Vapor Trails

Vapor Trails

3.9 94
by Rush
     
 

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The half decade since Rush's last studio offering hasn't been a pleasant time for the Canadian trio -- what with drummer/lyricist Neil Peart having to cope with the deaths of both his wife and daughter. While an element of darkness crops up on Vapor Trails, it doesn't weigh down the band's artistry. In fact, it seems to have invested

Overview

The half decade since Rush's last studio offering hasn't been a pleasant time for the Canadian trio -- what with drummer/lyricist Neil Peart having to cope with the deaths of both his wife and daughter. While an element of darkness crops up on Vapor Trails, it doesn't weigh down the band's artistry. In fact, it seems to have invested Rush's music with a rediscovered visceral edge, a reconnection with humanity. In sharp contrast to the succinct, keyboard-driven material the band has proffered on it past several releases, Vapor Trails evinces a desire to give listeners a few sharp pokes to the nerve center. Alex Lifeson's guitar surges to the fore on the bulk of the disc's 13 songs, sometimes simply slamming (as on the surprisingly raw opener, "One Little Victory") and sometimes intricately slashing (as on "Nocturne," which conjures up images of Rush's headiest days). Peart's lyrics, while certainly indicative of the troubles he's endured, don't lapse into simple autobiography: "The Stars Look Down" and "How It Is" both resonate with complex yet ultimately universal comments on love, loss, and regeneration. While Vapor Trails may give pause to those who have come to expect more gentle musings from Rush, folks who fondly recall the band's reign as power trio kingpins will find following these trails an irresistible journey worth repeating.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Greg Prato
Most longtime Rush fans realize that a new album from the Canadian trio in the early 21st century is quite an accomplishment. After drummer Neil Peart's much-publicized tragic turn of events in his private life not long after Rush's 1996 release Test for Echo (the death of both his teenaged daughter and wife less than a year apart), the group's future was understandably cast into doubt. Slowly but surely, however, the band regained their footing and issued their 17th studio album in 2002, Vapor Trails. You would think that a veteran band entering their fourth decade together would perhaps mellow out a bit, but this doesn't prove to be case, as evidenced by the leadoff track "One Little Victory," while the majority of the album follows the same direct and hard-hitting sound as their past couple of releases (fans of the group's more synth-based and sterile mid-'80s style will have to look elsewhere). Peart, who remains the group's main lyricist, opts to conquer such challenging subject matter as the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on "Peaceable Kingdom," while bits of the lyric to "Ghost Rider" ("Pack up all those phantoms/Shoulder that invisible load") lead the listener to believe that perhaps the drummer is sharing his personal healing process with the fans. Other standouts include the melodic "Sweet Miracle," the explosive "Out of the Cradle," the mid-paced title track, and "Earthshine," the latter of which showcases how fine Lee's voice has matured (especially when compared to his high-piercing shriek on Rush's early albums). All in all, Vapor Trails does an amiable job of signaling the welcome return of Rush.

Product Details

Release Date:
05/14/2002
Label:
Atlantic
UPC:
0075678353123
catalogNumber:
83531
Rank:
23075

