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With the release of _Vapor Trails_, Canadian progressive rock masters Rush have reinvented themselves once again. Never content to simply rely on constantly reusing a single formula to achieve their artistic expression, not to mention their incredible commercial success, guitarist Alex Lifeson, bassist/vocalist/erstwhile keyboardist Geddy Lee and drummer/lyricist Neil Peart have returned to the standard power trio format that put them on the map in the mid-1970's, with perhaps their heaviest album ever.
_Vapor Trails_, Rush's 17th studio release in 18 years and the band's first studio release since 1996's _Test for Echo_, was received by fans with great expectation, and some mixed reviews. More than anything, the long layoff was due to personal hardships endured by drummer Neil Peart who lost his wife to cancer and his daughter to a fatal car accident within about a year of one another. Peart was so devastated by the loss of his family that this consummate drummer, who is widely renowned for his work ethic, did not pick up a drumstick for something like two years.
After Peart had recovered sufficiently from these losses, the band began writing new material, primarily by sharing tapes with one another, with a "no pressure/expectations" attitude that the process would either result in an album or not. In interviews, members of the band have stated that until a certain point, well into the writing process, the band's future was still undecided. In the course of working out the material, Geddy Lee's keyboards, which had grown from sparse use on 1977's _A Farwell to Kings_, and evolved into a dominant aspect of the bands sound by the early 1990's, were abandoned.Read more ›
They almost caught me like this once before, when they shifted their sound in the mid-1980s. I didn't (and don't) especially care for the U2-meets-Duran Duran sound they adopted at that time, but did it mean they'd 'sold out'? Let's not be silly, folks; Rush have never come within fifty miles of selling out. And whether their '80s material represented my favorite sound or not (and believe me, I'm under no illusion that Rush spend their time in the studio trying to record stuff that specifically pleases _me_), that period included some of the finest _writing_ these guys have ever done. (Their _haircuts_, on the other hand . . . well, never mind.)
Now they've shifted again -- this time after a six-year hiatus. Bassist Geddy Lee is doing a lot of chording way down there in the bottom end, and guitarist Alex Lifeson is filling about 65% of the CD with such a fuzzed-out wall of noise that it sounds like the music has been invaded by a county-sized swarm of angry killer bees. So Rush have become just another alternative band with a slightly-behind-the-trends 'grunge' sound -- right?
Sure, kids. Now go back to your Tool CDs and let the grownups listen in peace. [EDIT: I'm not knocking Tool here, as one or two commentators on this review seem to think. I like Tool. I'm just poking fun at the notion that Rush are following a trend and have become just another band in some genre or another.]
Percussionist/lyricist Neil Peart's lyrics have gotten steadily darker, more oblique, and more personal over the last two decades.Read more ›
THE DISC: (2002) 13 tracks clocking in at approximately 67 minutes. Included with the disc is a 22-page booklet containing song titles/credits, song lyrics, individual band member photos, and thank you's. Music written by Lee and Lifeson. All song lyrics by Peart. Recorded at Reaction Studios, Toronto. Label - Atlantic.
COMMENTS: I've read a lot of mixed reviews on "Vapor Trails"... and not just here on Amazon. I for one, like this album. It's no "2112", "Permanent Waves" or "Moving Pictures"... but I like the album as a whole. I also know that the years leading up to this album were difficult for the band, especially Peart. "Test For Echo" came out in 1997 to mixed reviews at best. In the same year Peart lost his wife and only child. Only a live album "Different Stages" (1999) would be released from 1998-2001. So in 2002, with Peart back on board (remarried, and a year long North American motorcycle trip covering 50,000+ miles behind him - as well as his book of the same trip now in print "Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road"), "Vapor Trails" would be the end result. The album reached #6 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart. "One Little Victory" (charted at #10) and "Secret Touch" (#25) were the only two songs to hit the US Mainstream Rock list. "Vapor Trails" has several highlights - the fast paced rocker "One Little Victory" with its thundering drums (also featured on my favorite car racing game on PS2, "Need For Speed: 2"), the melodic "Ceiling Unlimited", the lyrics from Peart's "Ghost Rider", Lifeson's guitar work on "The Stars Look Down", the cool title track, the heavy "Freeze", and the crowd favorite and semi hit "Earthshine".Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just got it today-9/10/2015!! I love it!! Awesome!! Fantastic!! Amazon is like a Xmas Wonderland!! I will be doing all of my shopping here!! Great music store!! Great!! Read morePublished 5 months ago by Thomas E Shelton
Both this and it's remixed are great in my opinion, even if they have their own cons, but worth owning including the remix as will.Published 8 months ago by William
I like this little Canadian band :-) Had to fill my collection.Published 11 months ago by Dayle Martin
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It's happening! :-) It turns out that the remixes on "Retrospective 3" turned out so well that the band is going to remix and re-release Vapor Trails the way it was originally supposed to sound in the first place! From this link that features a link to the "Modern Guitars"... Read More
Sep 5, 2009 by Mark Baum | See all 6 posts