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

FASTWAY Fastway

Album · 1983 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
The band FASTWAY was an interesting creation of the 80s that was founded by disgruntled members of successful 70s bands who decided to have a go at some sort of veteran’s supergroup. The band was pioneered by guitarist “Fast” Eddie Clarke who played with Motorhead from 1977-82 and bassist Pete Way who played with UFO from the beginning in 1970 until 1982. The duo recruited another seasoned musician with Humble Pie drummer Jerry Shirley and then topped off the final seat with the completely unknown Dave King, the Irish vocalist and harmonica player who would become more famous with his Celtic punk band Flogging Molly. Ironically Pete Way discovered in the process that he was obliged to fulfill his previous recording contract and also got a lucrative offer to play with Ozzy Osbourne thus leaving the band before they even began to record their eponymous debut album. The session bass player Mickey Feat was recruited to fill his shoes and finally in May 1983 the band released their first album to find an unexpected bout with success mostly due to the heavy MTV rotation of videos for “Say What You Will,” “We Become One” and “Easy Livin” (which is not a cover of the Uriah Heep track of the same name)

Musically FASTWAY is a heavier version of 70s hard boogie blues rock incorporating the sounds of their previous bands. Anyone familiar with Motorhead’s early canon will immediately recognize Clarke’s distinct guitar riffing chops that are quite similar to those on albums like “Ace Of Spades” although FASTWAY has a more diverse sound in the compositions than any of the bands that the three veterans had been a part of. Despite many feet still in the 70s, the youthful energy of vocalist Dave King is what really puts this band on a higher level. With his Robert Plant looks and vocal control to match along with the help of early glam metal hairspray action allowed their sound (and looks) to catch on with a younger audience and become one of the earliest Led Zeppelin styled bands to garner minor success via the MTV video revolution. With heavy bluesy grooves, heavy driving bass lines and King’s distinct passionate vocals FASTWAY proved that the 70s thing was still a viable musical expression despite the world seemingly being taken over by new wave and synthpop.

While the lyrics are typical “sing-about-nothing” type glam metal, musically the tracks are quite catchy with a fast tempo heft that stomps out one head bangin’ groove after the next. King’s voice elevates the music to ecstatic heights and the fact that the tracks all sound distinct from one another makes FASTWAY a pretty addicting repeated listen. The pure blues rock track “Far Far From Home” appeared originally on vinyl pressing but was actually a promotional single and was excluded from many other formats. The track has been included on CD releases but not on the 2-fer “Fastway / All Fired Up” comp of their first two albums. If you ask me, i’d say at this stage FASTWAY sound like a hybrid of early Motorhead and Led Zeppelin at their heaviest. While i like every track on this one, i find tracks like the acoustic opening “Another Day,” the slinking groove of “Heft!” and the multi-moodswing oriented “We Become One” gets my vote as best tracks although the catchy straight forward tracks like “Easy Livin” and “Say What You Will” are excellently addictive injections to grab your attention. Somewhat forgotten in the vast annals of music history but FASTWAY still has a few staunch followers mostly due to this excellent debut.

RUSH A Farewell to Kings

Album · 1977 · Hard Rock
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UMUR
"A Farewell to Kings" is the 5th full-length studio album by Canadian progressive rock act Rush. The album was released through Mercury Records (US/Europe)/Anthem Records (Canada) in September 1977. Originally on vinyl featuring a gatefold sleeve. After releasing three albums which earned Rush some attention but not a genuine breakthrough, "2112 (1976)" proved to be just what the doctor ordered in terms of critical acclaim and commercial success. "A Farewell to Kings" continued that trend and ended up selling 500.000 copies within 2 months of its release (US Gold Certification).

Stylistically "A Farewell to Kings" continues the hard rocking progressive music style of its predecessor, but adds new levels of sophistication in terms of more adventurous songwriting and an even higher level of technical playing (drummer Neil Peart has for example greatly increased the fusion elements in his playing style). Rush now also frequently use synthesizer in their music, and that element is an important feature in their sound on the album. In addition to that we´re as always treated to hard rocking riffs, creative lead guitar ideas, busy and adventurous bass playing, and Geddy Lee´s distinct sounding high octave voice and skillful and passionate delivery. Rush are an incredibly well playing band and paired with their clever compositional skills, it´s a potent cocktail.

