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3.25 | 47 ratings | 5 reviews
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Album · 1996

Filed under Hard Rock


1. Test for Echo (5:55)
2. Driven (4:27)
3. Half the World (3:42)
4. The Color of Right (4:48)
5. Time and Motion (5:01)
6. Totem (4:58)
7. Dog Years (4:55)
8. Virtuality (5:43)
9. Resist (4:23)
10. Limbo (5:28)
11. Carve Away the Stone (4:05)

Total Time: 53:31


- Geddy Lee / vocals, bass, keyboards
- Alex Lifeson / electric and acoustic guitars, mandola
- Neil Peart / drums, percussion, hammered dulcimer

About this release

Studio album
10 September, 1996
Produced by Peter Collins and Rush

1996 - Atlantic(US)(Europe) CD
1996 - Anthem(Canada) CD
2004 - Atlantic(US)(Europe): remastered
2004 - Anthem(Canada) CD: remastered

Thanks to Raff, Time Signature, cannon, Pekka for the updates


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Rush-Test for Echo

It appears that I'm somewhat alone in enjoying 'Test for Echo'. Following the alternative/hard rock of 'Counterparts', 'Echo' is much in that same vein, except even heavier and even less synth. Sometimes reaching heavy metal, 'Echo' really stands out as a unique album in Rush's discography. I like to think of it as another transitional album like 'Grace'.

1. Test for Echo. The title track that starts off the album is easily one of the best. It begins with slow guitar and Lee's low flowing vocals. Quickly picking up the pace, Lifeson gives some killer riffs. Lifeson shreds at times during the song, and the slow-heavy transitions are crafted very well. The bridge comes in with a great solo, and ends with great guitar shreds. Easily my 2nd favorite from the album. (10/10)

2. Driven. Fitting the title, Driven begins with driving guitar riffs. The acoustics before each chorus fits surprisingly well. The bridge gets a grunge feel, with Lee's strong bass and Lifeson's sludgy chords. The song ends with the drums picking up in speed, Certainly fiting it's name. (10/10)

3. Half the World. Beginning with acoustic and electric guitar clashing very nicely, this song is much softer then the previous two. Even though it has a more folk-sound, it's still enjoyable for me. Not much else to say though. (8/10)

4. The Color of Right begins with guitar blasts, but quickly becomes similar to the previous song. Even though somewhat similar to the last song, 'Color' just drags on too long for what it is. It doesn't go anywhere, and just sounds so...generic. One of the weaker tracks. (4/10)

5. Time and Motion. Taking the place as my favorite song on the album, It also takes the place as the heaviest. It begins with crunching guitar and orchestral blasts. All the instruments compliment each other well, and Lee gives a strong vocal performance during the chorus. Lifeson plays a distorted solo during the bridge before Lee's vocals get darker, and the mood of the song changes. Easily my favorite. (10/10)

6. Totem begins with nice bass, but very bland generic guitar and drums. Once the chorus comes in, the song gets better though with the bass and drums going well together. The bridge is the best part of the song in my opinion with its ambiance. Another one of the weaker tracks. (4/10)

7. Dog Years. Continuing the alternative rock style of other songs, Dog Years has sort of punk-like guitar riffs and weird lyrics for Rush. The bridge gives us some great guitar in the background and Lee's vocals get better. Not amazing, but It's not horrible. (5/10)

8. Virtuality. Another heavy song on the album, Virtuality begins with driving riffs and powerful drum beats. In the chorus, acoustics come in and the lyrics sound like they are about computers, strange subject matter for Rush. A great heavy song, but for some reason the lyrics just don't do it for me. (9/10)

9. Resist begins with corny piano combined with guitar, making it sound like a corny 90's ballad. When the acoustics enter it sounds decent, but the piano just feels out of place. Probably my least favorite on the album. (1/10)

10. Limbo is the only instrumental on the album, and easily is the strongest of the 2nd half of the album. Lee's backing un-singed vocals really fit the song, with Peart's great drumming and Lee's bass combined. May remind you of the instrumentals that would later be heard on Snakes and Arrows. (10/10)

11. Carve Away the Stone closes off the album, beginning with grunge-like guitar. It soon gets softer with piano that just seems out of place, however. Lifeson gives a great guitar solo that fits the song, and some fast acoustics come in. Even though it's far from perfect, it's still good in my opinion. (7/10)

Overall, Test for Echo does get weaker on the 2nd half but it definitely isn't a bad album by any means. If you don't like alternative rock or grunge, you may not like this album.

Hope you found this review helpful.
siLLy puPPy
It seems like one step forward and two back for RUSH on their 16th studio album TEST FOR ECHO. After a promising return to a hard rock sound that they had exhibited on their previous album, they decided to tone it down a bit again recalling the tepidness of their late 80s and early 90s works. I honestly don't know what to think about this album. First listen, hated it. Second listen, appreciated it a little more. Third listen, appreciated it but found it relatively boring. I pretty much stopped there as far as evolving any opinion about the musical content.

