Hard Rock

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Hard rock, or heavy rock, is a genre of rock music which is tied in with heavy metal at several levels. The hard rock sound is typically characterized by heavily distorted guitars, potent riffage, and strong and solid drums which, along with the bass, constitute the rhythm section, while the vocals are often aggressive and draw primarily on expression, as hard rock vocalists often incorporate screams, wails, growls, raspiness and falsetto voice and other techniques that one rarely encounters in types of popular music outside of the rock music sphere. Hard rock is heavier, more aggressive and harsher than pop rock and many other types of rock music and is thus based on the same aesthetic as much heavy metal music is.

Hard rock emerged in the mid 1960s and early 1970s as musicians within various rock subgenres of that era (such as, for instance, blues rock, progressive rock, psychedelic rock, southern rock, boogie rock and garage rock among others) began experimenting with distortion, heaviness, intensity and aggression. The sound that such artists developed would eventually become the sound associated with heavy metal music in general, and the early hard rock sound is often considered identical to the proto-metal sound, and, at the time, the terms ‘hard rock’, ‘heavy rock’, and ‘heavy metal’ were synonymous.

As artists like Black Sabbath and Deep Purple, and later Judas Priest, began to gradually move their music away from its blues roots and into darker territory, ‘heavy metal’ began to be used with reference to the type of music resulting from this darker and more intense type of rock music, while many other artists who contributed to the establishment of the proto-metal sound retained their blues influences, and also began incorporating other elements into their music, and by the 1980s, hard rock was generally considered more commercially oriented and more melodic than heavy metal music. The histories of hard rock and heavy metal remained intertwined, though, as many hard rock artists would often take their music into heavy metal territory and incorporate elements from various subtypes of heavy metal into their music, while heavy metal artists would continue to draw on influences from both contemporary and early hard rock. Also, many artists would experiment with both heavy metal music and hard rock, releasing albums and singles some of which fall under the hard rock rubric while others fall under the heavy metal rubric. In addition, several subgenres and movements in heavy metal have close associations with hard rock - for instance, many NWoBHM artists would extensively draw on hard rock (some even being more hard rock than heavy metal), while glam metal is often conflated with hard rock.

The term ‘hard rock’ is used in a number of different ways. Sometimes, it is used as an antonym of ‘soft rock’ which refers to pop rock, folk rock and other types of rock music which do not emphasize distorted guitars – this definition is very broad and includes any type of guitar-driven rock, not necessarily related to heavy metal music, including punk rock, grunge and even Brit pop. Another broad definition is the use of the term ‘hard rock’ with reference to heavy metal music in general, while a more specific use of the term is restricted to blues-based pentatonic rock music performed with intensity and heaviness on distorted guitars, thus excluding many artists who combine rock with elements from heavy metal. Another definition, which is the one that the MMA operates with, emphasizes the heaviness of hard rock compared to other types of rock music as well as its relation to metal, placing hard rock within the sphere of heavy metal music on the scale of heaviness and intensity underneath traditional heavy metal, but above other types of rock music. On this definition the ethos that characterizes heavy metal music in general, is applied to hard rock as well, thus largely excluding rock genres like punk rock and grunge rock (with exceptions, of course), as well as individual artists and releases whose sound cannot be said to bear any similarity to heavy metal music or to have any relation to heavy metal music at all. This definition cuts across rock music subgenres, and will thus include artists from, say, southern rock or AOR whose sound involves a considerable amount of heavy metal elements while excluding other southern rock or AOR artists that do not integrate heavy metal elements into their music.

Inclusive Hard Rock Genres

Heavy Psych Also known as Psychedelic Hard Rock or Hard Psych, heavy psych is a fusion genre between hard rock and psychedelic rock developed by acts such as Blue Cheer and Vanilla Fudge in the late 1960's. As such many early heavy psych acts can also be found under proto-metal on the MMA. Like with all hard rock on MMA, heavy psych acts are only included if they have been deemed to have a relevance to heavy metal music. Examples of later heavy psych acts include Blood Ceremony (whose work also leans into doom metal), Purson and Jess and the Ancient Ones.

