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

CORNERSTONE Arrival

Album · 2000 · Hard Rock
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lukretion
The name Steen Mogensen should tell something to any serious Royal Hunt fan. The bass player has been a cornerstone of the Danish melodic progressive metal masters since their very early days and until he left the band after the Eyewitness album in 2003. A few years before that, he decided to take a break from his day job and paired up with singer extraordinaire Dougie White to play some classy hard rock under the name Cornerstone. Arrival is their first LP and was released in 2000 via Massacre Records.

On Arrival, Mogensen and White received more than a little help from the bassist’s bandmates in Royal Hunt. Jacob Kjaer (guitars), Allan Sørensen (drums) and André Andersen (keyboards) all feature as guest musicians on the album. Kenny Lübcke (a regular backing vocalist for Royal Hunt) and Henrik Brockmann (Royal Hunt’s singer on their first two records) lend backing vocals. And Toni Rahm (Prime Time, but member of Royal Hunt for a short period in 1990) plays a couple of guitar solos. Altogether, this makes for a high-quality line-up that any fan of Royal Hunt would certainly find appealing and interesting. This is indeed what attracted me to this record back in 2000 when I was a fairly hardcore Royal Hunt fan and I immediately jumped on this record as soon as the line-up was announced. I still remember being very impressed by the slick, classy hard rock style of the LP back then. The album also stood the test of time, as I still find it very pleasant and well-done today, more than 20 years after its initial release.

With Mogensen as the sole songwriter, the music is inevitably not too different from the more hard rock / classic metal material that Royal Hunt released over the years and especially early on in their career. The material is highly melodic, with strong choruses and equally melodic and catchy verses. The songs have simple structures and mostly stay in the mid-tempo range, with occasional faster riffs, giving a majestic but also melancholic tone to the whole album. The arrangements are elegant and sophisticated, with a good interplay between bass grooves (which are much more prominent than on Royal Hunt’s releases), smooth guitar riffs, and delicate keyboard and piano motifs. There are also some great melodic solos provided by Jacob Kjaer (such a classy guitar player, and terribly underrated!) and Toni Rahm. The backing vocals have that vaguely AOR quality that one can also find on Royal Hunt’s releases, perfectly complementing the MASSIVE vocal performance by Dougie White. When it comes to his voice, the man’s CV’s speak for itself (Rainbow, Axel Rudi Pell, Yngwie Malmsteen, Michael Schenker, Alcatrazz, and many others) and there is no doubt that he is a superb hard rock / heavy metal singer. His smooth, velvety voice can soothe and caress, but also rip and pierce your ears when he goes full power. The album deserves a listen if nothing else for the singer’s great vocal performance.

With excellent performances all-round, the songwriting is also strong. There are some great tunes on this album, very inspired and with the right dynamics and feel. The opening duo “Arrival” and “Walked on the Water” are nothing short of exhilarating, with huge melodic hooks on the choruses that provide an excellent climax for the tension built in the dark verses. “Jungle” is lighter and more up-tempo, but provides some good melodies and a nice guitar solo too. The album perhaps plods a little bit in the middle, with songs like “Top of the World” and “Gift of Flesh” sounding a tad less inspired and verging on filler. But the bluesy “Grain of Sand” and the epic closer “I’m Alive” set things right again and ensure that the album closes on a high note.

Overall, Arrival is a pretty strong, high-quality and classy hard rock / melodic heavy metal album that will surely please fans of these genres. Anyone following Royal Hunt should also give this LP a spin or two, because there are significant traces of the Danish band on this album too. Cornerstone will continue their career with three more studio albums, also of good quality. But Arrival remains perhaps their most inspired and exciting release.

BUCKETHEAD Pike 299 - Thought Pond

Album · 2021 · Heavy Alternative Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Well hello, kiddies! Are you ready for another trip to BUCKETHEAD’s FunHouse in BUCKETHEADLAND? Tickets are selling fast so hurry up and get yours! For those of you who already have a special pass, please follow me! It’s time to board the PIKE 299 Express and today’s destination is to the THOUGHT POND. Oh yea, you know of what i speak. The place where contemplation results in heavy doses of instrumental alternative metal where the Lord Supreme Chicken Lover plays every last instrument! Buckle your seat belts and please keep you hands in the ride. Some of the chickens have turned a bit nasty lately and we certainly don’t want you to lose any limbs.

