Rush - Vapor Trails - 2002


Now it´s time for me to write, for the very first time at progVisions, a review of one of my favorite bands. I feel for Rush a special affection because they replaced Marillion as my "best band" after “Brave”. Fortunately the years along with a wider vision of progressive rock changed my mind and now I haven´t "favorite bands" but only "favorite albums". But I must admit that Rush, along with Camel, was one of those bands which, having better or worse albums, have never released a shit comparable to Tull´s “Under Wraps” or ELP´s “In the Hot Seat”. In the same way nobody can blame me for being the typical die-hard fan who is always dreaming about the golden era. Along with “Moving Pictures”, my favorite album is “Hold Your Fire” and I consider “Counterparts” or “Test For Echo” two albums with a highly acceptable quality and with the indelible Rush stamp on them.


No, I´m not gonna be a cheap prophet saying "Oh my God, I was aware of it after Lifeson´s Victor experiment and Lee´s regrettable solo album (by the way, its review rests in peace in my hard disk because I have dozens of better albums for reviewing each month)". A band is not the amount of its members separately but the symbiosis of their respective talents. Musicians who played (and plays) in great bands such as Queen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Yes, etc. have released awful solo albums.

Well, time flies and I don´t want to waste it, so let´s go for the review. It is meritorious that three musicians in their fifties still have musical inquietudes and want to explore other ways, but Lee, Lifeson and Peart have chosen the easiest way. Being three amazing musicians now they prefer to be the Godfathers of alternative hard rock instead of showing the world that they are the Godfathers of current progressive metal.

The sound is carefully "dirtied" and distorted so it seems like a deluxe alternative product. Inside the sonic mess of "One Little Victory" (5:08) we can listen to some, few, fragments of the early Rush among a storm of riffs a la Iommi. But this is not the exception.. tracks such as "Ceiling Unlimited" (5:28), "How It Is" (4:05) approaches the sound of Rush to bands as the pathetic Weezer instead of remaining to the granite progressive band we used to love. Peart seems as if he was angry with his drumkit, Lee doesn't surprise us with his brilliant skill, and Lifeson... well, the poor Alex doesn't exist. If I want to listen to hard riffs I prefer the nice fatty guitarist of Fear Factory. The rest of the tracks follow the same path and the album finishes with "Out Of The Cradle" (5:03), a song with the doubtful merit of being the worst song in the history of the band.

I can only remark "Ghost Rider" (5:41), the only moment of peace among all this mess. Perhaps "Freeze, Part Four of "Fear"" (6:21) or "The Stars Look Down" (4:28) could also be saved because they have some sounds that remains me to “Test For Echo”. But that´s all. You can do a mental abstraction trying to listen to the musicians separately (if the production allows), missing the good ol´ times and justifying the unjustifiable. This Cd is bad, very bad.


The generalizations are unjust. That´s the reason why I don´t like the guys who try to apologize with excuses such as "wow, how progressive these guys are!... they´ve evolved!". Well, then I had to be happy if they release a salsa, rap or flamenco album (if so they would be hyper progressive evolution and they´ll deserve five stars). Sorry for the irony. Well, this album is recommendable for sadomasochists, misled proghead and people without complex. Anyway it could have a positive side.. perhaps your teenager son enjoys with “Vapor Trails”, and thinking that all Rush albums have the same sound, buys “Moving Pictures” and then we have a new proghead.

Peart, Lee and Lifeson should have dissolved the band after “Different Stages”.

author - date - rating - label

Alfonso Algora - August 2002 -   - Anthem Records