Heavy Prog Also known as Progressive Hard Rock, heavy prog acts add a harder edge to their core progressive rock sound, which may or may not include metal elements as well, but are still primarily progressive rock artists. Like with all hard rock on MMA, heavy prog acts are only included if they have been deemed to have a relevance to heavy metal music, though as always this distinction need not apply to every release the artist has made. Examples of acts in the MMA database with heavy prog releases include Porcupine Tree, Arena and Touchstone.

Sub-genre collaborators:
  • 666Sharon666
  • (leader)


Biography written by Time Signature. The Inclusive Genre section written by adg211288.

hard rock top albums

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hard rock Music Reviews

ROYAL THUNDER Wick

Album · 2017 · Hard Rock
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Nightfly
Royal Thunder’s second album Crooked Doors, released in 2015, was an object lesson in how to release a hard rock album in this day and age by retaining a sense of originality without adopting tired clichés. Of course vocalist Mlny Pasonz immediately set it apart from the pack with her visceral emotive delivery marking her as one of the finest singers today in rock. Also of note was the clean organic guitar tone of Josh Weaver, prevalent much of the time, who despite the lack of effects still packed considerable punch into his intelligent riffing. Most of all though it was the great songs that made it such a compelling return to time and time again album. Packed with strong melodies and inventive riffs it was one of the best albums released that year.

Forward to 2017 and whilst Wick retains much of what made Crooked Doors so great the band have clearly tried to diversify their sound. The first thing you notice is that Wick doesn’t rock as hard, not necessarily a bad thing but with songs like Tied they have got a little more experimental with its swirling chorus and syncopated rhythm but its lack of a strong hook lets it down. The same can’t be said of We Slipped, Burning Tree and The Sinking Chair to name three, all songs with strong melodies and plenty of drive, in keeping with the best moments of Crooked Doors. Unfortunately about a third of the album just doesn’t connect with me, usually the mellower tracks as it happens. Crooked Doors had its share of these, One Day immediately springs to mind, its insistent hook making it an album highlight, but here some of these songs fall a little flat like Plans for example. When it’s followed by a song as strong as Anchor though it’s soon forgotten.

Once again Mlny Parsonz voice is stunning and the band all play well with some inventive drumming from Evan Diprima. Josh Weaver, this time aided by new man Will Fiore keep the guitars largely clean sounding but still kick ass when required. The production is clear but could do with more bottom end and the drums sound a bit boxy with the kick drum a bit low in the mix.

So whilst Wick has some truly excellent songs and whilst there’s nothing bad here its lack of consistency robs it of greatness. Nevertheless, if you enjoyed the first two albums then there’s still much to recommend, though sadly not quite the follow up I was hoping for.

GOLDEN EARRING Moontan

Album · 1973 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
It's hard to believe that some bands have been around since the beginning of time, well rock 'n' roll time that is. GOLDEN EARRING is one of those bands who have literally been cranking out albums since the days when The Beatles were launching the British invasion to the Americas and they are still kicking around well into the 21st century albeit slowing down on their prolific discography. The band actually formed way back in 1961 in The Hague, Netherlands as The Tornados but soon changed to The Golden Earrings due to the former already being taken. 'The' was dropped in 67 and the plural 's' went bye-bye in 69. As you can imagine with a band's lifespan lasting over a half a century that the lineup would change significantly but vocalist / guitarist George Kooymans and Rinus Gerritsen who handles bass and keys have been around for the entire GOLDEN EARRING ride through the decades, centuries and yes even millennia!

While new bands were springing up by the second in the early 70s, by the time 1973 came around GOLDEN EARRING were releasing their 9th studio album MOONTAN which just so happens to be their most successful and most praised of their entire career worldwide although they were quite popular in their native Netherlands scoring an impressive amount of hits. While i'm not an expert in the GOLDEN one's discography i have heard a sampling of the singles and MOONTAN seems pretty much like business as usual for the group. Basically GOLDEN EARRING was the Dutch answer to the Rolling Stones and MOONTAN displays these hero worship tendencies perfectly right from the get go with the bluesy rocker 'Candy's Going Bad' that could easily pass as a B-side Stones track back in the day when the English music scene was hot and indubitably impacted their European neighbors to the east. Also obvious in the influence department from time to time is The Who, most clearly heard on the 'Just Like Vince Taylor' track.

