Rush - Test For Echo
Atlantic
Hard Rock
11 songs (53:25)
Release year: 1996
Rush, Atlantic Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Amongst the most hated of Rush’s work for some reason, their sixteenth full-length and the last before the tragic events in Neil Peart’s life shows the beginnings of their current sound; a guitar-driven, slightly Alt-Rock journey that whilst isn’t as complex as their 70s work still has their signature technicality at play. Really, there’s little wrong with Test For Echo; the opening title track is catchy if a little long, Driven verges on Prog, the interplay between bass and guitar as fascinating as ever, Half The World having a little more of the Classic Rock influence... some complain of a soullessness on this album, a sense that Rush are just going through the motions, something I’ve never understood. Even ballad The Color Of Right is great, possibly one of their best, Alex Lifeson on fire, as usual. In some ways, this is better than their 2002 comeback album Vapor Trails; the production is stellar here, for example.

Although there are still some synths here and there (the Tooly Time And Motion, for example, taking on more Progginess than you’d expect) far and away the lead instrument is the guitar. Geddy’s bass playing is up to his usual standard, and even though Neil Peart described his playing here as his best (in Ghost Rider, his book describing the journey taken after the deaths of his wife and daughter) I’d disagree; of course, it’s very good, but does it really compare to his best? Still, there’s plenty of great sticksmanship present; Atheist anthem Totem alone proves he’s the best drummer in the whole wide world.

As with most Rush albums, the more you listen, the more you get; even now, after many listens (Test For Echo was one of the first Rush albums I bought) I’m still discovering new depths, cool instrumental parts I hadn’t noticed before, a lyrical line that makes me think or (more likely) laugh out loud – really, ode to internet dating Virtuality just might be the most ridiculous thing that Peart has ever written, although it’s a great song, and groovy rocker Dog Years compares dog lives to human lives in some half-baked philosophical treatise that never quite gets off the ground. Still, you can’t be a fan of Rush without being either a rabid Objectivist or, in my case, possessing both a sense of humour and a willingness to forgive. It says a lot that any other band writing rubbish for lyrics would lose fans en masse, but people have a fondness for Rush that allows them to overlook such nonsense as ‘put your message in a modem/and throw it in the cybersea’ – I’m rocking out to it as I type these words!

Everyone knows what happened next, and it’s a miracle that Rush have come back as strongly as they have, with two excellent albums to date and hopefully more on the way. What a band, really, outsold only by The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Aerosmith (the latter the ultimate proof of God’s inexistence!) and yet so many hardly know them. Hopefully this little run-through of their discography will encourage you to listen to them if you’re a newcomer, and if you’re a veteran Rushian then I hope it was fun taking the trip, even if you disagree with my views in places... we can agree how damn good the band is, anyways, and Test For Echo is yet another excellent outing from the three Canadian gods.

Killing Songs :
Test For Echo, Driven, Half The World, The Color Of Right, Time And Motion, Totem, Virtuality, Limbo
Goat quoted 86 / 100
Aleksie quoted 86 / 100
Other albums by Rush that we have reviewed:
Rush - Clockwork Angels reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Rush - Beyond The Lighted Stage reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Rush - Counterparts reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Rush - Roll The Bones reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
Rush - A Show Of Hands reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
To see all 26 reviews click here
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