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The Owl reviews every Rush album

The Owl

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And one day before Clockwork Angels, is when I reach the penultimate review of this thread....




Snakes & Arrows










- Track #1: Far Cry


What a powerful kickoff to a great song and ultimately a mostly great album... the power and intensity of the opening unison and into the riff makes a Rush fan very happy. The song maintains the intensity throughout the album culminating into a fantastic finish...honestly one of the best opening tracks Rush has put forward, and a great set of lyrics dosen't hurt either.




- Track #2: Armor & Sword


We continue on towards another great track, I am gonna refrain from discussing the polarizing lyrics (from this song and the rest) in great deatil, until my final review section, but I will suffice to say that I really love them here. Musically the intensity dies down a bit, but builds and dips very well through the track. Satisfying the main problem with Vapor Trails, non redundant music... I love the dropped guitar mixed with the acoustic, wonderfully crafted, wonderfully written... while not my favorite of the album, I will say that this is the best track on the record...



- Track #3: Workin' Them Angels


This track keeps up the momentum slightly as with the previous 2 tracks, but does not carry the umph that Far Cry, and A&S had. Not a bad thing exactly, and kind of works in the albums favor.. I like that the guitar is brought back up and makes this feel a bit lighter than the previous track, and is very fitting with the lyrics. What really excels in this track is a great mixture of sounds and instrumentation in the track... The (I thinks is's a ) mandolin solo exemplifies this, and it's good to be able to see Alex branch out a bit in his selection of instruments as well, a very good song... not as good as the opening 2 tracks, but a track that keeps the album moving



- Track #4: The Larger Bowl


This track is a bit odd, very different from what we've seen the boys do, and it was a gamble to put a song like this on the album, and I know some don't like this track, but I do, for the most part. The lyrical arrangement a pantoum is utilized well. Geddy's "WOOAAAAs" in this song are not the best, and the song can get slightly repetitive. Both musically and lyrically (given the song style, it's hard to avoid)... but is made up with a great solo. Overall a very decent song, far from a classic, but pretty good nonetheless.



- Track #5: Spindrift


A very eerie song, reminiscent of "Witch Hunt" at the start gives the album a slight breath of air and exhale before going right back into some intensity. I love the tone of this track, keeping in that deep and ominous vibe that started the song, very complementary of the lyrics, accentuated as well as by Alex's sometimes haunting guitar. However Geddy's performance so far on this album has been fantastic, but I am not the biggest fan of the vocal arrangement on this piece, but is a very small gripe and does not take away from my enjoyment of this song too much. Another great track overall..



- Track #6: The Main Monkey Business


It's been a long while since we've had an instrumental of this caliber. The instrumentals during the 90s and early 2000s, ranged from decent/likable to good, but nothing I would call utterly fantastic. TMMB finally reaches that in which I expect a Rush instrumental to be. This track, ever shifting, rich and layered, and expertly played by all involved is what I've been waiting to hear for a while. It's not YYZ, nor La Villa, but is worthy of mentioning in the same sentence... great job boys..



- Track #7: The Way the Wind Blows


Gonna lay this all out right here, this has been since this album was released my favorite track on the record. This song screams emotion, from Alex's power chords at the beginning, to the lyrics, fantastic builds, and satisfying chorus...etc "Breathtaking" would be an apt word. The instrumentation and use of and when to use certain instruments is fantastically utilized. A personal high point for the album comes when the song goes quiet suddenly towards the end when the line "Like a solitary pine, on a bare and weathered shore....." and escalates into pure musical bliss and a fantastic conclusion.



- Track #8: Hope


Its a tribute to Alex's ability to convey so many emotions into a 2 minute acoustic solo, but WOW.... This short instrumental does what many cannot over the course of an entire album. The only bad thing to say about this track is that it could have been a bit longer... Blown away..



- Track #9: Faithless


It's hard to discuss this song without going directly to the lyrics, and again I intend to save lyric discussion until the end, but once again, I on a personal level really love this song on a lyrically. Musically the song is good, but not the best of the album, and of all the tracks is the most straightforward. There is great acoustic and electric work done, as well as a great solo, but I find other than the instrumental break that the bass is lost in the mix for most of the track... but still overall a good track, IMO



- Track #10: Bravest Face


We finally get to a track that I am somewhat hesitant towards. It's not too bad but I would defiantly would consider it somewhat mediocre.. Not a bad song, but on all levels lyrically, and musically does not do to much for me. The lyrics and vocal structure are somewhat quirky, and the bluesy rock vibe does not complement them much either. It certainty is not bad, but considering how this album has been playing, it falls short of those standards, but I admit if this had been on an earlier album it would have fair better..



