Wednesday, June 27, 2007

What Happened?

During this week, one of the saddest, tragic and most mysterious news stories in recent memory took place: WWE wrestler Chris Benoit killed his family and then committed suicide. Despite the details of Benoit's personal difficulties slowly coming to surface, it seems no one really saw this coming (except possibly his wife, but we'll probably never know). Even now, it seems as if hearing about the murderer and the wrestler were two different people.

Chris Benoit was a well liked and respected wrestler by both fans and other wrestlers. For years, he had offset low charisma with pure talent and diehard work ethic. He embodied discipline and efficiency, he gave credibility to a sport famous for being "fake".

He was obviously trusted by his co-workers, as this Monday's Raw was dedicated as a tribute to his memory just hours after the bodies of his family were found. A major corporation wouldn't do that for just anybody and by the next evening Vince McMahon found himself retracting that tribute.

Benoit's actions seem insane and is certainly a tragedy for all involved, including his remaining family and two other children. I'm sure more details will come out as the investigation drags on, but I'm sure I'm not alone when I now wonder: "Who was the real Chris Benoit?"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Saraya - Love Has Taken It's Toll

Trying a new thing here, sometimes (okay, often) I'll get stuck on a song. During a night of random You Tube wandering, I remembered an ancient minor rock hit from the late 80's called "Love Has Taken It's Toll" by a band called Saraya. I saw the video and it instantly brought back memories of living in Sacramento, shooting pool in smokey pool halls and listening to one of the many rock radio stations that existed at the time. If you'd like to check out some heavy Zep influenced AOR with a strong female vocal click below!

Dream Theater - Systematic Chaos

One of my favorite bands, maybe the band I've listened to the most in the past seven years or so, has released a new CD. That band is Dream Theater, a progressive metal group with virtuoso musicianship and a hankering for everything I loved about 70's and 80's rock. Like the Borg of Star Trek, DT assismilated Journey, Kansas, Styx, Yes, Jethro Tull, ELP, Metallica, Queen and every other pompous arena rock band to create flawless modern AOR. Despite having virtually no American audience, Dream Theater has stuck to the music they like and pursued it with unerring determination. How many bands with active careers can say they have a concept album, a double album and a forty five minute song during the CD age? I can't think of any other than DT, now adding to their legacy is Systematic Chaos (2007).

Systematic Chaos follows the nu-metal influenced Train of Thought (2003) and the more melodic, orchestral leaning Octavarium (2005) disks. Chaos plays like a cross between the two with additional focus on aggressive delivery. The album is darker and heavier than any of their previous releases. In some ways, self consciously so as song titles such as "Forsaken", "The Ministry of Lost Souls" and "The Dark Eternal Night" are sign posts signaling trying way too hard. The songs would seem ridiculously silly were it not for Dream Theater's performance to back it. Most of the songs ride on jackhammer riffs, knotty instrumental breaks and blazing solos to sell the drama.

It takes me time to warm up to DT's darker albums and this one was no different. As always, the band makes some artistic growth particularly on tracks like "The Dark Eternal Night" where they picked up that Hawthorne Heights trick of a growly drill sargent barking the lyrics behind the lead singer's voice to create a sort of Exorcist effect vocally. Plus, a bit of Frank Zappa influences the midsection of the song with it's loose attack and structured songwriting. The vocal trick is also used a bit on the equally heavy rocker "Prophets of War", where singer James LaBrie takes a rare turn at songwriting to dramatize his anti-war screed. A few ballads are thrown in to change the pace a bit, such as on the 80's style metal ballad "Forsaken". "Forsaken" projects enough Operatic angst to make Ronnie James Dio cringe in fear. It's that good.

Yet, there are some weak points on the album. "Constant Motion" hits hard but regurgitates a vocal melody used on a previous CD that they stole from Metallica's "Blackened" anyway. DT also loves sound collages and the Pink Floydy "Repentance" cruises aimlessly enough until the end where a series of rock stars and former wrestlers imitate speaking in Catholic confession. The "confessions" take me out of the song and makes me say "Hey, that's former WWE wrestler Chris Jericho! Break the Walls Down!!!" as he drones on about some sad event in his life that he regrets. And none of the songs kick my ass like the 23 minute epic title track "Octavarium" from the previous album. That song was a mindblowing trip of all things great about progressive rock. Systematic Chaos repeatedly impresses but doesn't kill (although the dark tone would make you think it would want to).

