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 (+ child sub-genres (except Heavy Alternative Rock) & shared with Heavy Metal and Glam Metal):
  • 666sharon666 (Leader)


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

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hard rock Music Reviews

SHINING Animal

Album · 2018 · Hard Rock
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Kev Rowland
Jørgen Munkeby (saxophonist and guitarist, a graduate of the Norwegian Academy of Music) has long been the driving force between Norway’s jazz-metal collective, Shining. Over the years they have broken down musical barriers and have refused to be categorised into any particular style of music, as they mixed progressive, technical metal, jazz, avant-garde and experimental sounds. But now he is back with something different “I was tired of doing the same thing,” he explains. “I was done with ‘Blackjazz’ and wanted to create something new and exciting. I needed a change. I’m finally at the point where I have nothing to lose and everything to win. We had 360 degrees to play with so we could’ve gone in any direction. This new record is more Muse than Meshuggah, more Ghost than Gojira, and more Biffy Clyro than Burzum!”

It is all over the place as one might expect from the quote, and given Shining are known for having the sax as a key instrument it is somewhat surprising for one not to make any appearance anywhere on this! Devin Townsend has been an obvious influence, as have Linkin Park, and it is when the guys are really pushing the envelope with downtuned guitars and stacks of groove that they really make the listener stand up and take notice. It is mainstream for the most part, and it will be interesting to see how hardcore fans view this, as while it is an okay album, it is never really much more than that, and certainly not one which would be expected from him/them. It is almost a case of treating this as a brand-new band, and while the sound is very modern and powerful, for some reason it feels as if it as all been produced at the same level and consequently there just isn’t enough drama for it to be consistently interesting.

VAN HALEN Van Halen

Album · 1978 · Hard Rock
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Vim Fuego
The Salvation Army and two bucks led me to a revelation, and a deeper understanding of the wider world around me.

No, I haven’t abandoned a lifelong lack of belief to worship any sort of supernatural being, deity, cult leader, or graven image. Instead, I finally understand something which had hitherto been a mystery to me. Why did a certain sector of the rock community always heap such praise on Van Halen?

My first experiences with Van Halen were with the stadium schlock rock of the ever-dreadful “Jump” and the misogynistic teen wankfest of “Hot For Teacher”. So far, so mediocre. A bit later, I encountered the stomping “Runnin’ With The Devil”. This was more like it. It fuckin’ hard rocking, if not quite metal, but no matter. To this day it remains my favourite Van Halen song. And then there was the cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”, which is in take-it-or-leave-it territory.

So where do the Sallies and two bucks come into it? I’m all for good works for the community, regardless of religious affiliation, and so I support the Salvation Army by donating unwanted stuff there so that someone needier than me may get some sort of use out of it, and the Sallies might make a few bucks too. I buy stuff there too, often not out of need, but just because it’s there, and hey, it’s cheap! On one expedition, I was perusing the CD racks. You’re more likely to find Daniel O’Donnell than Dani Filth in these racks, so I wasn’t expecting much. I found a pristine copy of “Van Halen” by Van Halen, and the price was two dollars, so I thought “fuck it, why not?”, and then thought “is it blasphemous to think the word ‘fuck’ in a Sallies shop?”. This was followed by the thought “you don’t believe in God, so therefore, you don’t believe in blasphemy, and you haven’t been struck down by lightning yet, so it’s probably OK.” By the time I got to the counter with my purchases, I had resolved the internalised theological dilemma, and the lady at the counter was more than happy to take my money.

And now for the revelation. Finally, a few days later, I had the opportunity to finally listen to this album.

Fuck. Me. Sideways.

I’ve waited over 40 years to finally hear this album in it’s entirety, and now I get it. Now I get why guitarists rave over Eddie’s technique. Now I get why the Diamond Dave vs. Sammy Hagar debate is important. Now I get why 80s glam metal sounded the way it did – those bands were chasing the dragon, and here’s that addictive high they were after.

It probably helps that the first track is “Runnin’ With The Devil” (good thing the ladies in the Salvation Army shop didn’t see that song title!) What’s the best thing about it? Eddie Van Halen’s fluid, classy soloing? His crunching main riff? David Lee Roth’s soaring vocals? Nope. It’s Michael Anthony’s thudding, hypnotic bass line, which ties in perfectly with Alex Van Halen’s straightforward, solid drums. Michael and Alex are often forgotten in this band, but remember, no Michael and Alex, no foundation for Eddie and Dave to show off.

