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Test for Echo

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Rush, Test for Echo

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  • With Test For Echo, Rush continued to pursue a heavier direction with their music. Alex Lifeson’s guitar tone was a little rougher this time around and the songs are more centered around his riffs as the keyboards are kept to a minimum. While the songs overall aren’t as strong as on Counterparts and there isn’t an instant classic here, most of the tracks are very solid and as usual the band continue to impress musically.

    As stated earlier, many of the tracks here are centered around Lifeson’s guitar riffs with the best of those being “Time And Motion”, “Virtuality”, and the excellent “Driven” in which Geddy Lee doubles the riff with his bass. Another great track here and one that often gets overlooked is the melodic “Totem” which features a strong background vocal hook behind Neil Peart’s lyrics. While Peart’s drumming is strong throughout, particularly on the title track, it’s his lyrics which shine on this release, especially on “Half The World” and “Dog Years.” Geddy Lee’s bass playing is a little busier than usual and his lead vocals on “Dog Years” and the ballad “Resist” are among his best. The instrumental “Limbo” and the title track are both very good with the latter bouncing equally between heavy and subdued. The remaining tracks “The Color of Right” and “Carve Away The Stone” are decent as well. Overall, not among their best work but still very good.

    Posted on January 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • These reviews have pretty much hit the nail right on the head in terms of what this album is – or isn’t -, but I’ll be the first to admit this album is an acquired taste. For me, this was probably the most difficult Rush album to truly pick up on and appreciate since Caress of Steel. The songs are not nearly as catchy as their predecessors, and they don’t have a traditional Rush feel. What Test For Echo has that the other albums do not, however, is a grandiose display of the true talent of the band. This album, more than any other, shows how talented this trio can really be. The actual structures of the songs are surprisingly deep, with each instrument contributing in superb ways, with some exceptional harmonies to accompany Geddy’s singing (which, I may add, is his best on any Rush album). This album is best described as an album that musicians can truly appreciate, and not for the casual listener.

    Posted on January 16, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • First of all, many people consider TFE as the weakest Rush album of the 90s, but all three (Roll the Bones, Counterparts, and TFE) are wonderful albums. While TFE is not as easily accessible as the other two, it has profound subject matter (as always with rush) and the writing on the band’s part is great. Unlike other albums that this band does, TFE is better to listen to as a whole than as individual tracks. People look at “Half the World” and “The Color of Right” as filler tracks, but when listened to with the rest of the album, they help the music flow and create musical bridges between the melodies and lyrics. Overall, this is a great album all around and everyone should hear it at some point in their life.

    1) Test for Echo – great opener; it does get long after awhile but it is a fun track (9.5/10)

    2) Driven – Better live than on the album, it doesn’t fit well with the surrounding tracks (8.5/10)

    3) Half the World – Very fun lyrics, it is a catchy melody. Standard 90s song (8.5/10)

    4) Color of Right – Another catchy melody, this one is heavier and better though (9.5/10)

    5) Time and Motion – I love when Rush changes the Time Signature all the time 5/4 to 3/4…Yes, a heavy track! (8.5/10)

    6) Totem – Back to the major key. Great relief of stress after Time and Motion (9/10)

    7) Dog Years – No matter how many times I listen to this one, i can never catch on to it, its a good melody though (7.5/10)
    8) Virtuality – This is a very fun song, it is fun to play too. If u like interesting chord structures, u’d love this track (9/10)

    9) Resist – Wonderful Bridge track! It gets the listener thinking that the album is almost over. Its still better acoustic, though (9.5/10)

    10) Limbo – I LOVE RUSH’S INSTRUMENTALS!!! This is another good one. They don’t need lyrics, they tell a well enough story with just their instruments. Best song on the album (10/10)

    11) Carve Away the Stone – Another song with an interesting time signature change, I think Resist would’ve been a better end to the album, but this works too. (8/10)

    Posted on January 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Rush has much to be admired for. They still continue to make progressive rock, evolving and growing with each release.

    This album seems to flow in a hard-edged, straightforward fashion, yet there are still complex arrangements, particularly Alex Lifeson’s guitar parts.