Chaos makes advancements musically in adding a bit of testosterone following the more anthemic Octavarium. They just over play their hand a touch, leaving them on that fine line between real gravitas and self parody. Nonetheless, as a fan I think this is a good disc and will playing it next to the new Rush CD for a while to come.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back to Work!

Tonight is my last night of vacation before returning to work tomorrow, so I'm going to squeeze in a few quick things before I go to bed. To make things fast, they are:

1. Knocked Up (2007)

Yesterday I went to see Knocked Up at the movie theater. The story of a one-night stand leading to pregnancy and a deft look at male/female relationships, this was the best Dramedy I can recall since Thirtysomething started the genre twenty years ago (Thirtysomething...I used to love that show!). In fact, other than the raunchy humor the movie reminded me a lot of that classic TV series of Adults trying to squeeze in work, family and their personal dreams in the most neurotic ways possible short of Woody Allen.

The movie holds up well both as comedy and drama. The humor has all the elements Judd Aptow's previous film, The 40 Year Old Virgin (2005) had in terms of creating likeable and realistic characters to channel his jokes through. Seth Rogan stars as the unintentional slacker father and gives a freewheeling performance that seems to shoot dialogue off the cuff. Like Virgin, Rogan teams up with Paul Rudd and a group of other actors to riff off of pop culture jokes and lewd behavior. Katherine Heigel gives a good performance as the pregnant single career woman, though she falls a little short of making me believe she wants to be with Rogan past one night. As with most comedies, the jokes begin to fall off towards the end but Aptow does a good job of allowing the characters to grow enough for the audience to care about them. All in all, Knocked Up is the rare comedy that is actually funny while creating amiable, realistic characters.

2. Bon Jovi - Lost Highway (2007)

Continuing the path started on the previous Have A Nice Day (2005) album, Bon Jovi goes to Nashville on this Country tinged album. Jon Bon Jovi is one of those select group of performers whose main talent is to read the cultural landscape and then find a way to tap into it (Madonna and Prince both have this talent as well). With CMT and modern country taking on a rock edge, it was only natural that Bon Jovi take the step to countrify their sound. For the most part, it works as Jon Bon Jovi's voice always projects clinched teeth sincerity and had been writing about how he's a cowboy for years. The rave up rockers adapt the best, as Bon Jovi's standard lyric imagery about gettin' out, bustin loose, taking that last chance to come out on top, etc. is normal for Country music. The ballads are a little trickier because more attention is placed on Jon Bon Jovi's limited vocal range, particularly slow moving ones like "(You Want To) Make A Memory" and "Seat Next To You". The team ups with current Country performers come across as over heated and incincere (The Leann Rimes duet "Stranger" and the Big & Rich party anthem "We Got It Going On") Along with this change in direction is a slight loss of identity, as much of the band's performance (Richie Sambora especially) becomes indistiguishable from any other Country CD. In the end, it won't matter as CMT is always looking to welcome a mainstream rock band into its ranks. Bon Jovi will become a successful Country Rock band, even if they fall just short of Flameworthy.

3. Flight of the Conchords -on HBO

Tonight I watched the amusing, off beat Flight of the Conchords. The movie chronicles the fictional lives of two real New Zealand folk singers in New York. The Conchords offer up folk rock with silly, literate lyrics and Prince style vocals. The show works hard to be as quirky as the title duo and mostly succeeds. Best of all, the singers will break into song in the middle of a dramatic scene as if they're in a musical of their own making. The true winning moment of the first episode occured in this fashion, as the singer breaks into song after being dumped by Rachel Blanchard. The song, intentionally over emotive about seeing the man Cry, manages to parody the videos for Phil Collins' "Against All Odds" and Godley & Creme's "Cry" while still holding onto it's main narrative of the guy getting dumped. Flight is not gut bustingly funnylike Knocked Up, but it is engaging and entertaining just the same.