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Vapor Trails 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was really looking forward to this album as Rush have been one of my favourite bands for the past 25 years but alas they seem to have no connection with their past here, seemingly jumping on the nu-metal bandwagon to produce their most mundane and characterless album ever. If you took away the voice, you'd be hard pushed to tell it was Rush, the playing is adequate rather than outstanding as normal and more importantly, the songs are boring, with no memorable parts. They simply sound completely insignificant compared to their former selves. They did the heavy rock thing way back in the early seventies and to be frank they were much better at it back then. The desicion to lose the keyboards has made matters even worse, taking what was left of any trace of sophistication away. I think I'll stick with Caress of Steel if I want the heavier side of the band. Sorry guys! Although I'll probably still go to the tour for old times sake.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Without a doubt, this is the worst recording that Rush has produced in their long career. Gone is the sophistication, complexity, and mature introspection into the bigger questions of life and history (Red Sector A, Power Windows, Subdivisions, etc.). What we are left with is a sound that strangely resembles my blender when I'm making daquiris. I have loved this band for 25 years, even played in a Rush copy band after high school. But now, I crave more taste and insight, not meaningless buzzsaw jams. I am thoroughly disappointed. Two stars only because it's Rush. Another other band, and it'd be one star.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boring and generic. Lots of noise and very disjointed songs. No melodies to follow. Sounds like a cut-and-paste-job, done on somebody's computer!
Guest More than 1 year ago
My favorite band of all time! Worst album ever! No guitar solos. They have turned into a boy band.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would give this zero stars if I could! If Rush wanted to "get back to the basics" thay should've tried a tour down memory lane to the 70's instead of the 90's. This is horrible! After a few listens to this disc, that awesome integrity that has inhabited so many other Rush lp's was still missing. Honestly, they can't be tickled pink with this. But if millions of folks are buying this slop then maybe they are tickled pink. Way to go guys!
Guest More than 1 year ago
First heard the new rips while waiting in the parking lot of the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, CA for CSNY to start. Can't wait for the upcoming tour. If anyone has info about tour dates please pass it along. Looking forward to another great RUSH CD.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album has got to be one of the greatest albums I have heard in a long time.Rush once again lives up to there expectations.Buy it you will love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For many years rush has been experimenting with different forms of music, but 30 years into their career they found a sound that I enjoy the most. Peart has become more personal with the lyrics but this would naturally happen on the count of his loss of his wife and daughter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
somehow the whole album got released on limewire and i downloaded the whole thing. i thought maybe it was a fake until i heard the music. nobody plays drums like neil. i love this cd. it reminds me of rush before synthesizers. it flat out rocks. looking forward to august 1st when i get to see my favorite group live again. by the way i have pre ordered vapor trails. can't wait till it gets here
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best albums I have ever heard. And that coming from not the best sounding mp3swhich I had access to!Geddy Lee is amazing in bass and his voice is very harmonious.The guitar sounds great with a lot of different textures, it rocks! And what can I say about Neil Peart?He's simply one of the best drummers in history bar none and he shines once again keeping the playing tight along with the rest of the songs.I didn't perceive any ''weak'' songs. I'm buying 2 copies come May 14th. One for the home and one for everywhere else.It's that good.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After almost six years of listeners waiting (and/or hoping) for a new RUSH studio project, the Canadian trio return with a brilliance as is actually quite expected; given that with the majority of their records they have attempted to push further into a particular musical direction; whether it be from Zeppelin-esque 'rock and roll' to harder-edged art-rock, from prog-rock to more orchestrated proto-pop; they have always been sincere about pushing both their musical abilities as well as their bounderies. After a wave of eighties synth-laden experimentation, the group literally 're-grouped'' and digressed back to the more pre-ordained approach to organic composition: guitars, drums, bass and vocals. '89's ''Presto'' was an ingenious starting point, culminating(in my own opinion) with '93's ''Counterparts'', then carrying that on further with even less keyboards/piano again with '96's ''Test For Echo''. Although the three disc ''Different Stages'' live album was extremely satisfying (for it included a previously