Given how much I loved Counterparts, I was really excited to get into this next effort, released three years later.
*It should be noted here, too, that I am in a very privileged position. I am getting to hear these records night after night, while fans had to wait, in this case, three years. Mind you, if I’d had three years to live with Counterparts before this came out, I’d have been very happy. I’m lucky. I’ve been able to hear the entire Rush discography in huge chunks, and in a short time. It’s been wonderful.
So. Test For Echo. Let’s give ‘er!
The title track rocks like hell. There is so much going on in this track, and when the drums start pounding and the guitar starts rising up… it feels like things are going to explode. Very cool. Of course, this is Rush, and everything is tightly controlled. Oh baby. I can see why this was a single.
Driven also rocks hugely, anchored by an acoustic guitar. The bottom end is at the fore, here. It rumbles. The whole swings while it rocks and when it hits double-time at the end it just gets even bigger. What a track!
Half The World was another single (three in a row!), and it’s a big, roomy rocker that totally pleases. You could be mistaken for thinking this was a lighter track, especially given the two preceeding tracks on this record, but it’s really not. This is an utterly excellent track.
The Color Of Right is actually, for Rush, a fairly straight-up rock tune. It still totally sounds like them (awesome) and has tricky little instrumental bits to it (cool) but why this one wasn’t on radio is way beyond me. It was built for it.
Time And Motion has a really menacing riff to it, an energy that makes the listener restless. I loved it. This song is stalking the room, and it could jump you at any moment. Killer guitar solo in this one, sharp as a knife. Eben the break down part is built to make you look over your shoulder.
Totem is an anthemic rocker, made expressly for the purpose of making you jump up and down when they play it in concert. Lunatics and mosters indeed. I love the way the instruments interplay here, it’s all constructed so well.
Dog Years is another in-your-face rocker. At first I didn’t like the chorus, but it grew on me and by the second spin through this record it all made sense and I loved every minute of it. Especially the parts where it gets a bit heavier. Of course.
Virtuality was a single, and the guitar riff is built to destroy. Even when it lightens up and arpeggiates a little bit, you know it’s just toying with you like a cat toys with a mouse. And then BAM! But then… an acoustic guitar! This song is all over the place, a huge rock song, and I loved it all.
Resist was also a single, a beautiful and slower tune that is no less epic. I love the acoustic elements while the electric soars and the drums and the bass anchor the whole thing. This is absolutely beautiful.
Limbo is the albums instrumental track, and it’s a monster. It sways and staggers along as it rocks. When it picks up, it rocks hard on a sliding guitar line.
Carve Away The Stone ends things on this record, and it’s a decent rock song. It messes with time signatures a tiny bit, but never once falters or is anything less than excellent. The instrumental bit from 2:00-2:33 is some of the most inspired playing on the record.
I loved Counterparts. And I really loved Test For Echo. What an album! This is an epic! A tour de force! I really cannot say enough good about this entire record.