Well, it's time to post this bad boy and go to sleep.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Marley and Me, Tom Clancy & Journey

Having been off work for the past week, I've had more time to be a little prolific with blog posting. I also had some time to do some reading and video game playing. I finally finished reading Marley & Me, a book about a hyper and destructive lab. The book was a gift from my mother in law last December. Having a dog that's half lab myself (the other half is Sharpei) that acts similar I found the story very relatible. The book followed the story of a news paper columnist and his wife building a family and choosing a dog as part of that. The couple had fond memories of obedient dogs from their childhood. What they chose would turn out to be an uncontrollable Lab, hyperactive, undisciplined and very destructive. While my dog, Dixie, was never quite as crazy as Marley (Marley was able to break out of metal crates, drag heavy furniture he was tied to, destroy drywall) there were definite similarities. Reading the book gave me an appreciation of my crazy dog.

Dixie is somewhat large but not as big as a regular Lab. We got her in 1999 and was named after the Jeep that Daisy Duke drove in the original Dukes of Hazzard TV series. Over time, she has garnered a number of nicknames, like "Doodle", "Suede Face" and "Major Hoolihan". There are other nicknames, but they are meant in fun (like "Bucket Head"). She has been very energetic for years though she is slowing down a little bit now. Like Marley, Dixie is a beloved member of the family and is the undisputed princess of the household. She is friendly, but not cuddly and is very clingy to people. Also like Marley, Dixie becomes destructive when left alone as Dixie has eaten parts or all of trunks, blankets and walls. She is very stubborn and is difficult to discipline. But, despite her faults she is very loveable and has more friends in the neighborhood than me or my wife. She's nuts, but she's ours!

Another gift I've recently had time to invest in is PS2's Rainbow Six Lockdown. A gift from my cousin, Rainbow Six is part of the Tom Clancy series of video games. The game is about being a sniper and/or operative in a anti-terrorism task force. It gives fairly realistic game play and gives a variety of missions in the infiltrate and shoot 'em up mode. It is intense but fun to play and the AI is unusually clever for the enemy agents compared to most games.

After playing this game for a while, I came to a conclusion: It's a REAL good thing I never went into the military. I get killed so often in this game I spend half of my game play time saving and re-loading just to make progress on the various levels. My character is always in critical condition, I try to sneak up on the enemy while the Commander screams "You're losing blood Alpha 2!!!" on the comlink. I accidentally shoot my own team members and drop grenades on civilians. This adds up to a simple math equation: Me + Gun = Bad.

In other Journey news, it seems Jon Cain of Journey has clarified the reason for dropping Jeff Scott Soto is so they can sound more like their classic material. So much for creative reinvention, Soto sounded very Steve Perry live so it must be that old "creative differences" that got in the way. Here's to hoping Kevin Chalfant gets his shot!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Police in Concert

After 24 years of dormancy, the premier New Wave act of the early 80's has reformed with drummer Stewart Copeland, guitarist Andy Summers and of course, Sting. After sitting through a decent performance by the new band The Fratelli's (think the Strokes meets Wolfmother) The Police took the stage. The set list went:

Message In A Bottle / Synchronicity II / Don't Stand So Close To Me / Voices In My Head - When The World Is Running Down... / Spirits In The Material World / Driven To Tears / Walking On The Moon / Truth Hits Everybody / Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic / Wrapped Around Your Finger / The Bed's Too Big Without You / De Do Do Do De Da Da Da / Invisible Sun / Walking In Your Footsteps / Can't Stand Losing You / Roxanne

Encore: King Of Pain / So Lonely / Every Breath You Take (assumed performed)

The Police came to town on a comfortable Wednesday evening at the MacAfee Coliseum in Oakland. I had seen the Police in 1983 at the same venue on what was Day On The Green #3 (included the Thompson Twins, Madness, Oingo Boingo and The Fixx) and remembered it as a fantastic show. The Police folded up camp shortly after so I had the added bonus of saying I saw them live because many people my age missed seeing them before they stopped. We had great seats, the memorabilia was plentiful and aimed at nostalgia (only the tour program included recent pictures of the band, everything else was pics from the 80's) and all of the rowdy New Wave fans of the 80's had turned into the laid back super wealthy. It had the makings of a spectacular concert.

The Police took the stage and started off with a solid version of "Message In A Bottle". It was a strong start, but then thing's got dicey with a sloppy "Synchronicity II". A new arrangement seemed to baffle the band, fortunately the audience sung along with the words (even the ones Sting didn't sing) so it wasn't as noticeable. "Don't Stand So Close To Me" followed next, which was played a little seductively like the slowed down '86 remake.