This PIKE experience will last approximately 28 minutes and transverse five distinct regions. The first stop will be “In The Vases” which showcases BUCK BUCK’s slide guitar juju. Oh it’s so bluesy and all before turning into a more standard alt metal type of tune that true fans will already be familiar with. To keep things from getting too overly weird, the following title track pretty much follows suit. Yeah, sometimes we have to keep things from getting TOO out there or we’ll have another incident where our patrons jump out of the car while it’s moving and end up as chicken fodder. This is horrible for the insurance policies.

And be careful, kiddies! Our next stop may appear to be the “Shit Reflection” but look more carefully as you will see it’s really the “Stilt Reflection!” Even stilts need to reflect sometime and never forget it. Another tasteful dose of amplified slide guitar with some tasty guitar riffs, bass and drums. Lately BH has really gotten into the classics. Recently he did an AC/DC styled instrumental PIKE and now has gotten this bluesy rock hair up his ass! Must be ticklin’ something up there! Hehe. Anyways, another decent track from he who escaped the coop so long ago. No stilt!

Now just because the next stop is a tune called “Times For Tears,” do not worry! You will not be pummeled with tear gas! We promise we fixed that problem a month ago! Also we won’t make you cry with a sappy done-before ballad that makes you want to pull your hair out, commit suicide or go bowling instead! No, kiddies, this is yet another heavy rocker with some riffy guitar workouts and a few breakdowns. I swear i must be having a breakdown. I could’ve sworn that yesterday the next stop was called “Vulcan Stroke” which made me think about Mr. Spock from Star Trek playing with himself all inappropriately but i see now it’s actually called “Vulcan Stoke” so either i need to get my mind out of the gutter or increase my meds. Anywayz, this track is sorta Led Zeppelin-y in a “Kashmir” sorta way but with those BH cluck plucks of the guitar strings. Nah, i take it back it’s just another riff based guitar dominant track. This one has some atmosphere however but not anything tooo overly different from previous PIKEs.

Well, ladies and gents, that concludes another adventure in BUCKETHEADLAND. We hope no limbs were lost and that sanity has been maintained! While this ride may not be the top attraction at this here theme park, it nevertheless was an honor to take you on this ride and we do hope you stick around for another PIKE is, well, just down the PIKE! Hehehehehe! That will conclude today’s services. Please do mind the gap upon exiting and see you on the next chicken’s wild adventure! Oh and don’t forget to stamp your merch tickets. Buy four KFC bucket head covers and get the fifth one totally free!

MCOIL All Our Hopes

Album · 1979 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
One of those obscure acts from the heavier rock side of Germany’s 1970s Krautrock craze and sounding more like a side order of salad dressing at a McDonald’s restaurant, the band MCOIL emerged in 1976 in Ochsenhausen and stuck around for about ten years only leaving this sole album ALL OUR HOPES in its wake. In many ways MCOIL was a typical hard rock leaning band with excellent keyboard work in the vein of Deep Purple, early Uriah Heep and Quatermass however with the grizzled vocal style of lead singer Walter Utz, more technically drumming courtesy of Andy Tischmann and a more progressive approach to songwriting reminiscent of bands like Captain Beyond and fellow Germans Twenty Six And Then, MCOIL stands out as a more accomplished form of the typical hard rock scene of the late 1970s.

Originally released in 1979 as a private pressing, this band literally existed in the shadows until a 1993 re-release on CD from the Penner label. ALL OUR HOPES has gained a bit more exposure once another CD version appeared on the Garden of Delights label. Given the year of release when hard rock was transmogrifying into the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and other German bands like the Scorpions were reigning supreme, MCOIL still had its musical tastes set to the early 1970s when progressive rock and early proto-metal coexisted side by side and the result is a very surprisingly pleasant album that exists within the framework of melodic hard rock complete with the talented guitar workouts of Karl Wild, the bantering bass thumping of Norbert Kuhpfahl along with creative keyboard contributions singer / keyboardist Walter Utz.

