Snakes & Arrows World Premiere
According to an article on fmqb.com, a radio special called "Inside Rush: Snakes & Arrows - A World Premiere Event" will air on radio stations around the country between April 27 and May 1. Call and e-mail your local rock station and encourage them to air this special in your area.
Another Snakes & Arrows Review
Nothing concentrates the mind better than having to review a new Rush album after just one solitary play. And after this playback at Atlantic Records HQ in Kensington I was left breathless, if not stunned by the sheer power of an album that stylistically throws in the proverbial kitchen sink.
I suppose after such an enduring and varied musical career, it's not surprising that Rush have gone back to their Proggy musical roots. And with former Foo Fighters Alex Raskulinecz at the controls, the band are given a free reign to indulge their musical excesses, as they stretch out and jam in a post Zeppelin heavy duty deluge that manifests itself in a stunning wall of sound.
Aside from a high in the mix raucous drum sound and some complex arrangements, vocalist Geddy Lee's successfully uses his impressive high range to give full meaning to Neil Peart's esoteric lyrics. Where once there was a thin high register vocal line, there is now a more mature vocalist whose phrasing puts him up there with Robert Plant in his element.
'Snakes & Arrows' opens with the new single 'Far Cry', which after a big, powerful staccato drum intro opens into a slice of melodic hard rock with a lilting chorus. 'A Far Cry' is much more accessible than much of the rest of the album and sets the standard with a belated chorus that stays in the mind long after the conclusion of the song.
The following 'Armor & Sword' features some of Peart's best lyrics, and might be regarded as a metaphor for both personal faith and contemporary world events. The line, 'Our better natures seek elevation, A refuge for the coming night, No One gets to their heaven without a fight', seems to be a personal reflection but can be taken as a wry comment on our times, while 'The suit of shining armor, becomes a keen and bloody sword', is an uncompromising analysis of the machinations of religion and faith.
'Working Them Angels' employs a big wall of sound and is punctuated by urgent time changes which build up a tension that is finally resolved by the 'Working them angels-Overtime' line. 'The Large Bowl' is a more radio friendly affair and is one of the highlights of the album. Opening with an acoustic guitar and a vocal line that recalls Mark Bolan, the hook has a hypnotic quality about it, before Alex Lifeson delivers a trademark solo.
There's more of the evocative big sweep wall of sound on 'Spindrift'. The song cleverly uses natural elements in the lyrics as metaphors and delivers big booming chords and a heavy duty rhythm track topped by some lovely bass notes and jangling guitar.
Guitarist Alex Lifeson sounds a little like U2's The Edge as the band use an ascending chord sequence and a stop time rhythm before plunging back into an explosion of riffs. 'Spindrift' impresses if only for the fact that Rush manage to make the music conjure up the lyrical imagery.
'The Main Monkey Business' is the first and certainly the most impressive of three instrumental outings. It's interesting to see what Rush make of a piece that doesn't have to accommodate the lyrics, and the result is a guitar-led motif with a vaguely Celtic/Zeppelin sounding feel, and a real sense of presence and controlled power. The mid-section slips into a Space Rock outing that resolves itself in a Prog Metal oeuvre as layers of keyboards beef up the melody line.
'Monkey Business' is both coherent, powerful and delivers a polished production without ever losing the essential band dynamic. Another drum intro graces 'The Way the Wind Blows' before giving way to a surprising heavy duty bluesy guitar led shuffle. If anything there are elements of Jethro Tull's soft Metal period of the late 80's with the song's poignant lyrics about the pseudo East/West religious divide glued together by repeated heavy guitar riffs, some belated space rock elements, and impressive vocal swoops. The second instrumental 'Hope' is a pleasant if unchallenging acoustic link piece with a Eastern, almost sea shanty feel, while 'Faithless' is an impressive return to the lyrical raison d'etre of the album. The line 'I've got my own moral compass to steer by' neatly summarises the song's meaning, and it is essentially a simple outing that derives an anthemic quality from some big production trappings that include the use of a mellotron. If 'Faithless' is another high point of the album then 'Bravest Face' continues the upwards curve, with its acoustic intro, some complex crunching chords, and impressive lyrics that dwell on the nature of mankind's duality.
'Good News First' doesn't work as well, with the high register vocals struggling manfully to unravel the lyrical meaning over another big production wall of sound. Curiously enough the sometimes impenetrable nature of the previous track adds lucidity to the following hard hitting rocked out instrumental 'Malignant Narcissism'. This short piece of guitar drenched Space Rock works really well and even finds time for some impressive bass and drum breaks.
The closing 'We Hold On' is the perfect kind of powerful and coherent outing to finish with and features soaring vocals, feverish guitar, a pounding rhythm track and a strong chorus.
'Snakes & Arrows' is a powerful album which in striving to be contemporary is possibly a little heavier and a touch more cluttered than it needed to be. Neil Peart's heartfelt lyrics are impressive throughout, and Geddy Lee's vocals suggest a new maturity. Above all the band find room to jam out enthusiastically, but in occasionally over egging the arrangements and sometimes falling in between the Prog Rock, Space Rock and melodic Metal genres, 'Snakes & Arrows' might be a CD that seeks to consolidate rather than break new ground.
