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A. K. Sheikh

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hey Presto, Rush Leave The Eighties In Style, 6 Mar 2000
This review is from: Presto (Audio CD)
I remember thinking that this album was very low-key compared to the dynamics of studio predecessor "Hold Your Fire". Listening to it again, I get the same impression. However, what this album shows most is that Rush can write really good songs that don't just rely on "the riff", "the voice" or "that funny 5/4 bit".
The drum and synth tension building in opener "Show, Don't Tell" is a great intro before the main riff kicks in, which is about as "rock" as this album gets. "Chain Lightning" has got some good interplay between the vocals and the drums and pretty much sets out the stalls for tracks such as "Presto", "War Paint" and "Hand Over Fist". On "Scars", the band really try to go for a new sound, with mainly successful results. But the album really comes alive on "The Pass", which is just a fantastic song that just manages to avoid Neil Peart's usual heavy-handed lyrics, "Anagram (for Mongo)", which has to be one of Peart's best lyrics and "Red Tide" a well written eco-friendly number (with a few old cold war overtones!). The weakest track is Super Conductor, which with its 7/4 feel seems distinctly out of place. Closer "Available Light" again pushes the envelope of the Rush writing format and the band come out with a great way to end a decade.
This album probably won't rate as a "Rush classic" by fans, but the band really tried something very different to their other albums with this. The nineties revealed a rejuvinated Alex Lifeson and the "prog" elements came back in. However, this album really shows their diversity. It really is unique - no Rush record before or after sounds like this and there are some really well written songs in here if you give the album a chance.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Elysian Indeed!, 1 Mar 2000
Elizium, the third and final Fields of the Nephilim studio album recorded a year before they split in 1991, is an absolute masterpiece. Often maligned for their image as much as anything else, the Nephs were always great at writing and playing music. This is the sound of a band in complete control, from the opening swathes of synth on (Dead But Dreaming) to the squiggly chorus and delay of (And There Your Heart Will Be Also) - what is it about titles in brackets?
The entire "concept" of the album is, unsurprisingly for a goth band, death. "For Her Light" (which comprises the first four tracks) tells the story of the dying subject leaving their partner. Through myriad tempo changes and washes of atmospherics, the sound of the album is defined and the listener engaged in the stormy journey. "Submission" and "Summerland" follow in the same vein with great dynamics and lyrics about subsequent sections of the journey to Elysium. By the end, in "Wail of Sumer", the subject seems to be at ease with death and with the segue into (And Their Your Heart Will Be Also) the story concludes with the subject, although wishing to be back in the land of the living, waiting for their partner. It sounds cheesy written down in this review, but the music and lyrics really draw you in.
A great album from a great band. I really hope that their re-union isn't just hype.

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