A few things stood out to me at this point. One, this was The Police in the raw with no backing musicians and a minimum of flown in tracks. Two, this included replacing what were originally synthesizer parts with Andy Summer's guitar and changing many of the original song arrangements. I respected them for this though I was taken by surprise with their newly loose and ragged sound. The band simultaneously recalled their earlier Punkier sound while adding a bit of Jazz in the mix to mellow things out. It created a new approach that was inventive but a little hard to take in: Punk Adult Contemporary.

On the fourth song they started to hit their stride with a great medley of "Voices In My Head" to "When The World Is Running Down...". "Voices" was a good album track at the beginning that led to a sped up version of "World". The song ended with a Jazz fusion crescendo, Andy Summers soloing furiously while Sting laid a fat, muscular bass line underneath. By the end, Stewart Copeland was grinning visibly.

Then followed a guitar driven "Spirits In The Material World" that was pretty good. The great "Driven To Tears" was next but sounded a bit disjointed. An excellent "Walking On The Moon" followed, as Sting's rubbery reggae bass line bounded across the coliseum. The band rocked on "Truth Hits Everybody" which is a song I really liked from their second album.

The lack of synthesizers made some of the songs unpredictable to me. Apparently, the audience didn't always follow either as some seemingly random playing morphed into "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic". Without the keyboards, it seemed like an entirely different song. The audience shot to their feet once they recognized it.

A heavily rearranged "Wrapped Around Your Finger" with Stewart Copeland hitting a variety of percussive instruments was pretty enjoyable. Then, the high point (for me), "The Bed's Too Big Without You" came up in it's original arrangement. One of my favorite Police songs, with that deep reggae groove unchanged and the rhythm section locking in like they did in their prime.

"De Do Do Do De Da Da Da" was also performed in it's original style and sustained the momentum. "Invisible Sun" benefited from rearrangement (in my opinion), the cavernous synths replaced by Andy Summer's guitar added muscle and intensity to the tune. The always fun "Walking In Your Footsteps" kept their streak going and was the most fun number of the evening.

The main part of the show ended with a strong "Can't Stand Losing You" with a bit of "Regatta De Blanc" thrown in the middle for good measure. "Roxanne" closed out the first part of the set in style.

The encore began with "King Of Pain", another keyboard driven song altered to guitar. I left during "So Lonely" to avoid getting stuck in parking lot traffic.

Although it wasn't the phenomenal concert I hoped for, I had a lot of fun listening to these classic songs live and appreciated that The Police opted to challenge themselves musically by playing everything as a three piece band. The band struggled to stay on the same beat for half the concert, but were close enough to keep the songs from falling apart. This show had me doing the closest thing I know to dancing (shifting weight on my feet back and forth before they fall asleep) to the songs that didn't have arrangement changes. Those songs that have changes (mainly the synth driven songs like "Spirits", "Every Little Thing", "King of Pain" etc) sounded bare without that key instrument. For all the missing synthesizers, I just want to say...Squonk! (synthesizer noise)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Win Some, Lose Some week of pop culture

You know the old saying from Physics, "For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction." Well, this week is particularly true with the recent events in pop culture, at least the stuff I see. for me the big one is...

1. Journey! One of my all time favorite bands has renewed visibility due to "Don't Stop Believin'" being used for the final moments of the Sopranos. This may be the only time the band has a shot at a half decent comeback...but new singer Jeff Scott Soto has just left the band. So much for performing the song live for anyone anytime soon.

It's likely they will pick another singer to sound like Steve Perry and in a way that's too bad. Journey needs a new direction at this point, but on their nostalgia tours they aren't paid based on creativity but how much they can sound as they did twenty years ago. That being the case, they won't be choosing my number 1 pick to replace Perry: Michael Bolton!

Yes, it's that "Can I Touch You There?" Michael Bolton. Bolton had Journey produce and perform on three songs of his Hunger CD (1987) and they sounded great together. Bolton's gravelly voice would change the sound of classic Journey material and encourage them to stress newer material. On top of that, the publicity would be tremendous.