Review by Pete Feenstra
Snakes & Arrows Tour Dates
The Snakes & Arrows Tour has been announced. Pre-sales for a bunch of shows start tomorrow, 03.27, with general on sale dates for the same shows on Saturday, 03.31. Check the musictoday.com pre-sale site and ticketmaster.com for more info. Here's the complete run down on the itinerary.
June 13th - Atlanta, GA - HiFi Buys Amphitheatre
June 15th - West Palm Beach, FL - Sound Advice Amph
June 16th - Tampa, FL - Ford Amph
June 18th - Charlotte, NC - Verizon Wireless Amph
June 20th - Raleigh, NC - Walnut Creek Amph
June 22nd - Virginia Beach, VA - Verizon Wireless amph
June 23rd - Bristow, VA - Nissan Pavilion
June 25th - Pittsburgh, PA - Post Gazette Pavilion
June 27th - Boston, MA - Tweeter Center
June 29th - Scranton, PA - Toyota Pavilion
June 30th - Saratoga Springs, NY - SPAC
July 2nd - Wantaugh, NY - Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
July 4th - Buffalo, NY - Darien Lake
July 6th - Camden, NJ - Tweeter Center
July 8th - Holmdel, NJ - PNC Bank Arts Center
July 9th - Uncasville, CT - Mohegan Sun Arena
July 18th - Calgary, AB - Pengrowth Saddledome
July 20th - Seattle, WA - White River Amphitheater
July 21st - Portland, OR - The Amphitheater at Clark County
July 23rd - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Bowl
July 25th - Irvine, Ca - Verizon Wireless Amph
July 27th - Phoenix, AZ - Cricket Pavilion
July 28th - Las Vegas, NV - MGM Grand Garden Arena
July 30th - Coors Amphitheatre
Aug 1 - San Francisco, CA - Shoreline Amph
Aug 3 - Concord, CA - Sleep Train Pavilion
Aug 4 - Sacramento, CA - Sleep Train Amph
Aug 6 - Salt Lake City, UT - USANA Amph
Aug 8 - Denver, CO - Red Rocks Amph
Aug 11 - Dallas, TX - Smirnoff Music Center
Aug 12 - San Antonio, TX - Verizon Wireless Amph
Aug 14 - Houston, TX - Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Aug 23 - Kansas City, MO - Verizion Wireless Amph
Aug 24 - St. Louis, MO - Verizon Wireless Amph
Aug 26 - Indianapolis, IN - Verizon Wireless Amph
Aug 28 - Detroit, MI - DTE Energy Music Theatre
Aug 30 - Cleveland, OH - Blossom Music Center
Sept 1 - Cincinnati, OH - Riverbend Music Center
Sept 2 - Columbus, OH - Germain Amph
Sept 6 - Milwaukee, WI - Marcus Amph
Sept 8 - Chicago, IL - First Midwest Bank Amph
Sept 9 - St. Paul, MN - Xcel Energy Center
Sept 12 - London, ON - John Labatt Centre
Sept 14 - Quebec City, PQ - Colisee de Quebec
Sept 15 - Montreal, PQ - Bell Centre
Sept 19 - Toronto, ON - Air Canada Centre
Sept 21 - Ottawa, ON - ScotiaBank Place
Oct 3 - Glasgow, Scotland - SECC
Oct 5 - Newcastle, England - Metro Radio Arena
Oct 6 - Scheffeld, England - Hallam FM Arena
Oct 9 - London, England, Wembley Arena
Oct 10 - London, England, Wembley Arena
Oct 11- Brimingham, England, NEC Arena
Oct 14 - Manchester, England - MEN Arena
Oct 16 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Ahoy
Oct 17 - Rotterdam, Netherlands - Ahoy
Oct 19 - Oberhausen, Germany - Arena
Oct 21 - Mannheim, Germany - SAP Arena
Oct 23 - Milan, Italy - Forum Arena
Oct 26 - Oslo, Norway, Spektrum
Oct 27 - Stockholm, Sweden, Globe Arena
Oct 29 - Helsinki, Finland - Hartwell Arena
The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum)
The first Snakes & Arrows review below mentioned the song The Larger Bowl along with a sub-title of A Pantoum. It will be interesting to see the lyrics for the song based on the definition of pantoum. Seems that Neil may be having some fun with words again a la Anagram from Presto.
The pantoum is a rare form of poetry similar to a villanelle.
It is composed of a series of quatrains; the second and fourth lines of each stanza are repeated as the first and third lines of the next.
This pattern continues for any number of stanzas, except for the final stanza, which differs in the repeating pattern.
The first and third lines of the last stanza are the second and fourth of the penultimate; the first line of the poem is the last line of the final stanza, and the third line of the first stanza is the second of the final. Ideally, the meaning of lines shifts when they are repeated although the words remain exactly the same: this can be done by shifting punctuation, punning, or simply recontextualizing.
