Snakes & Arrows

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Snakes & Arrows
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 1, 2007
RecordedNovember–December 2006
StudioAllaire Studios in Shokan, New York
ProducerNick Raskulinecz and Rush
Rush chronology
Snakes & Arrows
Snakes & Arrows Live
Singles from Snakes & Arrows
  1. "Far Cry"
    Released: March 12, 2007
  2. "Spindrift"
    Released: June 1, 2007
  3. "The Larger Bowl"
    Released: June 25, 2007
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic(73/100) [1]
Review scores
About.com3.5/5 stars [2]
AllMusic4/5 stars [3]
IGN(7.5/10) [4]
Jam!3.5/5 stars [5]
Manchester Evening News2/5 stars [6]
NOW3/5 stars [7]
PopMatters8/10 stars [8]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars [9]
The Washington Post(favorable) [10]

Snakes & Arrows is the 18th studio album by the Canadian rock band Rush. Released on May 1, 2007, it was their first studio outing since 2004's Feedback, and their last studio album officially with Atlantic Records (at least in the US, where they changed distributors to Roadrunner Records as of August 31, 2011). The album was recorded in five weeks between November and December 2006 at Allaire Studios in New York’s Catskill Mountains and mixed and mastered at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, California.

Snakes & Arrows was released on CD on May 1, 2007,[11] as a double LP album on June 19 (limited to 5,000 copies), as well as being the first album released on the new MVI (Music Video Interactive) format (limited to 25,000 copies) on June 26. Snakes & Arrows debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 chart where it remained for 14 weeks. It was certified gold in Canada in September 2007.[12] The track "Malignant Narcissism" was nominated for a Grammy Award under the category Best Rock Instrumental Performance.[13] The album was named as one of Classic Rock‘s 10 essential progressive rock albums of the decade.[14] It was reissued and remastered in 2013 as a part of the box set The Studio Albums 1989–2007.


According to drummer and lyricist Neil Peart, inspiration for the title of the album was conceived after considerable research from several sources; the 2000-year-old Buddhist game called "Leela, the Game of Self-Knowledge", the related children's game Snakes and Ladders (also known as Chutes and Ladders), and Hamlet's quote "slings and arrows."[15] This information helped convince bassist Geddy Lee and guitarist Alex Lifeson to adopt the original painting of the age old game board as the cover for the new album.

Promotion and release[edit]

On March 12, 2007, the band unveiled a new website at the official Rush website, primarily to promote the album. The first single from the album, "Far Cry", was posted as on-demand streaming audio on this site at that time. The band also announced that the single was being released to US and Canadian radio stations.[16] On May 8, 2007, the band announced the release of a video for "Far Cry," and on June 1, 2007, "Spindrift" was released to radio stations as the album's official second single. The third single for the album, "The Larger Bowl" was released June 25 to radio where it positioned within the top 30 of the Mainstream Rock and Media Base Mainstream charts.[17] In promotion of Snakes & Arrows, Rush kicked off their planned intercontinental tour on June 13, 2007, in Atlanta, Georgia, which ran through October and covered the United States, Canada and Europe. The 2008 leg of the tour started on April 11, 2008, in San Juan, Puerto Rico at José Miguel Agrelot Coliseum and came to a close July 24, 2008, in Noblesville, Indiana.[18]

The album debuted at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200, selling about 93,000 copies in its first week.[11][19] These figures only reflect sales of the CD version of the album, and do not include the MVI or LP versions.

Writing and production[edit]

Writing for Snakes & Arrows began in January 2006 with Lee and Lifeson working at their home studio in Toronto. The pair began the writing process by jamming, which gradually molded their ideas into completed pieces. During this process, Neil Peart wrote preliminary lyrics for the songs – a creative method the band has frequently employed on their earlier works. Peart, originally from the Toronto area, has lived in Southern California since 2000. To continue working with his bandmates for the new album, he commuted to Ontario and New York throughout the writing and recording phases. When Peart was in California, the band occasionally collaborated over the Internet.[20]

By March 2006, rough versions of six songs had been completed. The three band members met in Quebec to listen to the material recorded thus far. In May 2006, they refined the songs in a small professional studio in Toronto. After the first six songs were recorded, the band set out to write and record additional songs in September.

