Snakes & Arrows
First Appeared in The Music Box, June 2007, Volume 14, #6
Written by John Metzger
Thu June 28, 2007, 06:00 AM CDT
At this stage of the game, one wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) expect Rush to stake out new terrain, and true to form, the band remains firmly planted within its comfort zone on its 18th studio effort Snakes & Arrows. Nevertheless, under the guiding hand of co-producer Nick Raskulinecz (Foo Fighters, Velvet Revolver), the Canadian power trio has reversed nearly two decades of diminishing returns, and it subsequently appears to be ready to reclaim its legacy.
Lurking within its 30th anniversary tour as well as its most recent endeavors (Vapor Trails and Feedback), there were plenty of hints that Rush was in the process of a career resurgence, but fans, particularly those who have strayed, undoubtedly will be surprised by how reinvigorated the group sounds on Snakes & Arrows. Like most outfits that have struggled to move forward while retaining a connection to the past, Rush found its way by weaving a path through its back catalogue. In effect, it has updated many of its older ideas by approaching them from a fresh, more mature perspective. The ensemble, for example, touches upon its early, prog-rock soundscapes during the instrumental The Main Monkey Business, and it recasts the thunderous arena-rock of Big Money as the album’s opening track Far Cry.
Snakes & Arrows’ heart and soul, however, spring from its lyrics. Within the span of a few years, Neal Peart lost his wife to cancer and his daughter in an auto accident, and so it’s a given that his songs, more than ever, would address issues of faith, spirituality, and organized religion. Intertwined with his personal ruminations, however, are commentaries about the global politics of war. In particular, Rush’s words and music fit together perfectly on The Way the Wind Blows, turning the tune into one of the more potent and urgent concoctions that it has created in ages. In the end, Snakes & Arrows won’t persuade anyone who previously had dismissed the band to come running to its defense, but it is convincing enough to re-indoctrinate at least a few of those souls who have wandered away over the course of the past 15 years.
Of Further Interest...
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2007 The Music Box