"A Farewell to Kings" features 6 tracks. "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1, Book I: The Voyage" are both over 10 minutes long progressive rock tracks, featuring complex structures and intricate playing, while the remaining tracks are slightly less progressive in structure, but a little more hard rocking (except for "Madrigal" which is a short ballad type track). "Closer to the Heart" is the most vers/chorus simple track on the album, but no less appealing because of that, and "A Farewell to Kings" is overall a nicely varied release. To my ears "Cinderella Man" and "Madrigal" are slightly sub par to the rest of the material on the album, which affects my rating of the album a bit, but they are not bad quality tracks by any means. The highlight of the album is arguably "Xanadu", which is an absolutely brilliant composition.

The sound production is powerful and organic, suiting the material perfectly, and upon conclusion "A Farewell to Kings" is another high quality release by Rush and the next logical step in their musical development. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.

DOOL Here Now, There Then

Album · 2017 · Hard Rock
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Nightfly
It was real shame back in 2014 When Selim Lemouchi , guitarist with The Devils Blood took his own life. Although they’d already split up it brought to an end any chance of a reformation of a band that showed real promise with their melodic occult rock showcasing the captivating vocals of Farida "F. The Mouth of Satan" Lemouchi. Dool features two member of that band, drummer Micha Haring and bassist Job Van De Zande and maintain the female vocal element by teaming up with Ryanne Van Dorst formerly known as Elle Bandita. The band is completed by guitarists Reinier Vermeulen and Nick Polak.

Here Now, There Then kicks off with the slow burn of Vantablack which at over 10 minutes drags on a bit not particularly going anywhere. Being a prog lover I’m certainly not averse to longer songs, in fact I love them, but I want a bit more substance to maintain my interest than is on display here, though it’s far from a disaster and saved by its dark melody. From here on in things get a bit more direct though they sometimes hit the six minute mark but with most of the songs being very melodic with strong hooks you barely notice. Van Dorst has a good voice and is able to carry the insistent and inventive melodies with ease. It doesn’t get any better than Words On Paper, In her Darkest Hour (perhaps the best of all) and Oweynagat which follow in succession. The Devils Blood were never as heavy as their name suggested and Dool are even less so. Although they have a hard rock element they also have a pop sensibility and could equally appeal to people who usually listen to indie music as rock fans.

Although She Goat is one of the least satisfying songs and not the best way to close an album, overall Here Now There Then delivers a strong collection of melodic rock with memorable hooks that get under your skin. Well worth checking out and a band to keep an eye on in the future.

CLUTCH Clutch

Album · 1995 · Hard Rock
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UMUR
"Clutch" is the self-titled 2nd full-length studio album by US hard/stoner rock act Clutch. The album was released through Eastwest Records in May 1995. Clutch started out as a hardcore band, and their debut album "Transnational Speedway League: Anthems, Anecdotes, and Undeniable Truths (1993)" still featured quite a few hardcore traits although it´s mostly a hard rock/stoner rock album.

The hardcore elements are now completely gone from the band´s sound, and "Clutch" is a hard rock/stoner rock album through and through. There are still some badass attitude moments on the album, that might have been born in their hardcore youth, but we´re predominantly treated to southern influenced bluesy hard rock with a psychadelic stoner rock edge. It´s quite heavy at times, but the album is overall quite dynamic with both vers/chorus structured hard rockers, and more experimental/psychadelic tinged tracks.

The material on the 13 track, 55:05 minutes long album (the Japanese version of the album feautures the bonus track "Apache") are generally of a good compositional quality, and several tracks are really strong. It´s not all tracks that are equally remarkable, and if you ask me, I think the album overstays it´s welcome by a couple of tracks, but then again if you take each track and listen to them one by one, they are all quite entertaining, so maybe it´s the overall flow of the album that doesn´t always work that well.

The musicianship are as always one of the great assets when listening to a Clutch album. Neil Fallon is an incredibly skilled vocalist with a strong voice and a passionate delivery, and his performance on this album is even a bit more varied than on later releases, because he still occasionally sings more raw vocal styles here. The rest of the band are also very well playing. A tight yet organic sounding unit. The instrumentation is guitars, bass, drums and vocals, but there are a few tracks featuring organ, courtesy of session player Richard Morel.