Personally i find GOLDEN EARRING to be a somewhat mediocre band of only marginal interest. Everything i've heard from them (with a few exceptions) is quite derivative of the British invasion scene (Stones,Beatles, Who, Kinks) and you'd be hard pressed to even know they were Dutch unless you knew their history. So what in the world makes MOONTAN such the wonderful and the most celebrated album of their career? Well, standing tall above and beyond the call of duty are two tracks that are absolutely phenomenal and i'm sure any homo sapien who has listened to classic rock radio stations will recognize at least one of these tracks instantly. I'm talking, of course, about 'Radar Love' (can't help but hear the bass line when you read this, can you? :P) This of course was their hugest of hits charting in many countries worldwide and has even been covered a gazillion times by bands like U2, Sun City Girls, White Lion and even Def Leppard! OMG :o 'Radar Love' was their turning point when they finally learned how to tell a story with a clever bass line that was backed up by interesting musical interplay and brilliant with all kinds of twists and turns that make the track dance circles around the surrounding tracks.

The other outstanding track on MOONTAN is 'Vanilla Queen' with utterly brilliant oscillating synthesizer intro that was new wave before the term ever entered the vernacular and creates one of the most addictive melodies of their entire career and thus is my absolute favorite Golden Earring track EVERRRRRRR!!!!!! The new wave cedes into a rockin' chorus, an acoustic guitar segment and then delves into a satisfying symphonic rocker building up the tension until it crescendoes lasting a satisfying 9 minutes and 20 seconds. Every time i listen to this album i always want the album to be as good as these two tracks. Everything else just seems so uninspired compared to these gems of rock history. It doesn't help that 'Radar Love' has been played TO DEATH on the radio! It's almost like they've never recorded any other single. Personally i find this album overrated and don't enjoy listening to it. Unfortunately GOLDEN EARRING's most raved about album and my experience with their singles doesn't invite me to explore their music more. However, the two best tracks on here are brilliant but can be found on any greatest hits packages as well. Two brilliant classic tracks, many decent but uninspiring tracks. For me NOT worthy of being listed as #32 in Q & Mojo's '40 Cosmic Rock Albums' of all time. Get the greatest hits instead. That one has 'Twilight Zone!'

GOLDEN EARRING Eight Miles High

Album · 1969 · Hard Rock
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aglasshouse
You know, I've been an active seeker of 60's and 70's music for a while now, and through this experience I've come to realize just how many bands came into being during the late 60's hard rock boom, specifically 1968, 1969, and 1970. Of course you have the obvious like Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Atomic Rooster, etc., but underneath these goliaths there existed a massive scene full of bands that, while being of similar caliber, often were to remain shrouded in obscurity and eventually fade into the musical ethos. There were countless bands to name that were considered a part of this, one of my personal favorites being the Dutch-based Golden Earring. Golden Earring came about in 1961, but didn't come to surface until 1965 with their debut "Just Ear-rings". This album followed the then-popular Dutch garage pop style (which would be coined 'nederbeat' in reference to merseybeat, a genre which heavily influenced the Netherlands' music culture at the time), but in a whole wasn't very groundbreaking. Golden Earring continued this style for a few years, akin to how The Guess Who continued relying on merseybeat for several years until their sound change (ironically, The Guess Who made their debut and had a tonal shift at practically the exact same time as Golden Earring), until eventually they shifted into another genre growing in popularity at the time- progressive hard rock. It should be noted that the 'progressive' part of this was vastly dwarfed by the much more popular clear-cut blues rock sans lengthy and ostentatious compositions, and there was a much lower number of bands who would foray into this particular direction than those who would just rock in short bursts. Nonetheless Golden Earring took this road and in 1969 released an album titled Eight Miles High which, adorned with dried clay-covered hands reaching for floating rings, would serve as the band's biggest breakthrough in eight years.