American producer Nick Raskulinecz, who worked with Foo Fighters, was hired to assist the band in producing the album. Raskulinecz, a self-proclaimed fan of the band, volunteered to work on the album after hearing about its production on the internet, and two months later was invited to meet the band at Lee's house.[21] Raskulinecz reportedly encouraged the band members to explore the limits of their renowned talents and enthusiastically encouraged the band to incorporate the complex rhythmic and melodic patterns that characterized their earlier works.[22] The final tracking of the album was recorded at Allaire Studios in Shokan, New York; mixed by Richard Chycki at Ocean Way Studios in Los Angeles, California,[23][24] and mastered by Brian Gardner.

In a first for Rush, this album contains multiple instrumental tracks: "The Main Monkey Business", "Hope", and "Malignant Narcissism",[25] the most that they had on any album. This also marks the first new instrumental piece(s) composed by the band since "Limbo", on 1996's Test for Echo.

Neil Peart's customary essay on the writing and recording of the album, called The Game of Snakes and Arrows, has been released on the Rush website.[26] Peart also wrote an article that appeared in the August 2007 issue of Modern Drummer in which he details his writing process for the album.[27]

Influences and musical direction[edit]

Peart, the band's primary lyricist, has stated the lyrical theme of the album is based on his personal reflections on faith, inspired by his motorcycle journeys throughout North America.[28] Many of the experiences mentioned in the lyrics of Snakes & Arrows evolved from Peart's memoirs from his most recent book: Roadshow: Landscape With Drums, A Concert Tour By Motorcycle.

According to Alex Lifeson, musical themes for the album were written and developed using acoustic guitars to work out the major parts. These parts were ultimately recorded using acoustic or electric guitars, or other instruments. Lifeson found that writing the songs on acoustic guitars provided a certain purity, assisting him in conceiving the instrumental parts. Both he and Lee used this as an alternative to more traditional methods of song development, which saw the use of amplified electric guitars and the assistance of electronic instruments.[citation needed] David Gilmour is credited in the liner notes because he inspired Lifeson to write songs mostly on acoustic guitar. According to an interview from the September 2007 issue of Guitar Player, Lifeson mentioned meeting Gilmour at a concert at Toronto's Massey Hall during Gilmour's "On an Island" tour.[29][30]

According to Raskulinecz, the album has a similar sound to Rush's albums of the late 1970s, such as 2112, A Farewell to Kings, and Hemispheres.[23]

MVI format[edit]

Snakes & Arrows is one of the first albums released on Warner Music's MVI (Music Video Interactive) format.[31] This format is a 25,000 copy limited edition. The album comes in a deluxe box, and includes the 13 songs on the album in hi-resolution audio, the entire album in 5.1 surround sound, a 40-minute video documentary on the making of the album, a 26-page booklet (4 pages more than the otherwise identical CD booklet), wallpapers, buddy icons and an exclusive poster for fans that register the MVI copy. After several production delays, the MVI was released on June 26, 2007.

The DVD-ROM portion has 192-kbit/s MP3 files of the entire album. The DVD-Video portion contains both a "high-resolution audio" track (96 kHz/24-bit stereo LPCM) as well as a 5.1 surround-sound track (448 kbit/s Dolby Digital, 48 kHz). There is no DVD-Audio content on the disc.

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics written by Neil Peart; all music composed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson, except "Hope" by Lifeson.