From a musicianship standpoint, MCOIL was in a whole other league amongst the competition with brilliant compositional fortitude accompanied by several virtuosic performances particularly in the percussive department. Utz’s vocals may be a hard pill to swallow with their Rod Stewart styled raspiness but for my tastes works quite well to give the somewhat polished musical scores a grittier street value thus bridging the gap between nerdy sophisticated prog and the more adrenaline inducing immediacy of 1970s hard rock. The keyboards not only provide in-yer-face lead instrument assaults but also weave mesmerizing atmospheres hence the comparisons with Deep Purple and other British bands of the same era. The dynamics and diversity of the album is quite strong with moments of contemplative space rock as well as balls to the wall hard rock.

Unfortunately there is very little info about this band so it remains somewhat of a mystery. Despite a ten years existence ALL YOUR HOPES was the only album to make it into existence. Given the lengthy run perhaps some archival material is lurking about and now that the band has finally at least become more readily available for checking out on the internet, perhaps some sort of unreleased material will materialize. New releases do feature one bonus track. ALL YOUR HOPES pretty much checks off everything that makes a keyboard inclusive hard rock band of the 1970s so appealing. The melodies are instantly addictive as are the vocal harmonies. The pacing of the heavier and space rock elements are perfect and the musical talent of the members is above average. Personally i really love the vocalist’s style which is quite unique as he nails the heavier parts as well as the softer ones. MCOIL despite the silly band name is definitely not a band to write off as this sole album is a true joy to check out.

BUCKETHEAD Pike 297 - Fork

Album · 2021 · Hard Rock
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siLLy puPPy
Hello kiddies! It’s time for another adventure at BUCKETHEAD’s funhouse nestled deep inside BUCKETHEADLAND! Mr Chicken Lover may have gone cuckoo and has even lost track of all these PIKE #’s. Yep there is still no PIKE 289, no 290 and no 295 but here in November of 2021 we do have PIKE 297 - FORK. Yeah, you know the shiny utensil that you stuff yer big fat face with. It also makes a great self-defense weapon but you have to be extremely crafty not to FORK yourself! Hehe

Many of the PIKEs have sounded quite similar lately but PIKE 297 is like a forkin’ time machine back to the wild raucous world of 1970s hard rock! Oh yeah, this PIKE of just over 30 minutes sounds a lot like an instrumental version of a Bon Scott era AC/DC album. While that is a nice break from the typical alt metal that the Chicken Lover has dished out over the course of 2021, it unfortunately sounds like one of those archival demo albums. Let’s face it. One of the main ingredients of a killa 70s hard rock band was the lead singer and here there’s NONE!

There are nine tracks all titled FORK with the #’s 1-9 to distinguish them. Tracks are short and to the point with only one exceeding four minutes. This is very primitive hard rock sounding more like early Free, Bad Company, UFO, Nazareth and of course early AC/DC. Nothing here is sophisticated in the vein of Led Zeppelin, The Who or Deep Purple and is pretty generic actually. The tracks pretty much run together in a continuous stream but due to the fact there is no charismatic front man hogging the attention, the whole thing sounds fairly repetitive. Ten minutes in and i’m already bored.

Don’t get me wrong. I love me some 70s hard rock. That was an excellent era of bluesy heavy rock music but this just seems to pointless. Instrumental rock at least needs some sort of lead instrument to add contrapuntal melodic developments. Listening to this is like listening to an incomplete album. This music is competent and sounds like it really could’ve existed in the 70s but doesn’t add anything creative to bring it into the modern world. Tracks like “Fork 5” are right out of the AC/DC playbook and almost sounds like “Have A Drink On Me.” After this i need a drink. Nah, this one i’m sure was fun to make but quite an uninteresting listening experience. Major yawn city here.