A mess of distortion, abstract ad-libbing and twisted songwriting, Eight Miles High is perhaps one of the best examples of albums of the era. Not only does it break boundaries for Golden Earring as an outfit, it also presents a fantastically insane balance of cheesy psych and booming intensity. The most prolific tracks on this album I believe are the last two. 'Everyday's Torture' is a mysterious, haunting chantey of a desolate soul who, although speaking in pretty blatant terms, has lost hope in the idea of love, and is accompanied by a fantastic one-two punch of a hook and an equally fantastic guitar solo. As the closer we have the title track, staggering in at a massive runtime of nineteen minutes. Although a recounting of the entire track would be a bit too labor-intensive, I will say that the track goes through a variety of phases that include but are not limited to: hearty blues rock, wicked drum solo, an insanely distorted guitar solo (VERY distorted), and much, much more. Other tracks like 'Song of a Devil's Servant' in particular are a great change of pace and help to shift the tone of the album in crucial moments.

But there is a real question that should be asked, and that is to who do we owe an album with such great musicianship? The musicians, of course. George Kooymans as a vocalist channels a lovechild hybrid of Ian Anderson and Jim Morrison, making for the ideal 60's voice. On the flip-side his guitar-playing as previously mentioned is heavy, crushing and intense, and sometimes rather meek and distant (when played in a steady balance these two styles work wonders). Rinus Gerritsen works both in the percussion section as a bassist and as the keyboardist, both of which he excels at well. Sieb Warner, a one-time drummer for Golden Earring makes his sole appearance on this album, never to return, which is a shame because he is highly talented, seen especially during his solo on 'Eight Miles High'. Of course Barry Hay should be mentioned as he does a good job backing up Kooymans as rhythm guitar and backing vocalist, making the overall sound much fuller.

If you're looking for a zesty, above-average example of what the British, or in this case Dutch 60's blues scene could deliver you, I say look no further than Golden Earring's Eight Miles High.

EMPIRE Trading Souls

Album · 2003 · Hard Rock
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Kev Rowland
Empire was a melodic hard rock band, and were the brainchild of German guitarist Rolf Munkes (ex Majesty, ex Razorback, Crematory). They released four albums between 2001 and 2007, of which this was the second. Pride & Joy Music are planning on reissuing all four albums during 2017, and they have started with the second album for some reason. While the debut ‘Hypnotica’ featured two singers in Mark Boals (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen) and Lance King (ex Nightmare), this release found them both replaced by Tony Martin (ex-Black Sabbath, The Alliance). The rest of the line-up all played on the debut as well, Neil Murray (bass, ex Whitesnake, Brian May Band, Black Sabbath etc.), Gerald Klos (drums) and Don Airey (keyboards, ex Rainbow, Deep Purple).

Given those involved, it’s no surprise that this is a polished album, with plenty of 80’s AOR stylings. It is catchy, it is fun, and without ever being essential, is an album that can be enjoyed the very first time it is played. This is a project as opposed to a band, and the result is that it almost feels as if the guys were playing their parts without ever giving absolutely everything they had. I would have liked to have had some more passion from Tony and if those involved had been really vested in the music then it could have been something special. As it is, it is still a good listen.

DEEP PURPLE InFinite

Album · 2017 · Hard Rock
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voila_la_scorie
So what do you do when one of your all time favourite bands announces that they've got a new album coming out? You get yourself on the preorder list and order the version with the bonus EP, that's what! Deep Purple have remained a favourite band of mine ever since I got into them around the time I was 13 and the MkII reunion was just about to make the news.

