RUSH — Grace Under Pressure (review)

RUSH — Grace Under Pressure album cover Album · 1984 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
Unitron
Grace Under Pressure is the tenth studio album from hard rock/progressive rock band Rush. Two years after 1982's Signals, Rush drifts farther down the river of synth and the 80's New Wave scene. Bearing smaller and smaller resemblance to their classic sound, the band has nearly completely embraced the 80's sound by this point. Despite that, Grace Under Pressure is still a pretty great album and includes some of the band's classic tracks.

Opener "Distant Early Warning" has always been a favorite of mine and one of the first songs I heard from the band, and really represents some of the best of the band's synth era material. The mini-guitar solo about three minutes through the song is surprisingly pretty metallic and almost Iron Maiden-esque, but of course that's the only reference to anything remotely metal on this album.

Speaking of that guitar solo, Grace Under Pressure still shows Alex Lifeson delivering some great guitar riffing and occasional solos. "The Enemy Within", "The Body Electric", and "Between the Wheels" in particular showcase great balance of the band's own sound and their incorporation of contemporary trends to keep up with the times. The only times that this balance stops and it fails to work, are with "Kid Gloves" and "Red Lenses". The former is honestly one of the most annoying songs in the band's discography with a real sappy-sounding guitar motif that reeks of the cheesiest bands of the 80's. The latter is substantially better, but something about it just doesn't work. It's catchy enough, but I can't say the pseudo-funky sound with Cold War lyricism really works that well.

Most of the music on the album is quite melancholy sounding, so it makes sense that most of the lyricism is on the darker side of the spectrum as well. Much of it deals with environmental disaster, nuclear war, paranoia, as well as loss of loved ones as heard in the touchingly somber "Afterimage". The album cover fits the mood well, as it's a somewhat gloomy contemplative scene with the use of lighter (yet pale on some editions) colors.

Grace Under Pressure continues the pretty good consistency from Signals, and the continuous slight updating of sound works well for the most part. The updating of sound would show to be a bit more drastic on the following album, but if you like Signals, chances are you'll like this one too. Hope you found this review helpful, feel free to comment!
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Warthur wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Yeah,I honestly think it's the best of their synth-focused albums.
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I love this one too. The perfect album for their synth years
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Thanks, it's not one of my most played Rush albums lately but I did play this one a lot back when most of what I listened to was Rush.
Bosh66 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'm old enlighten to have bought this album when it was released over 30 years ago, and I really didn't like it at first. It's now probably one of my most played Rush albums. Good album and a good review.

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