VARIOUS ARTISTS - Subdivisions: A Tribute

Various Artists - Subdivisions: A Tribute

11 songs
63:27 minutes
***** **

I doubt I ever met a person who doesn't like Rush. When the first wave of cool hardrock bands (Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath with Ozzy,...) came to an end, and just before the onslaught of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, there were three Canadians who, according to some people, invented progressive metal, although in my opinion they were the first to play actual thinking man's hard rock music.

There must have been already myriads of tribute albums for Rush, I even read about one with exclusively thrash and death metal versions. As Subdivisions has been initiated my Magna Carta Records (distributed in Europe by Mascot Records), we shouldn't be surprised that we get a combination of dignified prog metal icons (Trent Gardner), guitar and bass heroes (Vinnie Moore, Stu Hamm) as well as the occasional ex hair metal vocalist (Kip Winger, Sebastian Bach, Jani Lane). I won't start numbering the participants' origins (there are just too many), but what aggravates me on this album is something unfortunately quite typical for Magna Carta compilations. Instead of having a dozen bands doing their personal interpretations of Rush classics, you get a core band (rhythm guitar, bass, drums and keyboards) plus a set of half a dozen vocalists and solo guitarists. The result varies, with the Subdivisions band (let's call them that way for now) feeling most at ease with everything after 1980, and dabbling in awkwardness with the more hard rocking bluesy Seventies tracks.

Apart from Hemispheres, you get songs from Caress Of Steel (1975) to Grace Under Pressure (1984), neglecting the less lyrical early phase and the more commercial times of the recent past.

Some people were really upset with this album, and I can understand them, because fundamentalist Rush fans must sense a hint of blasphemy. Although I myself once travelled long ways to see this Canadian legend, I also admit that the songs aren't done that bad at all (from an instrumental perspective), yet the vocals never even come close to Geddy Lee's high screams. If this had been a collection of bands doing cover versions, it would have been really a true pleasure, but this project band leaves a stale taste in my mouth, so I guess that you first check this out before buying.

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