The band has had a varied history and changed style a lot since their debut of July 1968. After the reunion album, "Perfect Strangers", Deep Purple struggled with "House of Blue Light", the sacking of Ian Gillan, the Purple Rainbow album "Slaves and Masters" (4/5 DP, 3/5 Rainbow), the re-acquisition of Gillan and the final departure of Ritchie Blackmore. Releases after the phenomenal "Perfect Strangers" were spotty. Then came Steve Morse into the line up and with new blood came a new sound. This is the sound that Deep Purple have kept up more or less since then, even through the retirement of the late great Jon Lord and recruitment of Don Airey, whose Deep Purple family record includes playing in Whitesnake and Rainbow and playing with Nicky Simper in a band called Quartermass II, which also included Mick Underwood on drums (Mick played with Gillan in Gillan and with Gillan and Glover in Episode Six).

A happy band and a fairly stable lineup has still produced some less than marvelous albums, though in my opinion "Bananas" and "Rapture of the Deep" could have been better without the spotty production. For a while it seemed that there would be no more Deep Purple albums with at least one band member stating that albums were dying out and the cost of making them would never be recouped in sales. But then came the remarkable "Now What?!" - remarkable because producer Bob Ezrin got the band to forget about the charts and just make a great album. That 2013 release touched back to 1995's "Purpendicular" while also tapping into some MkI sounds and solos. Deep Purple were almost prog again!

Sooooo, now four years later, the band has released a new heavy and what of it? Well, the boys are back with Bob Ezrin and back in the same studio in Nashville. The first thing you'll notice is that the classic DP sound is intact: heavy rock guitar, swirling and rumbling organ, a solid rhythm section and, of course, Ian Gillan's vocals and wit. The band sound confident and also they sound like they are having a blast. Ian Paice said in an interview that they really have fun making music, and as if to corroborate Paice's sentiments, Roger Glover said in a separate interview that they had so much fun making "Now What?!" that they wanted to make another album. And there's even the possibility that the future may bring yet another album!

The songs are a mix of politically charged messages like "Time for Bedlam" and "Birds of Prey" and a host of rockers with humorous inspirations and lyrics. Gillan delivers the best vocal opening ever on "Hip Boots" with the line, "You can bury up to my knees in shit!", which is all the more effective after the sombre ending to "Time for Bedlam". "One Night in Vegas" is the recounting of a story of a guy who drank too much in Vegas and woke up the next day with a wife. The kicker is that they are still married thirty years later! "Johnny's Band" is a condensed version of the history of all those old classic bands who got a hit song, became famous, went downhill, broke up, and then regrouped decades later to play their old classics. Glover emphasizes that this is not a Purple story. "On Top of the World" has raconteur lyricist Gillan telling an old story about a wild time on the roof of a building in Kuala Lumpur and the anticlimactic conclusion the next day. The final lyrics are spoken and end with, "I made my excuses and left through the door / Stepped into space off the 20th floor / And that's... why I don't like heights no more." We also find that the lyrics have become more profane. After the first three songs, we've heard "shit", "piss", "ass" and "f%#&ing". Gillan says that he used to be an angry young man, but now he's f%#&ing furious. No shit!

I gotta say that after the first listen, I liked the album; after the second I liked it more; and after the third, I just wanted to listen to it again! But I also listened to "Now What?!" once more and there are two things I noticed. The first is that the previous album had longer instrumental passages and came across as more progressive, if showing off your solo and instrumental music writing talent makes you progressive. Both Steve Morse and Don Airey really brought back that early DP atmosphere. "InFinite's" songs are generally shorter with less emphasis on instrumental sections. The other thing that occurred to me was that Steve Morse is not so strongly in the mix, nor does he deliver as much guitar wizardry as he has on past albums. While Don Airey stands out with his flooding organ sweeps, Steve has almost left his trademark shredding at the studio door and instead delivers some less-than-outstanding lead guitar. His solos fit in well with the music, so he's done well there. But there is little this time that affirms his diverse skill on the guitar.

