Rush fans are in for another set of remasters August 24, this time the 5 studio releases on Atlantic.
It’s no surprise that 1989′s Presto desperately needed some attention – it’s thin, weak sound was the bain of many a Rush fan’s collection. Producer extraordinaire had his hands on that one and the follow-up, Roll The Bones, but for some reason he chose to overwork his magic, resulting in a very pop-oriented sound that really did not suit the music – especially of Presto, which ranks as one of the finer moments of the band’s catalog. A remaster of both albums will be welcome if they can add a little beef to the sound. Less sure is the need for remasters of Counterparts and Test For Echo, which sound pretty all right to these die-hard ears.
The big news, however, lies with the remastering of a two year old album – the magnificent Vapor Trails. Like with Presto the album contains some of the best music Rush has created, but it is presented in one of the worst mixes I’ve heard on a modern, high-budget release. Muddy, distorted, overloud, there’s no end to the problems presented by the sound of Vapor Trails. This flat, lifeless soundstage makes the listening experience painful and tiring, which is a shame since the quality of the songs ranks up there with their best work. The band had no shortage of issues when putting the album together, as reported here. Bassist Geddy Lee mixed the album and wound up hating the resulting product because he couldn’t get a good sound out of it, but guitarist Alex Lifeson, pumped up by the music he heard on it, convinced him to leave it along and release it so they could get out on the road again. But fans and critics alike agreed with Lee – the sound was seriously flawed, and there was talk of a petition to have it remixed/remastered. Well, here you go, fans – Vapor Trails is remastered. Now how many of you a really going to buy it? I certainly will – and I’m uncertain if only a remaster will fix the problems, or if an entire remixing is necessary.
(It’s also interesting to note that Counterparts and Test For Echo are listed at Amazon at $9.98 while Presto and Roll The Bones are $11.98. Why? Can’t imagine other than they expect more people to respond to the two older releases than the two newer ones . . . ?)