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Rush - Hold Your Fire (1987)

Discussion in 'Album Reviews' started by joe, May 13, 2012.

  1. joe

    joe Senior Member

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    Rush - Hold Your Fire

    1987 - Anthem(Canada) LP

    - Geddy Lee / vocals, bass, bass pedals, synthesizers, keyboards
    - Alex Lifeson / guitars
    - Neil Peart / drums, acoustic and electronic percussion

    1. Force Ten
    2. Time Stand Still
    3. Open Secrets
    4. Second Nature
    5. Prime Mover
    6. Lock And Key
    7. Mission
    8. Turn The Page
    9. Tai Shan
    10. High Water

    Rush tip-toes through their third phase(1982-1987): the exuberant indulgence(like this review) of electronics that exemplifies the excessive(again, like this review) '80's as synthesizers and keyboards became the prevalence and pushed the guitars to accent intervals and distant atmospheres. Rush synchonrized and digitised the lush pomp of neo-prog with the simplistic and squeamish synth pop with thier signature sound structure concurring with the agenda of the music video industry. Most of the '80's was a dim and dwindling duration for progressive rock and Rush(excluding 'Moving Pictures) was a contributing artist to the top 40 "kettle of fish". With that being said, the band did have some grace under pressure during the swanky New Wave sound and could be argued that the band's releases during this period weren't nearly as reprehensible as some other offerings from other classic proggers like Yes and Genesis. Oh yeah, I just about forgot about that first progressive rock super group of the '80's, Asia(ugh)...progressive?...Seriously?

    'Hold Your Fire'(1987) was their first album that didn't crack the top ten since 'Hemispheres' as this number might of sent signals to the band that it was time to make another shift in direction, however it does contain four top 40 singles with the first two tracks, "Force Ten" and "Time Stand Still", both reaching #3 on the Billboard charts. "Force Ten" starts of with a running of Neil Peart's electronic drums(shudder) but Lifeson's guitar steps in and sonically steers this song and is only one of his two highlights from the album(as is this track) but the interplay of the synths and the digi-drum breaks the synergy at the halfway point and retroverts back saving face. "Time Stand Still": It sure does. "Open Secrets" scintillates with spacey(Pink Floyd) guitars and is the best track(and most overlooked) and contain's Lifeson's best solo which are so far in between and insignificant on this album(I thought Rush was a trio?) and Geddy slaps down a great bass riff. The other two hit singles, "Lock And Key"(#16) and "Mission"(#33) cradle the corporate contemporary. "Tai Shan": Made In China; flimsy. The remaining tracks fizzle and lack any spark and `Turn The Page incongruously should of rolled up the power windows on this album.

    The production resonates a trebly, tinny tone, however it does harmonise with Geddy Lee`s shrill vocal registry spliced with being generically grandiose in unison with melodramatic melody was the typical `modern`dynamics of the `80`s. The musicianship and songwriting is the distinguishing characteristc of `Hold Your Fire`and shouldn`t come as a surprize as it is the mollycoddling of the mainstream with shuddering shiny sound properties of shallow sissy synths and the dissonate digi-drums; two things I most despise of the 1980`s rock music scene along with `guys`wearing make-up and the MTV/MM monopoly.

    Rush embraced the New Wave culture not only with the music but Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson(not to mention his Flock Of Seagulls hairdo) took a fancy to the fashion as well and made a guest appearence in the last episode of `Miami Vice` in 1989. Do I need to say more...I think not.

    Exit...stage left and Rush limps into `90`s with their fourth phase(1989-present) somewhat leaving behind the calculated sound and sequenced structure but still conducted the idiosynchracies of the middle of the road, `arty-farty`sound with prog on the periphery that plagued `Presto`, `Roll The Bones`and possibly...probably the band`s worst release, `Test For Echo`though `Counterparts`was the exception during this phase. Alex Lifeson`s guitars again became forefront but are ineffecient in transmitting amperage and voltage of any magnitude and vibrancy.

    Rating: 5/10

     
  2. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    Interesting review....have sort of a soft spot for this album. Will have to pull it out again soon. Open secrets is one that I've always lied as well, and I will always love Time stand Still.

    IMO,I thought it, for what it was and is, to be a smooth spin from beginning to end. :grinthumb
     
  3. TheWhalerfan

    TheWhalerfan Lovus My Avatarus

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    The writing and basic makeup of the songs on HYF were fine..it was just too soft. Keyboards were cranked while the guitar was muted, and this made many die hards like myself cringe. An example of how much better these tunes can sound with a little more "oomph" is demonstrated on the R30 live dvd. Force Ten, while being OK on the album, sounds great when Lifeson is allowed to turn it up a bit.

     
  4. Khor1255

    Khor1255 Senior Member

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    Sorry, but my God what a snooze fest! The first album by Rush where I truly lost all hope that they might return to being an interesting band. And I was right. With this album and every subsequent release they became the cardboard cutout version of how bad a once promising band might get in the 80s. Laughable might be an appropriate term for this if it didn't evoke so much rage.

    When the best song on your album is largely sung by an airhead wavester it's time to step back and evaluate exactly what you might have done to get to this low point in your career. Sadly, Rush never did and continued to put out albums even worse that this pos recording.

    I apologize again but....really? This?
     
  5. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    :grinthumb
     
  6. Rockperson

    Rockperson Senior Member

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    I saw Rush for the first time on this tour and at that time I wasn`t overly keen on this album due to the keyboards but after 20 odd years it has grown on me and I really rate it very highly.

    Open Secrets is my personal favourite track off this album :grinthumb
     
  7. StarThrower

    StarThrower Member

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    This album got me back into Rush temporarily back in 1987. I still think it's a strong collection of songs, but I agree that the production and sound is quite undesirable. And it sounds much worse 25 years on.
     
  8. Sox

    Sox Avoiding The Swan Song

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    Not so sure about the fashion direction at the time, big question mark over that ? The album probably doesn't stand alongside the greats from Rush but I do enjoy a good listen through every now and then. Good review Joe.
     
  9. stepcousin

    stepcousin stuck in the 70's

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire

    I hated it when it was released but over the years it has grown on me alot. Funny, when I stopped comparing it to the great Rush albums of the 70's and early 80's, I could actually start enjoying it for what it is.
     
  10. METALPRIEST

    METALPRIEST Senior Member

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    Re: Rush - Hold Your Fire



    This is how I take the album, and why I like it. I really don't compare it to other works. Well said. :grinthumb
     

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