Review: Vapor Trails

After some troubling times with drummer Neil Peart, Geddy and Alex of Rush pushed forward with their first album in six years, Vapor Trails. This album brought Rush back into the spot light after a long time away but not without some issues.

Fans of Rush from back in the day will remember the hype surrounding the return of the Canadian threesome. The band were creating a lot of noise with news of a tour and an album to boot. The end result was a little under whelming to say the least.

Now, before you go sharpening your pitch forks, there is a good reason for saying such a thing. The original 2002 pressing of Vapor Trails was so badly produced that the album suffered horrific sound problems with heavy compression and sound distortion. It got so bad that a few years ago the band themselves went back and remixed the entire record. The final result being an album that is finally worth having for any Rush fan.

Vapor Trails is a little different stylistically for Rush. The song writing is extremely personal in places and the sound was extremely stripped back and quite gritty in places. The guitars blast loud and heavy with no real blazing guitar solos from Alex Lifeson in sight. An interesting choice if I do say so. Neil’s drums are fully acoustic and pack a serious wallop. The biggest change is the lack of keyboard work from bass player and vocalist Geddy Lee. That smooth synthesiser sound is clearly missing leaving the music sounding a lot more harsh and in your face in comparison to previous albums. Vocally, Geddy still sounds like his usual self with the only exception being his voice has clearly lowered. He does hit some high notes every now and again but they are not as natural or consistent as they use to be. His performance is still really strong, just a little different to what we were use to up until this point.

In terms of songwriting, this isn’t Rush’s best material but the material is not bad, just a little less memorable. Saying that, songs like the brutal opener One Little Victory, the deeply personal Ghost Rider, Vapor Trails and the closing Out of the Cradle are all stand out songs that fans of the band will love.

Looking back on it now, the original release is a truly horrible sounding record. It is a cheap product to pick up these days but I couldn’t warn you more. Buy the remix instead and enjoy a finely produced album for what it is. Nothing particularly ground breaking, just a good time with no alcohol required.

Rating : 7 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. One Little Victory
  2. Ceiling Unlimited
  3. Ghost Rider
  4. Peaceable Kingdom
  5. The Stars Look Down
  6. How It Is
  7. Vapor Trail
  8. Secret Touch
  9. Earthshine
  10. Sweet Miracle
  11. Nocturne
  12. Freeze (Part VI of Fear)
  13. Out of the Cradle