My second pick would be Kevin Chalfant formerly of The Storm. The Storm was the best Journey knock off band of all time (it included three former Journey members) and came the closest to capturing (not a Journey pun) the classic sound. Chalfant was overlooked before due to rumors of writing incompatablility and not wanting to give credibility to The Storm as a band. If he got the position, Chalfant would ace mimicking Perry placing Journey in a good spot for the next round of nostalgia shows. Chalfant is also releasing a CD of Journey cover songs called FLy 2 Freedom (2007). If anyone doubts this guy's knack for Journey material, check out to hear clips of the upcoming CD. If Chalfant gets it, it would be like when Pierce Brosnan finally became Bond.

At any rate, it's great that "Don't Stop Believin'" keeps coming up in popular culture. Journey has been and always will be the "people's" band and never get any respect from the Rock press. The continued success of the song proves their influence and talent was much greater than they received credit for.

2. Dustin Diamond and Celebrity Fit Club - Dustin Diamond continues his campaign to be the worst grown up child star ever. His behavior on Celebrity Fit Club has sabotaged his castmates and defined him as a bigger assh*le than anyone could have imagined. He does it all for attention and he's got mine, which makes me hate him more. Which means I will be watching the series finale of Fit Club. I guess he wins for now. Damn!

3. Paris Hilton - She almost bought her way out of prison! Poor Paris, she has to spend 25 or 45 days of her life not being the richest, shallowest person alive. I don't doubt her psychological stress, finding out you're just like everyone else when you've been told different through your entire existence is certainly rough. I still don't feel sorry for her though. Unlike most people who go to prison, Paris will leave jail as wealthy as she went in and go back to her high maintenance lifestyle with the world back under her feet where it belongs.

4. The Summer movies are coming and the previews are giving me mixed feelings! Bruce Willis returns in Live Free and Die Hard (or something like that. Maybe Live Hard and Die Free?) The other three movies were so strong I find it hard to believe a 4th could be as good. Transformers' trailer went beyond underwhelming to the point it was just sad looking. If you've seen one CGI robot, you've seen them all. Fantastic Four Rise of the Silver Surfer looks promising until you remember how lame the first movie was.

Well, that's it! You win some and you lose some. Tomorrow I'll get to see The Police for the first time since 1983. That's so 80's!

Cache (Hidden)

Yesterday I watched Cache (Hidden) (2005), a French film about a successful family being stalked by a mysterious person. The film stars Daniel Auteli (Girl on the Bridge) and Juliette Binoche (has appeared in several great films since the late 80's) as a couple that are professionally successful but are bored with their marriage. Together they raise their typically petulant teenage son. The mystery starts with them receiving video tapes showing surveillance on their home wrapped in childlike pictures of a boy throwing up blood. The pictures start being sent to their work and schools as well as more videotapes and phone calls. The pictures and calls begin to point to something in Auteli's past.

Cache hangs together well as a mystery, dolling out little bits of information while maintaining a feeling of dread. The movie builds the tension through strong performances by Auteli and Binoche as rational adults at their wits end and extended shots of locations (schools, homes) filmed from a distance with no obvious reason at times. The movie treats the audience as following the proverbial carrot on a stick, I found myself straining to see what was happening on screen and rewinding dialogue to figure out what was happening. As a mystery, it's well planned and executed but ultimately unrewarding at that level. In fact, when the antagonist was revealed I thought it was a bit silly compared to the tension the film built up beforehand.

But, the movie isn't really about the mystery. A mystery that's not a mystery...that's a new one. The movie is really about how the mystery brings out the secrets of these people, the hidden side of people that on the surface are perfect examples of upper middle class happiness. On this level, the movie surpasses expectations as the characters come to life in realistic and relateable ways. I felt for these characters as people and liked how the mystery plot device was used to show how these characters felt about their lives. Along the lines of say Muholland Drive or Memento, the movie brings up enough cliches to hook you and then ditches them in favor of something new. Good stuff!

Saturday, June 09, 2007

The DaBoring Code

About a year ago my mother in law bought me a copy of the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. DaVinci Code was one of those books that hit you with a big display the second you walked into Borders or Barnes and Noble and a nonreading guy like me thought "That looks boring." But, since I was reading it for free I gave it a try and found I liked it. The book excelled at creating it's own world of secret societies, alternate histories and little logic puzzles. I don't pretend to be a scholar of anything legitimately academic so I can't argue for or against what the book claims, but I found it a fun read just the same. It successfully created excitement, tension and mystery. And since I'm not religious, the Church bashing built into the storyline didn't bother me.