Nevertheless, this is a short and fun, rock out album. It's heavy at times, it's a party at times, and there's always a spot or two that requires you to think a little. This is not going to make Deep Purple chart toppers or even be an album for the history books. But for an old band I think they have delivered a very decent package.

hard rock movie reviews

THE WHO Quadrophenia: Live In London

Movie · 2014 · Hard Rock
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rdtprog
I was not sure before purchasing this DVD, if I was going to enjoy a live show with the complete double album of "Quadrophenia", because it was a long time ago that I listen to this album and if I remember, I didn't enjoy all the songs. Many years later, I didn't change my mind about this, there are some really good songs, like the title track, "Dr. Jimmy", "The Rock" and "Love Reign Over Me". The other tracks are not bad for what they are, good rock songs, but not as good as some songs of their entire discography. Fortunately, the show has some of those songs as bonus performance, including "Baba O'Riley", "Who are You" and "Won't get Fooled Again"

There's a lot of projections on the screen of the band from the old days. Nice touch to have included John Entwistle with a solo of one of his performance in the song "5:15". Not only you can see him on the screen, but you can actually hear his solo. In fact, his solo sounds more alive than the bass sound of the actual player Pino Palladino, who is rarely captured by the cameras and low in the mix. Also, during "Bell Boy", Keith Moon is singing on the screen.Those projections of the old days performances are only present in the "Quadrophenia" album and not in the bonus songs at the end. We have many musicians on the stage including horn players, Simon Townsend who signs like Pete in "Dirty Jobs". Also two keyboardists, but it's mostly the piano that we hear during this show.

It is easy to rate this, can't be 2 stars because it's not only for collectors, and can't be 4 stars because, that is not a progressive rock show. So it's a good 3 stars, nothing more. But those who enjoy "Quadrophenia" will have a ball with this DVD!

DEF LEPPARD Classic Albums: Hysteria

Movie · 2002 · Hard Rock
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progshine
The worst episode of all Classic Albums series (and I watched 25 of them)!

What is great about the series is that they explain track by track about the albums and show these tracks on a studio enviroment stripping them down and showing us details. Not here.

Hysteria have 12 tracks, but according to this documentary the album have only 7 tracks, and half of it the only feature on the movie is some video or live footage of the song, sometimes the band says 3 words about it though.

As I said, this series is supposed to go deep into Classic albums in the history of music and tell their secrets and details, and most of times they do an excellent job. Not here.

Not to mention that Hysteria might have sold 12 million copies but this is not a classic album at all, just a popular one in 1987. And we know this story in Pop music, right?

RUSH Replay X 3

Movie · 2006 · Hard Rock
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AtomicCrimsonRush
"Replay X3" is a terrific box set of the 3 earlier Rush VHS concerts and it has been mastered to provide great picture though not all widescreen unfortunately. The sound is excellent without any noteable dropout unlike the VHS antiques. The packaging is excellent, booklets included and all original art prints on the seperate covers. There is also a bonus CD of Grace Under Pressure which is worthwhile.

DVD 1 is Exit...Stage Left, a 1 hour concert from the early years or Rushtory when they had long hair, and features a strong setlist with the likes of Limelight, Tom Sawyer, and a rare appearance of the brilliant Xanadu. The usual suspects are here such as the wonderful Red Barchetta and quintessential Freewill along with lighters in the air stalwart crowd pleaser Closer To The Heart. It is always great to see them having fun with the instrumental YYZ and a real treat is to hear the medley at the end with By-Tor And The Snow Dog, In The End, In The Mood and 2112 edited together masterfully. The VHS or DVD delivers what it promises, Rush in their hey day with great quality sound and editing. The band look young of course and jump around a lot more and there were no signs of chicken rotisseries or clothes dryers back then, but a heck of a lot of lighting and laser effects more than makes up for it. The concert also comes with a lot of interview footage and voice overs between songs, and some footage of the band backstage while the songs play and that is a treat compared to the usual straight concert footage. Too short but quite sweet. A real blast from the past that will please Rushaholics.