    The title track starts off things in a somber, yet energetic way. “Driven” is one of my favorite Rush tracks featuring heavy riffs and catchy chorus’. As usual, Neil Peart’s lyrics never disappoint. “Half The World” is one of the most melodic tracks on here, giving this track, as well as many on the album a “worldly” sound to match the “aiming for higher horizons” artwork. “The Color Of Right” is probably the most pop oriented on here. “Time And Motion” is dark, aggressive and complex, featuring a rhythm in 10/8, and bringing reminiscence to such Rush-influenced progressive metal bands as King’s X and Tool.

    “Totem,” while airy/ethereal, is also catchy. “Dog Years,” despite the corny title, is one of the hardest rocking tunes on here. The lyrics as usual ARE thought-provoking (“Dog Years/For Every Sad Son of A…..) seem to ring true. “Virtuality” is a funky hard rocker, reminding me of Living Colour. The lyrics I find rather charming, which are about the internet experience (communication without faces or voices). “Resist” is very poignant, deep and arguably the most impressive in terms of combining lyrics and music. Geddy Lee’s vocals are very moving (I’m not joking!). “Limbo” is an instrumental in the Rush tradition. It starts with water drops followed by Geddy Lee’s funky bass playing. From there, it becomes hard rocking. Once again, reminding me of Living Colour. Also, check out Geddy’s echoing voice. “Carve Away The Stone” ends the album perfectly with some complex arrangements, poignant guitar/vocal harmonics and great lyrics.

    Overall, Rush continues to progress in their long career, and this is another jewel in the Rush anthology.

    Posted on January 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now
  • Almost everyone who hears a new Rush studio album in the 90’s refers to it as “the best since Moving Pictures”. Although that may be true, I feel that is an unfair statement, because it dismisses all of the work they released in between, many of which were fine works (Roll The Bones, Presto, Grace Under Pressure, and Signals[still my favorite]), as irrelevant in the continuing evolution of this band. Rush has always used a “clean slate” approach with each new project, creating work that is true to their convictions, and in tune with the times. If they had stood pat and attempted to recreate “Moving Pictures” every time they returned to the studio, they would have disappeared like so many other bands that came along, had their 15 minutes of fame, then faded into oblivion.Back to the subject at hand. Test For Echo, while not Rush’s greatest work, is still a very solid offering. It continues the more organic musical approach evident during the Counterparts sessions.The use of an American mixing enginneer (Andy Wallace) gives this record a more “alternative” sound, dirtier and less processed. Alex Lifeson’s guitars are much more dominant in the mix and have a rawer sound. Geddy Lee’s bass work, while it has always been stellar, has reached a new dimension with his experimentations with dropped tunings. And Neil Peart, drummer extraordinare, is excellent, as always. The work he invested in the reinvention of his style definitely paid off. He really grooves here, more than ever before, and his fills are more creative than ever. Let’s hope this is not the last testament from Neil (or the band, for that matter) and pray that he finds the inner strength to begin again after the tragedies he has been dealt. For us who have recognized how talented these three musicians really are, it would be tragic for us to have this album become their “swan song”.Standout tracks here: The title track, “Driven” and “Virtuality”, two of their heaviest songs in the past 15-20 years, “Half The World” (which should have garnered more attention as a single), “Resist”, a moving ballad which for me conjures memories of “Losing It” (from Signals), and “Time And Motion”, a song that proves Rush can still display their prog-rock chops and do it within the parameters of a five minute song. Great time signature shifts within this song, tasteful Peart fills, and a killer Lifeson riff.If this is your first Rush purchase, do not make it your last. There are many other works of theirs that I recommend for you: Counterparts, because it is a good companion piece to this that defines Rush’s sound for the 90’s. For those who like what they hear on Test For Echo, and want something from the 80’s in their collection, Permanent Waves, Moving Pictures, and Signals are musts. The music is more complex on these discs, but contain songs that will never leave the radio.Grace Under Pressure is an album you might want to check out if you want to own the one that seems to be the bridge between “heavy” Rush and “light” Rush. Even with the heavier reliance on keyboards and electronic percussion, there is still some great Lifeson guitar work on here. Then if you want to check out Rush at their prog-rock finest (the late 70’s), start with either A Farewell To Kings or Hemispheres. If you then want a representation of Rush live, go straight to the latest, Different Stages. Skip the other live sets, for they do not truly sound “live”, plus the third disc here (from ‘78) is a true gem.I hope that Test For Echo is not the last testament of Rush. For the music world, it would be tragic if it came to be.

    Posted on January 15, 2010 - Permalink - Buy Now