And then “Eruption”. This is the track which caused so much consternation among budding guitar heroes the world over. Hell, even some pros were stumped by it. One of the Schenkers (jokingly) threatened Eddie Van Halen with physical violence if he didn’t show him how he played this less than two minute interlude. It squeals, shreds, soars, trills, and leaves your jaw lying on the floor. This is absolute mastery of your instrument. And unlike so many other shredding interludes, it’s actually fun to listen to, and doesn’t just reek of fretboard masturbation. And then the cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me”? Take it or leave it? I’m fuckin’ taking it this time! The new leads Eddie added to what’s a fairly basic song set it off. It makes more sense in the context of this album than on it’s own.

“Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” shows off a quality not often noted when talking about Van Halen – it’s got a strong metal riff to it. Eddie’s solos are what people remember, but the main riff, underpinned by Michael’s driving bass, makes what might ordinarily be a fairly tepid love song into a hard rock masterclass.

And so proceeds the rest of the album. “I’m The One” has a rocking boogie rhythm to it. Eddie’s guitar almost talks on “Jamie’s Crying”. “Atomic Punk” isn’t punk, but it’s got an overdriven gallop to it, like a rocking Judas Priest track. A couple of things haven’t aged well. It was a different time, but “Feel Your Love Tonight” is a bit date-rapey. Unfortunately, this lame duck track seems to be the one most emulated by the 80s hairspray and heels brigade.

The bluesy swagger of “Little Dreamer” pulls things back from the brink. Diamond Dave shines on this track, showing a soulful side to his voice. For all his narcissism and other faults, the guy could fucking sing!

“Ice Cream Man” is a second blues tinged song, with a double entendre laden acoustic intro. Just when it seems the whole song is going to be just guitar and voice, the rest of the band, and the amps kick in, and it turns into an old time rock and roller. Eddie shreds and shreds and shreds, while Dave wails and Elvises it up a bit.

“On Fire” closes the album with another driving rocker of a song, once again ending up somewhere near Judas Priest territory. There were multiple facets to Van Halen shown on this highly impressive debut. The band eventually followed their more mainstream commercial leanings, but there was enough hard and heavy material here to keep the headbangers interested. And that guitar playing… Many people have wanted to play like Eddie Van Halen, but no one else quite cuts it. Every listen reveals another fill, solo, or lead which you missed before. There are hidden depths and details to what seem superficially simple compositions.

All in all, this was two bucks well spent.

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness

Album · 1995 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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Necrotica
One of the best traits Billy Corgan has always had as a songwriter is that he’s incredibly skilled at making mountains out of molehills. Much like Bruce Springsteen, he has the ability to take the mundane and transform it into the most grand and sweeping thing you’ve ever heard. Back in the 90s, he took the genre of alternative rock and injected it with a sense of artistry and grace that immediately set The Smashing Pumpkins apart from the majority of their grungy, down-to-earth peers. And let’s be clear here: it’s not like the band were strangers to grunge or alternative metal themselves. Songs like “Cherub Rock,” “Zero,” and “Quiet” are all infused with a murky, dirty tone and downtuned guitar work that act as a piledriver to the ears. However, as pretentious as Corgan might have been (let’s be fair here, he was… and still is), he knew that adding a heightened level of grandeur to his chosen genre would make his band stand out. Gish and Siamese Dream were already building up to the peak of this evolution, especially the latter which would become known as a classic in its own right. And even through the group’s inner turmoil, the classic lineup remained (Billy Corgan, Jimmy Chamberlain, James Iha, and D’arcy Wretzky) to cut their second - and arguably their final - classic. But back then, was anybody really prepared for a full-blown 2-hour double disc by these guys?

