Vapor Trails by Rush

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Vapor Trails by Rush
Vapor Trails by Rush

Album Released: 2002

Vapor Trails ::: Artwork

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1.One Little Victory5:08
2.Ceiling Unlimited5:28
3.Ghost Rider5:41
4.Peaceable Kingdom5:23
5.The Stars Look Down4:28
6.How It Is4:05
7.Vapor Trail4:57
8.Secret Touch6:34
10.Sweet Miracle3:40
12.Freeze (Part Four Of 'Fear')6:21
13.Out Of The Cradle5:03


I'm usually someone who can't sit alone by himself in a quiet room. Unless I'm intensely preoccupied with something like difficult homework problems, there's almost always some sort of music coming out of my speakers.

But after listening to Rush's 17th studio album, Vapor Trails, I want to do nothing but sit in this quiet room for the next four to eight hours ... it was *that* bad.

Vapor Trails is nothing but noise, noise, noise. It was so noisy that it was noisy even when I turned the volume down, and - apart for some very brief exceptions - it never let up. This thing really drove me nuts ... enduring a 70-minute toneless blur while trying to pay as close attention to it as I could was really taxing my nerves.

Rush had a 6-year break between albums before they finally released this. I'm sure they would've liked to release more albums during that time (especially since Test for Echo proved to be such a career revitalizing work), but a string of family tragedies had kept them out of it.

So in a sense, I feel bad for having such a negative reaction to this album, when it's fortunate Rush even continued with their careers in the first place. But art is only as good as it is, and if Vapor Trails drives me up the wall, then that's the way it is.

If you're the sort of listener who likes dark and tormented guitars, and nothing but dark and tormented guitars, no matter how toneless they are - for an entire 70 minutes - then you'd might as well forget everything I'm writing immediately. I can't honestly assess what you might think of it, because your tastes would be alien to me. Even with Heavy Metal albums that I really enjoyed, such as classic Iron Maiden, although I had some inital negative reaction, they ultimately won me over with their complicated guitar riffs, catchy melodies, and tasteful arrangements. It seems that no matter what sort of music it is, I'll like it as long as it meets those fundamental requirements.

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by Reviewer: Don Ignacio (blogging at Don Ignacio's Album Reviews)

Rush had always been a band that preferred to follow the crowd - from mid-70's prog, to early-80's New Wave, to mid-80's synth/pop, to late-80's AOR, to early-90's grunge - they'd assimilated each style into their own approach to music - of playing a crapload of notes in each song.

By 2002, it had been six years since the previous Rush album, and the music scene had changed quite a bit in that time - the dominant rock-based form of popular music had shifted towards an incredibly lame style known as nu-metal. So now Rush do that, though admittedly Lee's not growling, shouting, or rapping (though he is rather shrill from time to time), the production values have been squashed (quite literally, Vapor Trails is compressed to hell), and Lifeson's guitar tone is increasingly muddy and indistinct.

These songs were plainly meant for the stage rather than the studio, as there's absolutely no dynamic to be found on the album - there's maybe 10 seconds of material that isn't played at full volume. Of course, kickin' ass is the primary function of a rock and roll concert, and that's what these songs do live (at least, that was the case when I saw the band).

On the other hand, Lee's bass still kicks ass, and Lifeson does come up with some pretty good riffs (see "Ghost Rider", for both of 'em). So the main problems with this album is the production, and its length ... 67 minutes?! Albums used to be 45 minutes for reasons other than just the limitations of vinyl.

What's more, too many of the songs here feature parts that are good and parts that are boring. And "Freeze" is the worst successor to a trilogy since The Phantom Menace. Oh well, Rush had by now been around for decades, so I guess they can't all be gems.

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by Reviewer: Cole Reviews (blogging at Cole Reviews)

This album was awaited with some apprehension by Rush fans. How could it be otherwise - it had been 6 years since the band released an album, and with Peart's tragic loss of two members of his family, people didn't have much hope that he could come back.

But the band are back with this album, along with Peart. Of course, it's not to be expected that his drumming would be of the same standard set on Permanent Waves and Moving Pictures, as anyone who's spent 5 years without playing would lose something - if I spent 5 years not playing keyboards, I'd probably forget where the C note was.

It's also not unexpected that some of Peart's lyrics would reflect his tragedies. But what's good is that they don't overflow with self-pitying crap. The lyrics talk about getting better - "Ghost Rider" in particular - that track recreates Peart's travels through Africa on his motorcycle. And other songs are lightly tinged with emotional words. How often is that expected of Peart?

But enough with that. There is one thing, ONE thing that bugs the hell out of me, and that is the album's Dynamic Compression - the sound on Vapor Trails is ridiculously compressed. What's worse, what is the point in doing that - it's not radio-friendly pop music, so there's no need to stuff the CD with loudness. If I want loud music, I'll raise the volume. Given the style of music, it makes the album sound even more samey that it already does.

Fact is though, Rush go for a harsher sound here - more rock'n'roll, more guitars, more power, more kick-arseness - thicker bass, pounding drums, lots of guitars ... if anything, Vapor Trails is more comparable to 2112 than to Moving Pictures, as far as style is concerned, but far more layered and powerful.

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by Reviewer: Fernando Canto (blogging at Sir Mustapha's Album Reviews [Defunct])