1."Far Cry"5:21
2."Armor and Sword"6:36
3."Workin' Them Angels"4:47
4."The Larger Bowl"4:07
6."The Main Monkey Business" (instrumental)6:01
7."The Way the Wind Blows"6:28
8."Hope" (instrumental)2:03
10."Bravest Face"5:12
11."Good News First"4:51
12."Malignant Narcissism" (instrumental)2:17
13."We Hold On"4:13



AlbumBillboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
2007 Billboard 200 3
Top Rock Albums 1
Top Internet Albums 1


"Far Cry"
  • Released: June 1, 2007
  • Did not chart.
"The Larger Bowl"
  • Released: June 25, 2007
  • Chart positions: #16 Mediabase and Radio and Records Charts
"Workin' Them Angels"
  • Released: 2008


  1. ^ "Critic Reviews for Snakes & Arrows". Metacritic. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  2. ^ Alun Williams. "Rush CD Review – Snakes and Arrows by Rush". Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  3. ^ Allmusic review
  4. ^ Andy Patrizio (2007-05-01). "Rush – Snakes & Arrows". IGN. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  5. ^ Darryl Sterdan (2007-04-29). "CANOE – JAM! Music – Artists – Album Review: SNAKES AND ARROWS". Jam!. Archived from the original on 2012-07-21. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ [2] Archived January 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ Begrand, Adrien (2007-05-09). "Rush: Snakes & Arrows". PopMatters. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  9. ^ Rob Sheffield (2007-05-14). "Snakes & Arrows". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  10. ^ Catherine P. Lewis (2007-06-22). "RUSH "Snakes & Arrows" Anthem/Atlantic". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  11. ^ a b "Rush – Snakes & Arrows". Archived from the original on 2007-09-29. Retrieved 2007-05-10.
  12. ^ "Gold & Platinum Certification". Canadian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 2010-03-25. Retrieved 2007-10-26.
  13. ^ "50th annual Grammy Awards nominations". Variety. December 6, 2007.
  14. ^ Classic Rock, February 2010, Issue 141.
  15. ^ Peart, Neil The Game of Snakes & Arrows Accessed September 17, 2007
  16. ^ "RUSH – Official Website". Retrieved 2007-03-16.
  17. ^ Snakes and Arrows chart rankings Power Windows website – Chart news Archived 2008-08-22 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed August 12, 2007
  18. ^ Official Rush Website Rush tour schedule
  19. ^ Katie Hasty, "Ne-Yo Scores Second No. 1 In Debut-Heavy Week",, May 9, 2007.
  20. ^ Peart, Neil. "nep news". Retrieved 2010-09-19.
  21. ^ Bosso, Joe (2010-11-03). "Nick Raskulinecz on producing Rush, Foo Fighters, Alice In Chains". MusicRadar. Retrieved 2011-12-04.
  22. ^ "NEP news". Neil Peart official website. 2006-12-08. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  23. ^ a b Gibson, Mike (2007-02-17). "Beyond Foo". Metro Pulse. Archived from the original on 2007-02-16. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  24. ^ "Impending Rush, Dolores O'Riordan Releases". Richard Chycki's official website. 2007-02-18. Archived from the original on 2007-03-03. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  25. ^ Get Ready to ROCK! album review. Retrieved on 2007-04-03
  26. ^ Peart, Neil (2007-04-04). "The Game of Snakes and Arrows" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-04-21. Retrieved 2007-03-12.
  27. ^ Peart, Neil. "The Drums of Snakes and Arrows". DW Drums Website. Archived from the original on 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2007-09-23.
  28. ^ Cohen, Jonathan (2006-09-11). "Rush wrestling with faith on new album". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2007-03-10.
  29. ^ "Different Strings – Alex Lifeson Gets out of His Comfort Zone to Craft His Biggest Tones Ever – Guitar Player Sept 2007". Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  30. ^ "Alex Lifeson Gives Thanks On Rush Album To David Gilmour". 2007-04-29. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  31. ^ Rush's "Snakes & Arrows" pre-order page for the DVD-album Format

External links[edit]