RUSH – Retrospective III: 1989–2008

RUSH - Retrospective III: 1989–2008
  • 9/10
    RUSH - Retrospective III: 1989–2008 - 9/10


Release date: January 27, 2009

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There’s a fair few bands out there who can just about manage to scrape enough decent material to put out one retrospective in their career but there’s a lot less who can put out two “best of” compilations while retaining some degree of quality control. How many bands can you think of that can put out THREE volumes of their best material? It’s a pretty safe bet to answer that with “not many!!” although Queen did squeeze out 3 volumes even though the final edition was a little thin on great songs.

That leaves Rush as one of the very few bands that have achieved this incredible feat. Retrospective I covered the early years through to 1980 with material from their epic Sword and Sorcery and Sci-Fi days, considered by many as the definitive Rush period and included material from their uber classic 2112.

Retrospective II covered the majority of the 80s period where Rush trimmed off the excesses of the ’70s epics, producing some of the most classy, streamlined Hard Rock of the era and the material from the groundbreaking Moving Pictures opus sounds as fresh and vibrant today as it did all those years ago.

Bringing us bang up to date and covering a 20 year plus period comes Retrospective III which features a choice selection of cuts from 1989’s Presto through to the huge return to form of 2007’s Snakes & Arrows. Now with many compilations, arguments will rage about what’s included or what has been left off. Whoever selected the track listing for this has just about got the perfect balance. In fact, as an overview of the last 20 years it’s hard to see what better selection of tracks they could have chosen to represent this period in Rush’s illustrious history.

There’s many highlights on offer from the fragile Geddy Lee vocal and soaring lead break from Alex Lifeson on “Bravado” to the gorgeous melody and heartfelt lyrics of “The Pass” or the touching “Nobody’s Hero” As you’d expect with Rush, the musicianship is exemplarily with the Grammy nominated instrumental “Leave That Thing Alone” giving Lee, Lifeson and Peart ample space to spread their wings.

For completists there’s a couple of goodies to tempt you to part with your credit crunch battered cash. For starters there’s a rather excellent live rendition of the Roll The Bones highlight, “Ghost of a Chance” along with two remixes from Vapor Trails, “One Little Victory” and “Earthshine.” Usually, it’s hard to tell the difference between a remix and the original but here the difference is clear. “Clear” is the operative word here too. For many, Vapor Trails was a sonically jarring experience with a mix that enveloped the songs. These remixes are nothing short of superb, especially “One Little Victory”. Sounds that were muffled on the original version now spring to life. The separation of the instrumentation is much more defined and the overall sound is so much more classic Rush. Now what would be a real treat for fans is to have the whole album remixed and made available so we can hear the full glory of Vapor Trails as it should be heard.

“Far Cry” and “Workin’ Them Angels” bring things bang up to date with a couple from their latest Snake and Arrows album, a release that won them universal acclaim from fans and critics alike.

A special edition of the album is available with a bonus DVD containing promo videos, live material and a band interview too, making this a pretty essential purchase for all Rush aficionados.

Rush have produced yet another high caliber retrospective proving that they are one of the very few bands with their roots in the 1970s who can claim to remain a valid and developing musical force in the 2000s and beyond. This is the perfect place to start for those Rush fans who may have lapsed over the years and want to catch up with their last two decades worth of albums in one easy go. For anyone else who wants to see what all the fuss is about, get out there and buy all three volumes.


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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