It's been quite sometime now since Rush released some new studio material. With this band, you never quite know where they will be from a songwriting standpoint. The core of their sound is always there, but there are always subtle differences with each album. For this particular album, I feel Rush feels quite comfortable as it is almost like going back to their really classic sound. But then again, the sound is much more updated obviously. For me this album starts off quite well with the first single and opening track 'Far Cry'. I think the sound is rich with some nice dynamic moments. From there, the album weakens just a bit until you get to the track 'Spindrifter'. This tune is one of my favorites of the album and shows the band in a darker sounding direction. The guitar tones sound amazing on this song. From that track forward, I really like the album. I think it picks back up and gives you that rich sounding listen that fans have been accustomed to for decades now. There are a few instrumental pieces on this album. Don't think 'YYZ' however as these new tracks are driven by a different structure. All sound good including 'Hope' which was penned and performed by Lerxst Lifeson. Well, that actually is Alex and for those who know their Rush will already be aware that it is his nickname. That particular name was used on the album 'Hemispheres' in the past. Anyway, the instrumentals are good on this release. From a style standpoint, it's definitely Rush. It's not 'Moving Pictures' or '2112' obviously. I would say this album is a little less accessible then either of those two. It is good however and nice to see the band back at it. It is technically proficient as one would expect from these musicians and will probably do well with the Rush fans. As far as regular rock or progressive fans, I'm still betting that they will like it as well, maybe not at the same level as the diehard fans, but it definitely is a album worth checking out.
It's definitely Rush. There is no mistaking that rich sound or Geddy Lee's voice. It sounds a bit deeper then some of the bands more commercial efforts, but the quality is definitely there. It's been some time since the band offered up a new studio platter. Lets just hope it isn't another 5 years between releases. Pretty decent stuff.
Here is something I would like to see more shredders do. Make a vocal album. Milan Polak has definitely showed us in the past that he knows his chops. The side we never get to see from these guitarists is the side that showcases the songwriting in a more melodic nature. To actually slow it down and let other elements take center stage. 'Straight' does exactly that. I have to say that I like this album... quite a bit. The album opener 'Difference' gives you an idea of where this album will head. For the most part, it rocks out. 'Psychobitch' follows in a definite uptempo manner. 'Crosses' has a definite groove to it. Tends to be quite catchy. When you get to the track 'Hero' you get a nice melodic number that shows how disciplined Polak is with this release and the songwriting. This album is about the songs and by the time you get to this point, you definitely realize this. That isn't to say that Polak has abandoned shredding altogether on this record. There are some really good guitar solos on this album. It just isn't the focus of where he wanted this record obviously. The big question for me is if this one will be a one off or whether he will mix it up in the future and do a little bit of both on a more consistent basis. With as much as I like this record, he has proven to me to have enough versatility to be able to play in either ballpark equally. I hope this is what he does. I have to say personally that I enjoy this record a bit more then the more shredding type of stuff. Where you aren't totally missing the guitar solos, but you are gaining the vocal possibilities and branching out, it provides balance to the overall picture which I think is healthy. I like just about everything on the album. It has a nice vibe throughout. It is also consistent in terms of quality. If you like the way it starts out, it's a good bet you will enjoy the complete ride. One thing that I feel is worth mentioning is the fact that the album has a nice raw sound. Should translate well to the stage.
This is a very cool record. Milan Polak has showcased through a couple of instrumental albums and now feels the need to branch out with his latest release. It's a great decision as this album shows just how much we have been missing from this talented musician. He gives us bluesy vocals and very disciplined let the songs do the talking style music. I'm all for this and would like to see more shredders branch out and show us what else they have. Very nicely done!