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A fine return, if not to form - 85%

Xeper, June 17th, 2003

Considering what Neil Peart went through prior to this recording, it's impressive that he still has his heart in his playing. Once Rush got back together and he had worked out some of his problems, they crafted this 'comeback' album of sorts. It is a little different for them. Renowned as the kings of progressive rock/metal/whatever (an idea I totally agree with), it's interesting to see that this album isn't nearly as technical or progressive as many of their earlier efforts. More straightforward songwriting seems to be the order of the day here, and it works in most places. The catchy opener One Little Victory, which comes bursting right out of the gates with Peart's propulsive double bass/snare rhythm (VERY cool drumming), and some pretty heavy riffing for them which happens to be really well-written. Though mostly verse-chorus-verse, there are some jumpy transitions here and there, and it's such a cool song that I've got no complaints. Alex Lifeson actually pulls out some surprisingly heavy and groovy riffs, particularly near the end of Peaceable Kingdom, what a badass riff! Still one of the most diversely talented guitarists out there. This is also one of my favorites on the album, with a beautiful chorus and very cleverly written lyrics, impressive stuff. Geddy Lee shines throughout with his soaring vocal melodies (he's still got it) and killer basswork, the latter of which really shows on Earthshine. Basically, strong songwriting throughout most of the album, and it's less technical and progressive for Rush, but not bad by any means. Worth checking out.