is due to release their 17th studio disc "Vapor Trails" on
May 14, 2002. This is Rush's first studio disc in six years.
I have to admit, being a Rush-head myself, that I was very
excited about the release of this disc (as I am every time
Rush puts out a new record). The reason being, is that I keep
hoping that Rush will harken back to their glory days of prog
and release a disc of genuine prog material. Yeah, 'Roll The
Bones', 'Counterparts', and 'Test For Echo' (their last three
studio discs; 1991/93/96 respectively) have the occasional
prog overtone (a time change here and there, and a few good
solos), but lets face it, those discs are really just rock
records with a few progressive tendencies that, quite frankly,
don't come anywhere close to 'Hemispheres' or 'Permanent Waves'.
But, they're decent records.
Being totally aware of the continuing decline of prog elements
in Rush's music in the last ten or so years, I was prepared
for the possibility of a disc that was....well, in a word...bad.
Boy was I wrong.
The truth be known is that 'Vapor Trails' is simply horrid.
Rush has completely thrown out all of the qualities we've
come to love them for, in place of sounding current and hip.
These guys are actually trying to target the same crowd that
buys Creed and Staind (and the like) discs. Those bands record
very basic hard rock with very little musical innovation.
The fact is, is that the tunes on 'Vapor Trails' could easily
be played by guys a third their age with a third of their
Look at the stats: 13 tracks, absolutely NO keyboards, and
ONE guitar solo. The one solo that Alex Lifeson does commit
to tape is so horribly buried in the mix, the casual listener
might not even catch it. Most of the songs are in straight
4/4 time (with the occasional time change), and sound to my
trained ear as to be in roughly the same key(s), as well as
being in the same tempo. Alex Lifeson's guitar sound is the
same on just about every song (straight muddy distorted tone-no
processing) and Neal Peart sounds like he's hooked on straight
ahead beginner drumming with his atypical (bass-snare-bass-snare
It's hard to believe (really hard) that this is the same group
that recorded Rush classics like 'The Camera Eye', 'Hemispheres',
'2112' and 'Natural Science'. For god's sake, even more current
Rush material like 'Virtuality' (from 96's Test For Echo)
or 'Stick It Out' (from 93's Counterparts), catch my attention
for their sheer riffy-ness. This disc has none of that. It's
like watching off the air TV 'snow' at 4:00AM. Boring... and
very at that.
Lets face it. What draws many of us to Rush in the first place
is their ability to play the absolute hell out of their instruments.
Geddy Lee isn't really the best of vocalists. I challenge
anyone to tell me they bought a Rush disc because Geddy is
a hell of a vocalist. He really can't carry a tune, and his
vocal melodies aren't all that hot. It's the playing that
we want to hear and see. Now, with this disc, all that seems
unimportant to Rush. They'd rather play basic tunes and try
to appeal to a different listener than the ones that supported
them in the first place. It's just one big smack in the face.
Highly dissappointing. The only thing left of Rush is the
'Vapor Trails' of what they once were.
by Eric Louis)