un-released gig at Hammersmith Odeium) and 'bookmarked' the end of another 4 album cycle (as had ''All The World's a Stage '74-'76'', ''Exit...Stage Left '77-'81'' and ''A Show of Hands '82-87''), it merely fueled the flames for their devoted fans to long for something more. Between the too-often mentioned personal tragedies of Mr. Peart and the experimentations of both Lifeson (VICTOR) and Lee (other than his solo album he had played bass with Tangerine Dream style musician Kenneth Ramm), the so-called mainstream rock market had all but forgotten about RUSH. The hiatus has proven to be both a high practice of personal growth for the individuals as well as showing that; with their return; they are not pulling a ''Pink Floyd Stunt'' in just making a record when it's time to get some more cash flow to come wavering in. What we have here is a 3 piece musical force with both the brains and musical flair to easily outway ANY of the bands from their so-called 'era'...a group that has the ability to maintain their own distinctive sound while continually re-imagining the parameters of what they can do at any particular period of time; rather than just either giving up altogether or simply slagging it out with whatever's commercially viable (groups like the Stones or Aerosmith come to mind, although RUSH are certainly younger than that lot)...these three musicians; no rather, artists: Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and Neil Peart, are above and beyond what most bands have and will ever hope to aspire to be. ''Vapor Trails'' is a wonderful recognition of that fact. Yet, it is clearly obvious that Geddy's melodic tastes and vocal harmonization (as per his 2000 solo outing, ''My Favorite Headache'') shows through the record with blatant clarity (filling the gap left open by lack of synth/keys). But that comes with so many years at developing a craft, doesn't it..? Lifeson's guitar playing is both impeccable and refreshing; his energy for the angular, off-the-wall riffs and textures really keeps the record rolling along smoothly. Not as if I'm abandoning any recognization that the rock music world's finest and most intelligent/focused drummer is in the band. Lest we forget. Like the just traversed long distance flight passing overhead: leaving a brief glimpse at what has been here in a vapor trail, catch this disc before it dissapates in the afterglow...
Guest More than 1 year ago
Flat out, this is the best Rush record of the last 10 years. If you've been away from the band for a while you've missed some good albums with Counterparts, and Test for Echo marking a progression back to a more guitar/bass/drums song structure. This progression reaches a new high with Vapor Trails. Interesting notes about this album: There are definitely some elements of ''My Favorite Headache'' (Geddy's solo effort) and ''Victor'' (Alex's solo effort) in this latest effort. The effort seems to be on writing, the song, it's structure and feel rather than chops although the playing is still awesome (how can it not be?). For example Alex really doesn't have a guitar solo on the whole record although there are plenty instrumental breaks in every song. It took me about 6 listens before I noticed there wasn't really a single solo which tells you that the songs really work they way they are. Freeze is my favorite Rush song since ''Between the Wheels'' and is a great odd time, polyrhythmic song. ''Peaceable Kingdom'' flat out rocks and should be the next single in my opinion. I don't like ''Ghost Rider'' and ''Ceiling Unlimited'' as much as the rest of the record but I think that is just my tastes and a testament to how good the rest of the record is. OVerall this is one of the best Rush records of any time period. I highly recommend it to old and new fans.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rush has broken new ground once again, this time creating an album of songs that seemingly fit together and at the same time can each hold their own. Their albums of the 90s I found often had differed from their 80s and 70s stuff simply because there were songs on ''Roll the Bones'', ''Counterparts'' and ''Test for Echo'' that in my opinion were not up to par with the other tracks on the albums. Certain songs were just unmemorable. Well, with the release of ''Vapor Trails'', Rush has finally created the ''Complete'' album. Each track has a quality or edge that's memorable, catchy, or just plain awesome. The guitar is nearly overwhelming, as Alex simply drives this one home. Peart seems to reinvent himself every album, both lyrically and on the skins. And Geddy sounds better than ever, his vocal harmonies are better than I've ever heard. Highlights include the raw opening cut, ''One Little Victory'', the complex ''Ceiling Unlimited'', the catchy ''How it Is'', the edgy ''Nocturne'', and the guitar driven ''Earthshine''. I can't wait to see them on tour this summer. If you haven't caught this band live, you a truly missing out. Catch them while you can!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wait has certainly been worth it. What a fabulous collection of song and lyric! (Again) Good job boys!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been a Rush fan since 1976 and have enjoyed their music alot. After having seen them live 13 times I cannot wait to see them live this time. The lack of keyboards is a pleasant surprise, after all the use of them over most of their records it is good to hear just the three basic insturment again.Although I just got ''Vapor Trails'' today and havn't had the chance to totally digest it yet,it will standout as one of their best efforts. Hopefully this is the beginning of a whole new era in the history of RUSH!!!! Rock on Neil, Alex and Geddy!