- Track #11: Good News First


We reach my least favorite album on the track. And as with the previous track I could repeat alot of the same things I said of it. This song, once again not bad, but very mediocre, just never did it.. I don't like the vocal structure during the verses, the dragging sound of the singing kills the song.. though the bridge is very good. Musically the song is a tad better than the previous, but is slightly more repetitive... overall the song just never struck that rememberable notion that the other songs have... some might differ, but that's me



-Track #12: Malignant Narcissism



GO, GEDDY GO.. wow talk about tearing it up... this song is for the most part for Geddy that "Hope" was for Alex... just a showcase... not a bad thing in any sense, and while it features the entire band this time around, and some excellent playing by both Alex and Neil, does not overshadow what is paramount here and that is Geddys superior bass chops... great job Dirk



- Track #13: We Hold On


We get ready to close out this album with a fairly decent album closer. Musically it regains the power from the first half of the album, and with an inspirational lyrical message. It's not as some other album closers in Rush's catalogue, but betters than others as well. While far from my favorite, and not the most memorable track, does work well here... A pretty good closer to for the most part a fantastic album...






---------------------------------Overall Thoughts/Final Review-----------------------------



Wooo, what a ride we get to the final review of this thread (more on this point a bit later)...and what a way to end it.. I love Snakes and Arrows.. It fixes almost all the problems I had with Vapor Trails, and excels into areas Rush has not achieved in over a decade and a half. Musically this album is very fantastic for the most part. Each song musically has it's own identity, there is great musical diversity in both the instrument selection and arrangement. This allows each member is allowed shine at different moments on the record, each one giving their own fantastic performance both at individual times both alone and together as a band..


The latter 3rd of the album however could have been better.. Alot of the intensity in both the playing and arrangement seemed to have been spent in the first part of the album, leading to a somewhat lackluster last 3rd when compared to the earlier tracks.. This album clocking in at over an hour really shows it's length during these moments and is to be said could have been done without.. parts during the end of the album, while they do have moments that are good, could somewhat be considered filler to extend album length..


And Finally the elephant in the room (there seems to be one of these at least on every album, did a pack escape from a zoo?), and that is the polarizing lyrical direction of this album, some of you absolutely hate this album because of it, and some hate it... I personally am of the former group of people. And while alot of the album, such as with songs like "Armor and Sword", "Spindrift", and "The Way the Wind blows" are certainty critical of religious matters, and it's effects in politics...etc there is, I feel a positive slant towards Neil's message as well.. On a personal level this album came out at the right time for me as I was dealing with my own reflections on faith at the time of this album's release as well... and I do feel a connection with this album that I, on my own personal level love, and I think alot can say the same... And while the lyrics might not suit your fancy, I do not think they could be considered "bad" lyrics.....


Anyhoo, for the final album review of this thread (I will talk about my plans for Clockwork Angels tomorrow), I award "Snakes and Arrows






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Snakes and Arrows above Counterparts and VT? booooooooooo tongue.gif
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QUOTE (Dscrapre @ Jun 12 2012, 12:41 AM)
Good review but you should probably do a little bit of proofreading.

Yeah, I know I need to proofread, but as I stated earlier, I am writing these as I listen to the album, and doing what I can with a somewhat divided attention. Thanks for the feedback though.

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QUOTE (The Owl @ Jun 12 2012, 08:11 AM)
QUOTE (Dscrapre @ Jun 12 2012, 12:41 AM)
Good review but you should probably do a little bit of proofreading.

Yeah, I know I need to proofread, but as I stated earlier, I am writing these as I listen to the album, and doing what I can with a somewhat divided attention. Thanks for the feedback though.


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Great reviews man! I think I'll relisten to SnA now as a result of your glowing review. I never really got into it much especially the 2nd half. I love vapor trails, especially The Stars look down and Out of the Cradle. Geddy's voice is at the top of it's game on this album.
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