Well, the book was such a hit with readers that Hollywood decided to make a Ron Howard movie out of it. Ron Howard, a respected director that makes humanistic, middle of the road, positive message films (Apollo 13!) tackling a book that suggests Jesus was a man and not the Son of God sounded interesting. Tom Hanks, a guy who wins Best Actor Oscars like most people breathe air, was chosen as the lead actor. Audrey Tautou, the French impish ingenue of Amelie (2002) came aboard as the female lead. This movie had so much pedigree. So much potential. So much controversy. So boring.

The movie sucks the life out of the novel revealing all the weak points of the book. Naturally, a book that delves as much into History with a capital H cannot have everything make it to the screen. With a book like this, the script is automatically regulated to becoming Cliff Notes to what was originally written. But, without the pseudo-intellectual hoo hah, what's left is a pretty standard chase thriller with sketchy characters forever rambling expository dialogue. At least Ian MacKellen (Magneto!) looked like he was having fun hamming it up as a disabled historian.

To compound the problem, Howard downplays most of the interesting parts. All of the "shocking" bits of self mutilation, Eyes Wide Shut (2001) style sex societies and religous conspiracy take a backseat to Tom Hanks jet black hair helmet. Hanks uses his Oscar validated talent to give a hollow Harrison Ford impersonation. All the Ford hallmarks (the mind racing pauses, finger pointing, the uptight yet shambolic stride) show up. Since Dan Brown allegedly based the lead character on Ford, I guess that shouldn't be surprising. I just haven't seen an actor slavishly imitate another so vividly since Travolta and Cage went at it in Face Off (1998).

DaVinci Code-the movie is the equivalent of being stuck in an elevator with an insane conspiracy theorist. The guy who's like "You think you know history, but I KNOW HISTORY and if you knew what I knew the World would be Anarchy my friend." Like meeting Dennis Hopper if he was like the characters in all those movies he's in.

The DaVinci Code did do one thing for me, it reminded me that there are many different points of view to History and that it doesn't have to be accepted at face value. Even what DaVinci Code claims shouldn't be taken that way, it's not like Leonardo DaVinci was actually at the Last Supper he painted it out of his imagination. So I learned something. And now I know. And knowing is half the battle!

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Rush - Snakes and Arrows

This week I picked up the new Rush disc, Snakes & Arrows (2007)which has to be like the billionth Rush album. Like AC/DC,Rush is a band that has lasted for decades due to a singular commitment to a unique sound. The winning sound is a sort of Cream style power trio with virtuoso musicians and prog rock tendencies. Their sound has evolved over the years and adapted to new styles, yet the lyrical themes of hard won individuality set to a driving bass line, slashing / shimmering guitars and rapid fire drumwork still holds up.

Best of all, Rush has managed to retain their focus on tightly structured performances. They've managed to deliver an album that shows a touch of restraint and refinement yet remain a rock band. Re-energized coming off their covers EP Feedback (2004), the band sounds driven and conmfortable in the best of possible ways.

The disc features the lead track, "Far Cry", a traditional style Rush first single not too far removed from classics like "Subdivisions" or "Force Ten". A fast beat, Geddy Lee's shrieky vocals and some great instrumental interplay make the song memorable. Other highlights include the guitar driven instrumental "The Main Monkey Business" and the vaguely "YYZ"ish "Malignant Narcissism". Rush dips into some blues influence for the first time since the 70's on the strong "The Way The Wind Blows". My personal favorite on the disc is "Faithless", a great song about self determination of positive moral values.

This Rush is a big improvement over the nu-metal influenced Vapor Trails (2002) as that album was too brittle sounding. Like Tool's left overs, it seemed to try to hard to be relevant. Snakes & Arrows finds Rush motivated to carry on with the same vision and vigor they have had for the past 3 decades. Their approach still has enough flashy technical wankering to keep most fans happy, but it has been tempered by maturity. The lyrics theme (Keeping hope alive in the face of serious spirtual or political strife)are relevant and thought provoking.

Rush play with natural empathy that comes from ages of playing together. Geddy Lee, Neal Peart and Alex Lifeson remain on top of their game, with Lifeson even showing some hints of alternative rock in his guitar noodling. It's hard to believe a band this age doesn't sound tired, but Rush continues their legacy with another strong album. To check out the video for "Far Cry", just click below!