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Album Review

Rush: Snakes & Arrows
Produced by Nick Raskulinecz and Rush
Engineered and Mixed by Richard Chycki
Assistant Engineers: Matt Snedecor, Andrew Alekel, and Scott Moore
Mastered by Brian Gardner

3 out of 5 mics

Snakes & Arrows is the 19th studio album by Rush. Snakes & Arrows is certainly a good album, but it's only better than one or two of their other releases. They seem to be holding back on this album. On their previous release, Vapor Trails, Rush was really rocking and playing balls out. The trio are amongst the best musicians on the planet, so every song they record is filled with superb playing. But Snakes & Arrows comes off as slightly tame.

I heard most of the album performed live on their most recent U.S. tour, and the songs came off much different than on the album. The new material had a much heavier sound and feel, and my fiance commented that it almost sounded like TOOL. Talk about things coming full circle.

So I suppose my main issue is not the songs themselves but the sound of the album. It's certainly a well recorded modern sounding album, but that aggression that I heard live is missing from the studio cuts. The best songs on the album are the instrumentals. They are quite adventurous and remind you why Rush is so amazing. Most of the other songs are a little wordy, and while Geddy Lee once again gives a great vocal performance you can tell he's shoe-horning a lot of words into spaces where they just don't fit. Neil Peart has always had a unique writing style, and for the most part it has always worked. The lyrics on the bulk of Snakes & Arrows seem less fluid than most of his previous writing.

The production, for me, is a little too hyped. It suffers from modern compression techniques. I know that everyone involved is an absolute pro, and they're some of the best around, but this time they just failed to nail it.