Grace Under Pressure Review

artist: Rush date: 10/22/2009 category: compact discs
Rush: Grace Under Pressure
Release Date: Apr 12, 1984
Label: Mercury
Genres: Arena Rock, Album Rock, Hard Rock, Prog-Rock/Art Rock
Number Of Tracks: 8
Whereas most other rock bands formed in the '70s put out unfocused and uninspired work in the '80s, Rush's Grace Under Pressure remains an exception.
 Sound: 7.7
 Lyrics: 9.3
 Overall Impression: 8
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (3) 10 comments vote for this album:
overall: 7.3
Grace Under Pressure Reviewed by: corzawoodja, on january 15, 2007
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Sound: Hailing from a distant 1984, Rush's Grace Under Pressure is a time capsule of sorts that forces the listener to journey back to a time when synthesizers ruled, and it was either adapt or be left behind. From the sound of this album, Rush definetely adapted. With the huge success of Moving Pictures in 1981, Rush were free to experiment with technology, and their song structures. Grace Under Pressure brings Lee's Keyboard skills to the forefront of Rush's music, creating a space of atmosphere commonly related to the 80's new wave movement, whilst still keeping the rock that made them such an intrigueing band to begin with. With the songs on Grace Under Pressure being around 4 - 5 minutes, Rush were able to concentrate more on the actual melodies of a song, rather than having to fill up extra minutes of instrumental jargon, which generally turned non-musicians away. While Lee's trademark bass sound takes a breather on this album, and Peart's drumming is suitable for easy listening, Lifeson's guitar work shines. He creates a wall of sound, glistening like a shining diamond throughout the entire record, similar to U2's The Edge. Although the overall sound of this album may be a bit cheesy by todays standards, it's a sound that many of the new bands coming out are re-creating. The Killers owe some of their success to this era of Rush's career. // 7

Lyrics: Although this was not a concept album like their previous releases, it does seem to have a general theme about struggle, and being on the brink of extinction. Once again, Drummer Peart deals with the lyrics, and creates a canvas of images that just about anyone can understand. The opening track 'Distant Early Warning' deals with the fear of a nuclear holocaust, while 'Red Sector A' recounts Lee's mother's experience of being a prisoner during the actual Holocaust, a powerful song that strikes a fearful emotion within the listener, making you feel like you're right there with her. 'The Enemy Within' is also part 1 of the Fear chronicles, and showcases our fears and phobias. Lee's vocals on this record are strong and powerful. He doesn't hold back with his message, commanding a much deeper tone of voice throughout. His best performance is on 'Red Sector A', as you can literally feel the desperation in his voice: "Are we the last one's left alive? Are we the only human beings to survive?". For those who don't like his earlier work with the high pitch, this may be more your style. // 8

Overall Impression: Compared to their other albums, Grace Under Pressure seems to lay low as the underdog. It's a much darker album, and bleeds raw emotion rather than expansive storylines. Standout tracks on the album are 'Distant Early Warning', 'Red Sector A', 'The Enemy Within', and the album closer 'Between The Wheels' with it's thumping keyboards and heavy distortion that demands attention. The thing I love about this album is that it's an easy listen with lots of emotion to dwell on. Lee's vocal performance is consistent throughout, and will pull you into the spacey trance of the music. One negative aspect of the record is that the keyboards are too prominent in each song, and should have been pulled back. Then again, it was 1984. If I lost this album, I would either buy it again, or another of Rush's records. // 7

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overall: 9
Grace Under Pressure Reviewed by: Promothus, on december 14, 2007
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: Signals was decent, but Grace Under Pressure pulled a better sound, and a better way of music than it did. Moving Pictures had barely any synth-keyboards in it, Grace Under Pressure does, but, it pulls out beautifully with it's guitar, bass, and drum riffs. It's like looking at the Post-Era of Moving Pictures, where Moving Picture's hard work and effort began to change ever so slightly. // 8

Lyrics: The lyrics, as always, are true to the band, and prove that no matter what music it is, the lyrics will move you, make you think, make you believe. Red Sector A just wasn't a good song, lyrical and sound wise in my opinion, but, Afterimage is a very well put out song, as well as Between the Wheels. The Enemy Within, the beginning of the 'Fear' series. The backward series, believe it or not. The lyrics worked perfect with the music, and the lyrics are catchy, you could easily catch on after reading just once. // 10

Overall Impression: The album is decent, but others say otherwise. Some can argue that it wasn't that good, and some die-hard Rush fans will argue against those people saying that 'if you are a true rush fan, you wouldn't hate the album'. The only thing I hate about the album is the song Red Sector A. The song just wasn't decent enough, and didn't seem to work well with any of the other songs on the album. This album is worth the time and effort to buy and listen to. // 9

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overall: 8.7
Grace Under Pressure Reviewed by: MikeYYZ, on october 22, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Sound: I was first introduced to Rush when my dad's friend gave me Snakes and Arrows to listen to. I really enjoyed the song Far Cry and started to get into Rock music. I then listened to a lot of the early Rush music such as the Fly By Night album and Hemispheres. ONe of my friends who also liked their music told me that all their 80s albums after Moving Pictures were rubbish and not worth listening to but after a while I decided to give them a shot. All in all Grace Under Pressure is a very different album to the others but very interesting. Instead of full on guitar and bass riffs like in early Rush music they seem to have aimed to use a lot of synth riffs with guitar bursts over the top. All three musicians once again produce outstanding skills such as the bass line in The Enemy Within and the drums and guitar in Red Sector A. There are more diverse styles to the songs in Grace Under Pressure as there is the usual Prog Rock element but also there are elements of Reggae in The Enemy Within and Between the Wheels. // 8

Lyrics: Overall I think Geddy Lee is in his vocal prime in the Grace Under Pressure album. The words have never been clearer and Neil Peart's lyrics fit perfectly with the songs. Distant Early Warning is a good example of the brilliance of the lyrics but Red Sector A's lyrics stand out the most. Influenced by the holocaust and Geddy Lee's grandparents who were in a concentration camp in WWII, it shows emotional and horrifying images using phrases such as "I clutch the wire fence until my fingers bleed" and "Shouting guards and smoking guns will cut down the unlucky ones". // 10

Overall Impression: Grace Under Pressure is a very good album and I would recommend any Rush fan giving it a shot that hasn't already. The dominating synth, chorused guitar bursts and outstanding drum beats and fills, topped off with some of the most interesting lyrics yet make this album a high achiever for Rush compared to the other 80s albums. The songs that stood out most to me were Red Sector A and The Enemy Within as they had the most interesting styles and greatest lyrics. A downside to the album is some of the songs just can't sustain your attention long enough so you want to listen to them over and over again. A couple of examples of this are The Body Electric and Red Lenses which to me just weren't exciting enough. // 8

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