February 16, 1992
By Cheryl Harris
Less Confined – More Focused
Toronto-based Rush will most definitely be saved a place in rock history. Throughout their eighteen-year union they have constantly been on the cutting edge of rock, often establishing their own genre of music.
But this is no two-bit band who have had to hit the public with their new work via the small venues. Rush, surprisingly, always packs the big venues with their predominately male fan base. In addition, it seems that each new release shows the band practically writing the book on that which they excel at - experimentation.
Seldom does a band emerge which manages to possess that experimental persona and still maintain their credibility.
Neal Peart is one of the most competant lyricists in today's market. He has helped pave the way for the Rush sound, molding the rock/metal community into an intelligent entity —lest the fluffy glam acts take over. Yet they've made a few mistakes along the way, just like everyone else, with a somewhat pointless fantasy period a few years back. After breaking out of that phase, Rush began working toward the technically complex, computer driven sounds they were known for in the mid-eighties.
Relying heavily on computer-enhanced music, the late eighties found Rush layering their sound into sharp, four-minute songs radio would welcome with open arms, while attempting to stay away from the long, drawn-out anthems lasting over ten minutes. Tracks of that nature tended to frighten away radio program directors in droves.
(It's interesting to note that Metallica did much the same thing on their current Metallica release. Scaled-down, shorter songs have much more radio appeal, while at the same time, the artists themselves admit that performing the shorter songs are less boring; they can see the beginning and the end, instead of something that seemingly goes on forever in concert.)
Fortunately Rush became aware that the' world was not quite ready for a massive overdose of computer technology, and their last two albums have moved toward a more systematic, nonchemical, less sterile sound.
Overall, they have managed to preserve a fresh style which the public considers to be high priority.