A villanelle is a poetic form which entered English-language poetry in the 1800s from the imitation of French models. A villanelle has only two rhyme sounds, and the first and third lines of the first stanza are rhyming refrains that alternate as the third line in each successive stanza and form a couplet at the close. A villanelle is nineteen lines long, consisting of five tercets and one concluding quatrain.
Snakes & Arrows - DVD Album?
According to a post on the Power Windows web site, Snakes & Arrows may be one of the first albums to be released on Warner Music's new "DVD Album" format.
Announced by Warner Music last August, in an age where fans will spend $3.00 to buy a ring tone but won't spend $12 to buy a CD, record companies are trying to find new ways to entice fans to buy the album. Not to be confused with the DualDisc format, this will be a fully interactive DVD, and will include the album in 5.1 surround sound, as well as a ~43 minute "making of" video, cell phone ringtones, wallpapers, text, and other digital extras that can only be accessed via computer, including the ability to extract the album tracks onto the users computer for use in mp3 players, etc. The limited edition will retail in the area of $24, while the CD version will be around $12.
The downside is, the limited edition may not be ready in time for the pre-announced May 1st release date. Accordingly, WEA is kicking around keeping the CD release on May 1st while releasing the special edition two weeks later (as some online retailers currently have it listed). The other option is to delay the release of both editions until May 15th, so fans who can't wait do not feel obligated to buy the CD version first, followed by the limited edition two weeks later. WEA would like to avoid this second option, however, as this is the same release date as the new Linkin Park album and would thus compete for sales.
First Snakes & Arrows Review
The first review of the new album has been published by UK music journalist Dave Ling.
Yesterday afternoon was occupied by a playback of Rush's new album. Given the paranoia that exists about downloading, this was the UK media's only chance to hear 'Snakes & Arrows' before its release date of April 30. I'd been dying to hear it, unlike the representative of Kerrang! that read a book for pretty much the entire 63 minutes, disappeared for a piss halfway through and f**ked off before the last song ended. Okay, I know Rush's current standing at K! Towers probably lies somewhere beneath Panic! At The Disco, Job For A Cowboy or Aiden - altogether... WHO?! - but I admit, this person's disprespect shocked me, especially as Pegi Cecconi from the Rush office was in the room at the time.
Anyway, 'Snakes & Arrows' is a vast improvement upon the Canadian trio's last album. I'll be frank, 2002's 'Vapor Trails' did very little for me. This time the band have gone heavier (very heavy in places!), with guitarist Alex Lifeson being let off the leash. Opening track (and first single) 'Far Cry' is probably the best song, being reminiscent of the band's 'Permanent Waves' album. But generally speaking, it's extremely strong throughout. Hugh Syme's artwork is excellent as ever, visualising a theme that seems to run through some of the songs; the elements. 'Spindrift', for instance, uses pounding instrumental parts to re-create waves crashing in on the western shore. 'The Larger Bowl (A Pantoum)', meanwhile, picks up where the 'Hemispheres'-era track 'Circumstances' left off with its couplet of: "Some of us live in a cloud of fear/Some live behind iron gates". In the vaguest possible way, Rush also pay lip service to the differences between the Middle East and Middle West in 'The Way The Wind Blows', which features the telling line of "Pray... and pass the ammunition" and a great solo from Lifeson. The best compliment that you could pay Peart's words is that they're thoughtful without being stuffy. The album, too, is heavy, but falls short of being one dimensional. You're gonna like it, I'm sure.
Tour Announcement 03.26.07
According to an e-mail from rush.com, the Snakes & Arrows tour will be announced on Monday, March 26. Pre-sales will once again be handled by musictoday.com. Here is the official link for pre-sale info - http://www.rush.musictoday.com/Rush/calendar.aspx.
Snakes & Arrows News
Most, if not all, of this won't be new to any die hard fan. Just wanted to summarize what we know about Snakes & Arrows as of now.
- The CD will be released on May 1, 2007 and was co-produced by RUSH and Nick Raskulinecz.
- There are 13 tracks, three of which are reported to be instrumentals. The track list is: Far Cry, Armor And Sword, Workin' Them Angels, The Larger Bowl, Spindrift, The Main Monkey Business, The Way The Wind Blows, Hope, Faithless, Bravest Face, Good News First, Malignant Narcissism, We Hold On
- Far Cry is the first single. It is available for streaming at rush.com and can be purchased from the major online music stores.
The New Site
Welcome to the new Rushable Kingdom web site. I've given the place a new coat of paint for the pending release of Snakes & Arrows. I imagine I'll be tweaking it some once all the art for the new album is revealed. The Today In RUSH History feature has been moved to its own page and a blog now resides on the homepage to keep up with all the latest RUSH news. Links to the various sections of the site are in the nav to the right. I'm still moving the Tour Dates section over to the new format so that section isn't online right now. Let me know what you think of the new site and definitely let me know if you find any bugs in my code.