Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Rush Embraces the 80's - 93%

Metalich, June 10th, 2007

Rush returns with Signals, and launches another series of releases that will culminate after three additional albums in their third live recording Show of Hands. The first era of releases were marked by the bands drive to perform, while the second era was dominated by writing, both lyrically and musically. This new era will be dominated by the band becoming composers, with larger productions dominating their albums. On a musical level and notable for many fans was the complete change in sound – The presence of keyboards signals that the band has embraced the 80’s new wave. Further, subtle changes have taken place; epic or exotic arrangements are replaced by shorter pieces infused with larger productions.

The sound slams home, requiring mental rearrangement of what Rush is, for while the core of the band is still here, it is subtle in comparison to the changes. This is an album that, for the average metal loving listener, is designed to fail on several accounts: First, the keyboards take center stage, becoming an equal member of the band. Second, the lead guitar is mixed behind the keyboard. Lifeson’s guitar is there, but more subtle and background. The guitar solos are not as dominant to the other instruments, and even these have been replaced by keyboard solos at times. The end effect is a recipe for disaster, but despite these enigmas the compositions and performances pull through to create something that just plain works. In spite of the new wave influences, Rush wrestles the sound into something of their own that actually rocks well, surviving the test of replays due to its depth and underlying complexity (Something new wave suffered from).

Notable moments: “Subdivisions” is a driving masterpiece, and a good example of how keyboards should be used when envisioned as a full member of the band. “The Analog Kid” features Lifeson the best and with Lee flows nicely, at times sounding as if the duo were just flat out jamming. “The Weapon” continues were “Witch Hunt” left off (or will follow it) as part two of the Fear Trilogy, and is excellent with its explorations of how people, and societies, use fear against each other. “Losing It” is a great ballad, reflecting on the waning years of one’s life with a perspective on Hemmingway. Lifeson has some great guitar work with his solo. If you are going to write a ballad, this is the way to do it. Period. Finally, “Countdown” is designed full gear for commercial and video play, but I can’t help but like it. It’s an infectious song that musically and lyrically builds in symbolism and homage to the launch of a space shuttle. A bit cheesy? Yes, but also tasteful and well done. Sometimes it’s good to remember that music should be fun. Oh… And it also has a great keyboard solo for those that can appreciate it.

Light, the sound rolls and lifts in a well blended whole; there is a depth to this album that once played and released is actually quite good. The band is still rocking, moving with a fluid grace, it soars with the kind of spirit only these veterans can produce or get away with on such a style change. Lee’s bass is still great and his solos work well, if anything his playing is more dominant herein. Peart’s percussion is complex, at times subtle, but still the dominating rhythm machine. While Lifeson’s leads are drowned out his solos are still great, his imprint is still working its magic as a multi-textured part of the whole. The arrangements are excellent, the group writing pieces of music that flow with grace, the production here melding the compositions into an artistic whole, sounds and textures ebbing and rising with a craftsman detail. Once you get by the keyboards and larger production, you see eight tracks that still move with their own integrity, all stories from the group’s vision; composed and performed into a creative whole that shines with a gleam, making you believe for once that digital engineering can realize a musician’s dream.