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Live your fantasy - 100%

Writhingchaos, April 30th, 2016

What. An. Album. Seriously just when you think that there’s no way in hell, Rush could possibly have any more tricks (read classics) up their sleeve, along comes this dazzling masterpiece. How the heck do they keep doing it?? Anyways enough hyperbole, let’s get down to the review. Just so you know unlike their earlier albums, this album did take a while to grow on me. But then again, that is the beauty of some of the best music out there. Only by the 4th or 5th listen will the little details reveal themselves and so on.

The amazing synths really add another magnificent layer of sound to the album as a whole and clearly without them, the album would not have the charm it did. That should be fairly evident from the very intro of “Subdivisions” including the almost speculatively mournful midsection at 2:15. For those of you who think they are too ‘cheesy’ and don’t belong in metal, kindly stop reading right now and don’t bother. Also the first thing that jumps out at you is that there is much more to this album than straightforward prog rock as all of you know, Rush left that approach behind on their last album Moving Pictures in any case. Sufficient to say, if you’re still expecting more of the same this time, you’ll be quite disappointed. However if you’re willing to broaden your horizons and give this album a chance, you will be rewarded. Of course, repeated listening is the key. I for one am more than happy with the new direction their music took. As other reviewers have already pointed out before, there are hints of pop, new wave music and reggae (“The Digital Man”) which works marvellously enhancing the diversity of the music even more. The emphasis is more on to-the-point rockers on a song-by-song basis rather than sprawling progressiveness of their previous era. Instead prog is one of the ingredients of this dish compared to being the main component of the music. Also rather than being used separately on their previous album, Rush have integrated both the guitar and the synths/keys into a powerhouse of a rhythm section along with the groovy spiralling drumming providing a lot of syncopation.

Every single song has something special be it the epic chorus of “The Analog Kid” (“You move me” part is just fucking epic) the simple complexity of “Chemistry” the amazing melodic intro of “The Weapon” played out again in the chorus and the lovely vocal lines of “New World Man”. If you look at it in terms of progressiveness, yeah sure it doesn’t touch their previous albums, but in terms of sheer enjoyment and replay ability the album does stand proudly with the giants. Geddy Lee’s vocals sound different (in a good way) with him exploring the greater depth of his mid-range instead of his high pitched vocals on the previous albums making for some gorgeous and lush vocal harmonies and arrangements. Even the lyrics are way better than anything I’ve heard from the genre in a while being both introspective and simple, yet driving the point home. Take a look at these lyrics from “Losing It”. Heartbreakingly true about most of our lives, just getting stuck in the wheels of society on a daily basis, being unable to think about what we really want for ourselves. Hands down, one of the best songs on the album.

Some are born to move the world
To live their fantasies
But most of us just dream about
The things we'd like to be
Sadder still to watch it die
Than never to have known it
For you, the blind who once could see
The bell tolls for thee...

If you are a newbie to the sound of Rush or just an open-minded rock/metal fan, this would be a good place to start. A fantastic and unique album that truly grows on you with every listen. Highly recommended.