LED ZEPPELIN Presence

Album · 1976 · Hard Rock
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Dellinger
Except for the opening and closing tracks, this album does just about nothing for me, except annoy me. There's not much hard rock, or even just memorable rock on the in between tracks, only annoying songs that try to be groovy or something, which are just the kind of songs I never liked on previous albums. I go for three stars just because of Achilles Last Stand, the best song on this album, and one of my very favourite Zep tracks, being long and heavy and one of their proggiest songs, and Tea for One is a very nice long blues track that should not be forgotten either.

hard rock movie reviews

KISS Kiss Meets The Phantom Of The Park

Movie · 1978 · Hard Rock
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Vim Fuego
KISS have long had a reputation for doing anything for a buck, and getting their name out in public. There are KISS coffins, er… sorry I mean KISS Kaskets, KISS cologne, KISS checkers, KISS Visa cards, and of course, the KISS comic books. Is it over-the-top tacky marketing of image over substance, or is it capitalism and market forces in action, and simply giving people what they want? With KISS, it’s an unclear mixture of both.

The Marvel Comics Super Special 1977 comic book saw Space Ace, the Demon, the Starchild, and the Catman battling villains Dr. Doom and Mephisto with their superpowers. The comic even has the band members’ blood mixed in with the ink. And so what does every comic book superhero want? A live action movie of course.

So the world got “Kiss Meets the Phantom of the Park”, which first aired on the NBC network on 28 October 1978.

It’s like an overlong live action episode of Scooby Doo, but without the stoner humour. The plot is a bit convoluted. KISS are playing a series of shows at an amusement park. However the park is inhabited by a mad scientist who is supposedly developing animatronic robots for the park. But of course, he’s mad and therefore evil, so he’s creating robots of real people. He creates a Demon Gene robot which smashes up the park. While the band are busy performing, another robot is sent to steal their talismans, from which their superpowers come. And then it starts to get silly and confusing…

There’s more than half an hour of snoozefest before there’s any “acting” from the band themselves. None of the four had any acting experience, and the stilted delivery of their dialogue shows. Originally, all Space Ace was scripted to say was “Ack!” When the real Ace found out, he threatened to pull out unless he got some more lines. After demanding more lines, Frehley also didn’t show for filming some days, so his stunt double filled in. Peter Criss’ Catman lines were mostly feline puns, and his voice ended up being overdubbed anyway, as he didn’t turn up for looping (re-recording lines in post-production), and his broad accent. Gene’s Demon voice ended up either a demonic roar or a Satanic hiss.

Despite all the cheap and nasty sets, effects, and costuming, the fight scenes are actually pretty entertaining. There’s a kung fu fight after one of the concerts onstage and in the empty arena, and there’s a great slapstick/comic book-style brawl against various classic horror movie monster robots. And of course, there’s the climactic KISS robots vs KISS superheroes fight in front of a crowd going wild.

There’s concert footage interspersed through the movie. These parts offer sweet relief from the hammy acting. It was a real concert at a real theme park, set up especially to be filmed for the movie. After the real concert, the band also lip synched several tracks for filming. As you’d expect from KISS, the live performances are flamboyant and over-the-top. Perhaps a more traditional concert movie would have been a better idea?

So how did it all turn out? It was a fucking disaster of course! KISS hated it. For years, after, it was forbidden to mention the movie to anyone in the band. Gene Simmons compared it to “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, often considered the worst movie of all time.

Fans hated it. It got a worldwide release in theatres to a pretty tepid response. It was oddly popular in Australia, but this was probably because free tickets could be obtained by cutting 20 diamond shaped coupons from an ice confectionery cup called an "Icee" and pasting them onto a printed sheet.

KISS fans being what they are, eventually warmed to the movie. It slowly gained cult status, and was released on DVD as part of the “Kissology Volume Two: 1978-1991” box set. It’s one of those movies you see to say that you’ve seen it, but won’t remember well, and definitely won’t remember for the right reasons. The thought of a second viewing is a brand new horror show all of it’s own…

DEEP PURPLE The Video Singles

Movie · 1987 · Hard Rock
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martindavey87
Don’t get me wrong, I love Deep Purple, and I really enjoy the songs on offer here, but these videos are all pretty hilariously bland and uninteresting, and sure reflections of the times and music genre. Besides that, this DVD is barely half an hour long, and comes with no extras, and all these videos are available on YouTube. Not even some additional chit chat between the videos. So there’s really no point in owning this unless you’re an OCD collector like me, who needs to own everything. And even then, it only takes up space.

But I’m a collector, and I only paid 50p for this. So why not?

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.

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