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Snakes and Arrows

By Rush


The Music


            In this explosive new album Rush shows that they can still make powerful, worthwhile music that leans toward the cutting edge bands of the modern decade.  The album can be considered the most lyrically meaningful and musically strongest effort to come from Rush since the early eighties.  It’s also Rush’s longest album, clocking in at one hour and two minutes. The songs all follow the same theme which is based around faith and religion.  A Middle Eastern tone stands out in the guitar sound and lyrics but this new style makes for a new and very satisfying experience.  The humming by Geddy Lee in multiple songs and some of the melodic riffs by Lifeson represent this new atmosphere.  The tone can be best described as “rage against the machine-like” but just not as heavy.  The whole album theme itself can be described as a commentary on religion and its effect on people.  The album explores the concepts of war, fanaticism and pacifism. 

There are three instrumental tracks throughout the album and they all serve to reinforce the rest of the music on the album.  “The Main Monkey Business” is the longest instrumental that contains some strong but basic guitar riffs characteristic of modern rock.  The track does emphasize Peart’s drumming and the final result is one of Rush’s best instrumentals even if it does deviate from the classic instrumental style that they are so well known for.  “Hope” is the second instrumental which is an exclusively acoustic track where Lifeson is able to showcase his skill on the classical guitar.  “Hope” is actually enhanced by its placement right after “The Way the Wind Blows”.  Basically, the acoustic/electric interplay from “The Way the Wind Blows” is all brought to a relaxing conclusion in “Hope”.  The last instrumental, “Malignant Narcissism”, is my favorite of the three on the album because of the classic bass/guitar interplay.  The main “chorus” bass and the little bass riffs by Geddy Lee really make the song.  My only gripe is that it could have exceeded the 2:17 track time.

The astonishing thing about this album is the strength of all the tracks as a whole.  The main reason for the power of Snakes and Arrows is the fact that the middle of the album contains a backbone of solid songs.  The album builds up with the vague songs “Far Cry’ and “Armor and Sword”.  But the charged end of “Armor and Sword” shows you the direction that the album is going to take.  The first three songs start the album off in a crucial way and the sequence of songs, starting at “Workin’ Them Angels” and ending after “Faithless”, are also imperative to the success of the album.

While this album cannot be considered a real “concept album”, it still is brimming with deep and meaningful concepts.  Diehard fans may turn away from this album because of the obvious attempt by Rush to align themselves with the modern rock style.  Rush successfully does this and adds their own personal touch in the process.  I would recommend this album to younger Rush fans first and foremost but also to fans who don’t mind the occasional progressive (in this case, modern) twist in their music.  After all, the soul of “progressive rock” consists of experimentation and the drive for an ever changing sound.   


Track Listing

(Relative to other songs on the album)


1.      Far Cry-(7)

2.      Armor and Sword-(8)

3.      Workin’ Them Angels-(10)

4.      The Larger Bowl-(9)

5.      Spindrift-(8)

6.      The Main Monkey Business-(9)

7.      The Way the Wind Blows-(8)

8.      Hope-(8)

9.      Faithless-(8)

10.   Bravest Face-(6)

11.   Good News First-(8)

12.   Malignant Narcissism-(9)

13.   We Hold On-(7)


Presentation and Extras


(Coming Soon!)


Final Rating

(Draws from track ratings, presentation score and the overall album)






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