I’d imagine not. Even as double albums go, 2 straight hours is a lot to ask of someone’s time - especially when hearing Billy Corgan’s nasally whine throughout that duration. So it’s quite astonishing, then, that nearly every moment has an important place in Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Granted, it should probably go without saying that - with a duration as long as this - there’s really no stone left unturned. Alternative rock, progressive rock, symphonic rock, art rock, shoegaze, psychedelia, grunge, and heavy metal are all fairly represented at different times, altogether sculpting one of the most eclectic works of the 90s. But the artistic growth of the band (or more specifically, Billy Corgan, considering he wrote the vast majority of the record) doesn’t stop there. Much like a play or a film laced with intermissions, Mellon Collie is separated by two different acts: Dawn to Dusk and Twilight to Starlight. A number of songs play into this concept as well, such as “We Only Come Out at Night” naturally appearing in the second disc to represent the twilight or the beautiful piano-driven opening title track lifting the figurative curtains to signify the coming of dawn. As for the lyrics themselves, each song acts as a specific little vignette or a small puzzle piece; this isn’t really a concept album in the traditional sense (there’s no actual arc or storyline), but rather a grand jigsaw puzzle composed of miniature stories that correlate in some way to their respective discs.

As such, the relationship between tension and release is one of the biggest draws of Mellon Collie. Because of the wildly varying dynamics, the album constantly goes back and forth with its bipolar nature like a seesaw as it traverses through every facet of the band’s experimental tendencies. “Porcelina of the Vast Oceans” and “Thru the Eyes of Ruby” like to swell and build their dynamics to satisfying conclusions in a progressive rock fashion, while tunes like “Tales of a Scorched Earth” and “X.Y.U.” present the band in its ugliest form with pummeling metal riffs and furious blasts of guitar feedback. Likewise, there are plenty of delicate ballads that help mitigate the intensity of the propulsive rockers, as one might expect on such a long-winded journey. Notably, two of these are the only songs not written by Billy Corgan himself: guitarist James Iha wrote the album’s closers, “Take Me Down” and “Farewell and Goodnight,” both of which close out their respective sides in a serene manner. But that’s not to say they’re the best ballads on offer; in my mind, the gorgeously layered dream pop number “By Starlight” easily wins in that regard. “Cupid De Locke” is another highlight, using unorthodox percussion in the form of saltshakers to propel its easygoing rhythms and flighty tempo. As I mentioned before, tension and release is what makes Mellon Collie so consistently fun to listen to. It’s all about the different yins and yangs of volume and style, all countering each other in fresh new ways. If you want the best showing of this, listen to “X.Y.U.” and “We Only Come Out at Night,” which play back-to-back and yet contrast each other in every way. The former is a brutal Melvins-esque jab of sludgy alternative metal, and the latter is a quaint ballad with a light swing rhythm. How the latter follows up the former so well, I’ll never know.

I’ll be completely blunt about this: I’m not normally a fan of double albums. With so much content to pack into one recording, it almost seems like a guarantee that you’ll encounter something that should have stayed on the cutting room floor. It’s a problem that’s plagued quite a few albums in the past, including (in my opinion, at least) The Beatles’ self-titled White Album and Genesis’ The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. This is the way I see things: if you’re going to stuff your record with more than one disc full of material, you’d better make sure to bring your A-game and take special care in every track to make sure it has a purpose. There might be a few weaker cuts on Mellon Collie (“Love” and “Beautiful” come to mind), but there was never a time that I thought they actually crippled the album in any severe way. Considering this is a 28-track record with 121 minutes to its runtime, it’s insane to think that even the throwaways are still as well-written as they are. If you gave “Love” and “Beautiful” to an album from a lower-tier alternative rock band from that era, they might have been considered highlights; think about that.

There was once a time when I thought Siamese Dream was The Smashing Pumpkins’ true peak, with Mellon Collie at a close second. However, that opinion has been slowly reversing with the passage of time. The more time I’ve given this album to grow and cultivate in my eardrums, the more its phenomenal consistency and emotional potency have also grown. Moreover, Mellon Collie just feels important. Alternative rock needed something this grandiose and diverse, whether the practitioners or listeners of the genre wanted to dispute that or not. Such a fully-realized masterwork only comes around once in a lifetime, and you’d be wise to lend an ear to its timeless tunes if you haven’t already.