DVD 2 is Grace Under Pressure, another of the earlier concert performances of Rush running for about an hour with a lot of songs from "Grace Under Pressure" of course and it is nice to hear these. It begins with a glorious opening with The Spirit Of Radio, and a noticeable glowing effect on the band especially the white shirts, as if Vaseline had been rubbed on the lens. This is the 80s and this effect was prominent on film clips of artists such as Nik Kershaw and Dire Straits or Duran Duran. It looks kind of weird on Rush as they were never pretty video boys. Unfortunately the fuzzy effect is prevalent throughout the recording, and it kind of annoys me, especially the way the bright lights phase over constantly. Lifeson wears a white sports jacket looking like the mad scientist of metal, Peart has a white T and red cap that he loses later, and Lee wears grey suit jacket and white T. The hair dos are 80s personified; Peart has a rat tail, Lee has a mullet and Lifeson has a Flock of Seagulls quiff. Oh well, it is what it is. The music is brilliant.

The Enemy Within is rarely heard live but sparked my memory and it's a great song. The Weapon is always fantastic, one of my favourites, and it begins with a Dracula character on screen telling people to put on their 3D glasses. Witch Hunt begins with a screening of a bunch of cultists burning books with torches. It is a great song from "Moving Pictures" recently heard in the Time Machine concerts. Lee's vocals are excellent throughout and the guitars are incredible. New World Man is another one rarely heard live recently and it is OK though not one of the better tracks from "Signals". Synths are heard here though no one seems to be playing them, so I suspect some recorded music was used. It was the age of the video clip and a clip is shown of some animation and a boy looking up to see a huge airship in the sky. Distant Early Warning follows and it is a great song from GUP, that has become a concert favourite. The clip shows the boy riding a missile and the laser light show follows.

Red Sector A is an awesome song and I loved hearing it on this DVD again, with one of the strongest melodies of the Rush catalogue. The laser show looks great here. The lyrics by Lee are terrific and when Lee sings "smoking gun" a massive explosion goes off causing the crowd to roar. The lyrics are actually based on family experience and is a homage to his mother and father that survived the holocaust. Though Lee re wrote the lyrics to have a broader perspective that it may apply to any holocaust like situation such as Rwanda. Closer To The Heart is always a crowd pleaser and the crowd know it well enough to drown out some of Lee's vocals. There were no mobile phones back then but plenty of lighters go up in the air.

The obligatory medley is here with a terrific merging of some classics, YYZ, Temples Of Syrinx, and Tom Sawyer. During YYZ the crowd are obsessed with air drumming throughout. Tom Sawyer features the Moving Pictures animation on the screen. It is nice to hear Lee be able to reach those high notes too in the chorus.

Vital Signs is one I have not seen live on other concerts till the "Moving Pictures" live concerts of recent years. When Lee takes off his jacket his white T glows like the rest of the band's halos. It is a weird effect really and perhaps the worse part of the DVD. It ends with Finding My Way and In The Mood, from the earliest album. it is a great crowd participation song with the crowd visible throughout, a guy even lights up a pipe at one stage. Overall, this is a great snippet of songs from the Rush 80s years, worth checking out for certain even if for nostalgia if nothing else.

DVD 3 is A Show Of Hands, a 90 minutes concert experience and as such way better than the previous DVDs available, namely "Exit Stage Left" and "Grace Under Pressure". It is excellent also due to the use of animations on the big screen and the overall setlist. The songs are from "Hold Your Fire" mostly and I believe they are better heard live than on that album so that is a drawcard of this particular DVD. It also has a very solid quality sound throughout and the band look great and have heaps of fun. From "Hold Your Fire" the songs appear, Mission, Prime Mover, Force Ten, and Turn The Page so there is a lot from their latest at the time.

Closer To The Heart is always present of course along with quintessential Tom Sawyer, and The Spirit of Radio. I always love to hear the magnificent Red Sector A and hard rocking Force Ten, and it was great to see them play Mission, another one rarely heard live on these DVDs.

Marathon, Territories and The Big Money from "Power Windows" are good rockers for the crowd to get into. The drum solo by Peart is terrific, with his vibes section and patented cymbal jazz splashes along with some incredible triplet work though his drums are still stationary in this era, and not as many.