Although Neil Peart took drum lessons to learn how to incorporate jazz methods and the band plays well, the songs seem weaker and we basically get the same kind of alienating distant sounding distorted tracks that “Counterparts” had to offer only the newly energized passion seems to be dampened quite a bit. It's an ok album that will neither offend nor excite which is too bad because I was hoping for a lot more after such a promising glimpse on the prior album. The art work is actually better than the music which incorporates the cultural ways of the native American Innuit of Northern Canada. Overall a big fat disappointment.
Counterparts wasn't quite a return to form - when "on form" for Rush includes classics like Moving Pictures, 2112, and A Farewell to Kings, returning to it is a difficult proposition indeed and Counterparts didn't quite get there. But it was their strongest album for some time and had some pretty good songs, so Rush fans had plenty of reason to be hopeful about the followup. "Maybe," everyone thought, "this is it, the breakthrough, the comeback, the definitive blowing away of the cobwebs which puts Rush back at the top of their game."

Spoiler: it isn't. Test For Echo isn't a terrible album, but it doesn't feel very necessary either; musically speaking, it's essentially Diet Counterparts, a retread of that territory with the sound toned down a little and a bit less inclined to get heavy from time to time. If you liked that album, Test For Echo might do it for you, though I suspect many of those who embraced Counterparts will find Test rather lightweight. If Counterparts didn't impress you or seem like much of a comeback, Test For Echo certainly won't win you over.
Conor Fynes
'Test For Echo' - Rush (4/10)

After such an unexpected triumph with 'Counterparts,' it was all anyone could do but hope for another album of the same calibre from this power trio. After a two year wait, 'Test For Echo' was released. Had I picked up this album when it first came out, I would have undoubtedly been much more dissapointed than I am. As it stands however, this is for all intents and purposes, a functional hard rock album. However, there is very little here to warrant much of a revisitation. There are a few tracks here that are very enjoyable, but the majority of the tracks adhere to a very by-the-numbers approach. To any lesser band, this might be an acceptable run of the mill piece of work, but for a band that has released such impressive material consistently over the years, 'Test For Echo' is that much more of a dissapointment. After giving this album a few listens, it's no wonder why the band decided to go on hiatus for so long afterwards...

On a more positive note, you can still certainly hear the musical skill of this group in the music, but it gets muddied over by comparatively mediocre songwriting. Disregarding the legion of forgettable tracks on 'Test For Echo' however, there are a few that really stuck out as being great. The first of these is 'Driven.' It is alot faster paced than the mid-tempo norm here, and has a very strong vocal delivery in the chorus. Some acoustic work in the pre-chorus also gives the song the added dynamic that most of the album simply lacks. Another great song (made even better by a beautiful performance of it on the 'R30' DVD) is the charming power ballad 'Resist,' which is a much more subtle piece of music than most of the 'rock' direction the album generally follows. Lastly is the instrumental 'Limbo,' which certainly doesn't come close to measuring up to the classic instrumentals of the band, but it's an atmospheric jam for the band, focusing on some great bass work from Geddy Lee.

As a whole however, the band revolves too heavily around the same tired guitar tones and riffs here. Very few of the songs have an identity of their own, and the album suffers as a result. This band rarely dissapoints me, but 'Test For Echo' easily qualifies as one of their worst albums to date.
Power blackout for Rush on another non-essential album.

"Test For Echo" is the last album I bought to complete the entire collection and I did not expect anything close to their classic of the 70s, but it is rather disappointing how the band lost the power of that era and shed their prog tendencies to embrace a cliched AOR hard rock vibe. The guitars clang and resound in a similar vein to "Presto" and "Roll the Bones", and the synth is kind of dominant sucking the power out of the band. There are ballads and mod tempo commercial sounding tracks, and the album does not have many heavy tracks, it all seems to follow a kind of mid range radio sound, the band had sold out again. The booklet is quite nice with some weird but fascinating art work.

"Counterparts" previously had shown how heavy and innovative the band could be and this followup should have taken this to heart and maintained the heavy complex approach. Sadly there is little on this that grabbed my attention and it is one of the most forgettable albums for Rush. As always there are highlights that save the album from complete obsolescence.

Test For Echo is a killer opener with a very cool riff and Lee sounds great. Driven is a solid rocker, and had a quirky amusing promo clip to go with it at the time. Half The World is not too bad with some inventive lyrics and catchy chorus. The next few songs are all very much the same structure and are very AOR in style. Resist is another standout track and Limbo is a great instrumental that always works well for the power trio.

Nothing else to say except I am glad the band branched out for a heavier sound on their next albums, in fact "Vapor Trails" buries this album for sheer quality and driving blasting rock, the band at their best. The fact that the album is way better than "Presto" or "Roll the Bones" earns it a 3 star rating, but only just by the skin of its teeth. It really is not one of Rush's greatest hours.

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