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.