007


I want to get this. Good review.

July 4th 2007


Album Rating: 3.5

I liked this, solid album. The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum) is one of Rush's best songs in a while.

Digging: Japanese Breakfast - Jubilee

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