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The wait was well worth it, and the extra time in the studio. The Layers and Textures of the music are awesome , and Geddys vocals are top notch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Alex's guitar steals the show. He has found a whole new set of ''riffs''. He clearly also has gained alot of recording experience on Victor. Geddy's melody lines are stonger than ever. He employs chords on the bass often and tastefully. Neil's lyrics are strong. The drumming on this CD is what makes it ''hard rock''. I can't yet tell if it a single or double-bass drum set.The timing changes are very very subtle on this CD. Instead of saying ''see how complex we can play?'', they seem to sneak complexity in... saying ''did 'ya catch that?'' The CD artwork is top notch, and there is a nice thick book of lyrics and artwork. Packaging sells CDs (since MP3s) and buying Vapor Trails will make you feel like you got something for your money ! Also the CD is almost 70 minutes long, nice !
Guest More than 1 year ago
Through all of the turmoil of my personal hero, Neil Peart, after a small hiatus, Rush comes back full flames on Vapor Trails. The traditional intelligent lyrics of Neil, the slamming back beat of Geddy's bass and Alex's untraditional guitar work make Vapor Trails take off right where Test For Echo left off. The ONLY complaint, no song like Virtuality that comes right out and kicks you in the boo-boo. But the entire record makes up for it!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
To be honest, wasn't sure what to expect, except I was looking forward to it. Following the boys over the last year in print it seems as if they themselves were unsure as to the quality of the songs, and how they would be received. Well. My butt feels like it's been on the receiving end of a sledge hammer thingie! They plain ROCK! What's that all about? THIS far into middle age and they still ROCK? And there are hauntingly beautiful passages on this thing, WAY more melodic than Test For Echo! Geddy's voice has always been the weak point for me, but he does things here that can only be described as remarkable. Stand-out surprise: How It Is
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was surprised when I first listened to this new Rush CD. The songs are expertly crafted. The Canadian trio's musical and instrumental abilities shine brightly. The 5 year hiatus seems to have invigorated Lee and Lifeson. Peart's introspective lyrics also seem to have benefited from the time off, not too mention the personal tragedies that have happened to him over the years. High points include ''One Little Victory'' and ''How it is''. Still, I wish Geddy and the boys used some synth/keys. The best Rush efforts of the late 70's and early 80's always seemed to have just the right amount. Some of the songs on this latest effort really sound like they could have used just a bit. Still, that's a minor complaint.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Rush has produced, in my opinion, their greatest album of all time. This album combines the best of the old stripped down style reminiscent of their earlier albums with the complex technical layering of their latter efforts. Geddy has seemed to rediscover his bass in a big way on this one. Alex's guitar textures are unparalleled in the industry. Who else can get so many differing voices out of a six string? Neil, well, he is Neil, drummer extraordinare. My first listen to the album left me with chills. I am so excited to see them again live.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The quality of their musicianship and songwriting continues to change and grow and squashes anything they released in the 90s. It takes me back to the days when they were edgy and untouchable. They're just that once again!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just listened to the new CD last night. It has an interesting blend of ''old school'' (Moving Pictures/2112) guitar and drums with the more modern style of Peart's lyrics. The lyrics, while emotional and personal, do no connect as well as some of the more poetic Counterparts-type storytelling. Lee trys to revert to the higher end of his range, but sounds strained and shrill. They have effectively abandoned the synth sound of the late 80's for a crunchier, more beat driven sound remeniscent of Test For Echo. Lifeson leads the way with inventive guitar grooves, solidly maintaining his place in the halcyon of guitar gods. All in all, I think its a quality album. I tend to prefer Rush at their more personal level as opposed to their socially driven albums (Permanent Waves/Test For Echo). Reading Peart's liner notes at Rush.com does provide some interesting insight into the creation of the album, furthering a listener's enjoyment.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Picked it up last night - even if you're not a die hard fan, its a must have. Just plain rocks all the way around!
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the few CD's I own where I like every single song on the album. Geddy Lee sounds great, and the guitars are nice and thick.