The concert ends with a brilliant medley 2112, The Temples Of Syrinx, La Villa Strangiato and In The Mood. Overall a strong concert, one of the best live documents of the band and worth getting hold of above the rest.

The Grace Under Pressure Bonus CD, is a previously unreleased audio from the newly remastered Grace Under Pressure concert soundtrack and it is a fantastic Rush sound.

"Replay x3" is definitely worth getting as it houses 3 very good concerts of the early years and these are only available now with this set released in 2006.

RUSH Exit...Stage Left

Movie · 1981 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
AtomicCrimsonRush
Exit...Stage Left is a 1 hour concert from the early years or Rushtory when they had long hair, and features a strong setlist with the likes of Limelight, Tom Sawyer, and a rare appearance of the brilliant Xanadu. The usual suspects are here such as the wonderful Red Barchetta and quintessential Freewill along with lighters in the air stalwart crowd pleaser Closer To The Heart. It is always great to see them having fun with the instrumental YYZ and a real treat is to hear the medley at the end with By-Tor And The Snow Dog, In The End, In The Mood and 2112 edited together masterfully. The VHS or DVD delivers what it promises, Rush in their hey day with great quality sound and editing. The band look young of course and jump around a lot more and there were no signs of chicken rotisseries or clothes dryers back then, but a heck of a lot of lighting and laser effects more than makes up for it. The concert also comes with a lot of interview footage and voice overs between songs, and some footage of the band backstage while the songs play and that is a treat compared to the usual straight concert footage. Too short but quite sweet. A real blast from the past that will please Rushaholics.

RUSH Snakes And Arrows Live

Movie · 2008 · Hard Rock
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
AtomicCrimsonRush
This 3 CD package is a great concert experience that I will return to often. Everything works - from the excellent sound quality to the crystal clear picture. The stage itself is massive and there are incredible lighting effects, lasers and fire effects. The 3 split screens at times show each band member, and sometimes a visual effect to enhance the track being played. There are weird Rush-ian gimmicks, namely the 3 huge ovens full of rotating chickens that glow ominous red throughout the night. There is no reference to these except Lee says at the end of CD1 that they are no longer spring chickens so they need to take a break. At one point a weird chef appears to turn the chickens over. Similar in fact to the washing machines with rotating clothes in the 'Live in Rio' show. Other subtler things are on stage such as flanks of flowers around microphones, plastic dinosaurs around Lifeson's stacks and the piece de resistance is the miniature Stonehenge rock on Lee's keyboards - a nod in Spinal Tap's direction for sure. We see crowd shots and Lee takes home movies of them screaming Hello Canada - in fact we see many versions of him doing this from other shows. Peart is featured with a sizzling drum solo that is well above what normally occurs in solos. He uses gamelon style blocks and sound effect drums to enhance the solo and his kit rotates to add depth. I love when the jazz band kicks in and he plays full blown jazz metrical patterns - there is a standing ovation after this.

There are no lengthy lead solo sections where Lifeson plays by himself but there is a nice acoustic piece following the drum solo. Lifeson effortlessly plays all the songs with precision and finesse. Surely one of the greatest guitarists in the world.

Lee's vocals are excellent and as clear as ever. His bass pounds on every track. I noted its all mostly hard rock on this live show. The band play old favourites that every Rush fan adores such as 'Spirit of Radio' and 'Tom Sawyer' but they focus on 'Snakes and Arrows' album, virtually playing every song. This could have been problematic but I find these live versions even better than the studio versions. I was never a huge fan of S&A but this live concert really brings something special to these tracks. I like the film clips that break up the songs such as South Park's Cartman singing Tom Sawyer and the weird clips of babies in prams and a game of snakes and ladders.

The bonus features are fun, such as watching the clips without the band shots and the making of the clips which show Rush at their kookiest. Some of the extra live tracks are great too so overall this is a must see for any Rush fan. I recommend this as well as 'Live IN Rio' which are completely different experiences. This is not as good as 'Rio' due to the set list, but it is still a fantastic DVD package.

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