AC/DC Rock Or Bust

Album · 2014 · Hard Rock
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UMUR
"Rock Or Bust" is the 15th internationally released full-length studio album by Australian hard/heavy rock act AC/DC and the first since "Black Ice" from 2008. The album was released through Albert/Columbia Records in November 2014. Since the release of "Black Ice (2008)" and the subsequent tour there´s been one lineup change as original rhythm guitarist Malcolm Young was diagnosed with dementia and as a consequence retired from the band. He is replaced here by his nephew Stevie Young. Stevie had previously filled in for Malcolm on AC/DC´s 1988 U.S. tour, when the latter was treated for his alcohol dependency.

It wasn´t the only drama occuring during the writing and recording of "Rock Or Bust", as drummer Phil Rudd decided to turn up 10 days too late for the recording sessions and nearly got himself kicked out of the band. His eviction from AC/DC eventually happened anyway though as a consequence of Rudd being arrested in early November 2014 for attempting to procure the murder of two men and for drug possession. The most serious charges were later dropped but as Rudd did receive a house arrest sentence, he was unable to tour with AC/DC in support of "Rock Or Bust" and the band decided to recruit Chris Slade instead. Slade also played with AC/DC from 1989 to 1994 and appeard on "The Razors Edge (1990)".

Stylistically the music on "Rock Or Bust" is more or less AC/DC as they´ve always sounded, but that´s really no surprise by now. While they´ve always released quality material, development of sound stopped many years ago. You always know what you´re gonna get when you put on a new AC/DC album. It´s blues based hard rock/heavy rock with a hard rock beat, blues based heavy riffs, blistering blues based solos by Angus Young, and Brian Johnson´s unmistakable rusty voice in front. So when you can´t say much new about the musical style, it´s the quality of the songwriting that´s of most interest. Angus Young apparently constructed most of the tracks from bits and pieces left over from the recording sessions of previous albums, which would make sense since one part of the main songwriting team retired. That´s not audible at all though, if such a songwriting method should suggest a drop in quality, as the material on "Rock Or Bust" is generally both catchy, powerful, and memorable. It´s hard to argue that the songwriting style isn´t slightly one-dimensional, and while all tracks are enjoyable while they play, there are only a few really strong tracks featured on the album. That´s nothing new when it comes to AC/DC releases though.

It´s not audible that the guys in AC/DC aren´t exactly youngsters anymore either. Johnson screams/sings with as much power as he has always done, the rhythm section and new rhythm guitarist Stevie Young plays raw and intense, and the guitar solos by Angus Young are as energetic, well played, and inspired as ever. The sound production is also both powerful and raw, so upon conclusion "Rock Or Bust" is yet another quality release by AC/DC. It´s more of the same though, so depending on how you feel about that views may vary. Personally I enjoy the album a lot, but I don´t count it among their strongest releases and it doesn´t shake my foundation either, but a 3.5 star (70%) rating is still deserved.

GUNS N' ROSES G N' R Lies

EP · 1988 · Hard Rock
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martindavey87
Released in 1988, just one year after the absolutely monumental ‘Appetite for Destruction’ made Guns ‘n’ Roses one of the biggest bands on the planet, ‘G N’ R Lies’ is an EP which consists of four previously released live tracks and four acoustic tracks.

The first four tracks, taken from the previously released ‘Live ?!*@ Like a Suicide’ EP don’t really do much for me. There’s a cover of Aerosmith’s ‘Mama Kin’, but... meh. The band is in good form however, and you can feel the attitude and energy just oozing out of every guitar chord and vocal screech, but as there’s no studio versions of these tracks, again... meh...

The next four tracks are all acoustic songs, and this is where the EP really shows its worth. ‘Used to Love Her’ and ‘One in a Million’ are okay acoustic rockers, though nothing massively memorable, and there’s an acoustic remake of ‘You’re Crazy’, a song from the bands aforementioned debut album. Then of course, there’s ‘Patience’, the only song from this EP to receive a single release and promo video. With its personal and touching lyrics and catchy-as-hell chorus, this is the true standout moment from this disc.

I’m not the biggest Guns ‘n’ Roses fan in the world, and only own this as I have the rest of the bands discography on CD. Overall, ‘Lies’ is an okay EP for what it is, but isn’t really worth too much attention if you’re only a casual fan. Personally, I’d rather listen to ‘Appetite...’ again.

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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