The album is packed in a well sounding, powerful, and organic sound production, which suits the music perfectly. So overall this sophomore album is another high quality release by Clutch and a 3.5 star (70%) rating is deserved.

JUDAS PRIEST Rocka Rolla

Album · 1974 · Hard Rock
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aglasshouse
Judas Priest's 70's albums are usually cast in bronze as some of the earliest and most high-quality developments of heavy metal that have ever been. Not only did they expound on Black Sabbath's discordant proto-doom by evolving it into a faster, more explosive version of itself, but albums like Sad Wings of Destiny, Stained Class, and Sin After Sin all paved the way for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal that would dominate the Western charts for years to come.

It's hard to deny how beloved these albums are. They're practically legendary. All except for one. One that sets itself apart from Priest's 70's repertoire in both its obscurity and its strangeness. Funnily enough, it also happens to be the band's breakout first album.

1974's Rocka Rolla is a musical enigma. This isn't to say the music is impossible to understand, because it's not. For one, the album is much more progressively slanted as prog was in sort of phase two as bands like Rush emerged in the same year in the wake of the late-60's uprising. This can be seen on best on the sprawling eight-and-a-half minute long epic 'Run of the Mill' with the Floyd-esque guitar tuning and spacey vibes permeating the first chunk of the track. At the same time however, much of Rocka Rolla is infinitely more laidback than a tightly-strung album like Sad Wings, both lyrically and musically. The swaggering, bluesy knuckle-duster-knockout 'Rocka Rolla' especially exemplifies this side, wherein a young Rob Halford channels Bon Scott's greasy punk aura to deliver one of the oddest moments in Priest history. It maligns itself with any subsequent song Priest put out, but goddamn does it rock.

Not only in this way does Rocka Rolla set itself apart from other 70's Priest albums, but it also does so with it's sheer off-the-wall musical makeup. This is really where the main criticisms of the album come into play, as with an album such as this many are quick to claim it as underfocused and maldeveloped, and in most cases I would tend to agree. I suppose though that where this branches off is honestly dependent on personal taste. I personally love the elements Priest cobbles together on the album- the softspoken and melodious humdrum of 'Caviar and Meths' (an Al Atkins tune which, due to time constraints, had to be neutered from fourteen to two minutes), the snappy, riff-laden heel-clickers like 'One For the Road' or 'Cheater', etc. This is all without yet mentioning that Rocka Rolla showcases what I believe to be one of Priest's finest moments in their entire career- 'Dying to Meet You'. This particular song is divided into two sections: the first being a low-pitched Rob Halford lamenting over dual guitars shifting from muddy and pounding to austere and subtle with satisfying drum fills by one-timer John Hinch taking up the background. The song then shifts to it's second part, a rollicking rocker similar to the title track, and is also reminiscent of 'The Ripper' from Sad Wings with an early showcase of Halford's high notes, albeit in bluesier fashion.

The talented band's earliest incarnation is mainly what the quality of this album is owed to. The aforementioned John Hinch is a fantastic drummer, with his off-kilter, almost jazz-like playing that makes even the most simple of moments on this album seem intricate. I do agree with the band's decision to dismiss Hinch though. Although I think that Glenn Tipton's words of him being "musically inadequate" might have been a bit harsh, his style was not very well suited to the band's heavier future as opposed to someone like Alan Moore. Rob Halford needs no introduction, but I will say that the lower octaves he hits were scarcely replicated in the band's future endeavors, which I find unfortunate because they are pretty good. I quite enjoy Ian Hill's pounding performance on 'Dying to Meet You' especially on the second part, and of course the dual ripcord guitar duo that is Glenn Tipton and K.K. Downing are a force to be reckoned with, even with their more synthesizer-fronted sound before their evolution.

Well, this was a bit of a ramble. But in all honesty I've listened to Rocka Rolla more times than I can count and it's always remained a staple in my favorite records, even if it might not be the heaviest nor the most high-quality Judas Priest record to exist. To say I have a soft spot for it may be a gross understatement- I fucking love it.

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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