Neal Peart has serious issues. The man should be in therapy. His self loathing and guilt is evident on this record in so many places, I wouldn't be surprised is every shrink within a 100 kilometer radius of Toronto was calling Rush's management to try and procure the disturbed drummer as their next deep pocketed patient.
Now Neil's issues are certainly understandable, with the untimely deaths of his wife and daughter a few years back, his anger and guilt are expected. But when do Geddy and Alex say "enough is enough"; how about another theme on a Rush song besides the evil of religion and the unfairness of fate. Hey Neil, read a sci-fi novel or something!
Other than the distinguished Far Cry and the very commendable three instrumentals (where we do not have to be preached at by a bitter anti-American atheist), the remaining nine songs are a tirade on misery and the sad state of the world, and it hints that evangelical Christianity is to blame. Now I am no Bible Thumper, but to me the Christian Right is nothing more than an annoyance. They do not drive car bombs into flea markets and kill thirty people, but I digress, this is not a political statement, but a commentary on this poor record that says Rush on it.
After Far Cry, we are greeted by "Armor and Sword" where Peart's message is not crystal clear, but he is clearly griping about a problem with religion. Although it is only certain religions that still believe the line, "no one gets to their heaven without a fight".
"The Larger Bowl" is "Roll the Bones" part deux. Same exact theme, as such, I am unsure why the song even exists other than it gives Peart another chance to vent as to how guilty he is that he is filthy rich and that there are billions of people trapped in poverty, slavery, etc. This song is a total throw away.
"Spindrift" asks, "Who cares what a fool believes?" Normally, I wouldn't read too much into this, but as we continue on, the message seems obvious.
"The Way the Wind Blows" is a complete diatribe that I need not elaborate on here, as it has a similar message to "Armor and Sword" but is far more obvious. We see more of the same in "Faithless" though "The Way the Wind Blows" is macro-moralizing whilst "Faithless" is micro-moralizing. Either way, I do not care to be hit over the head with the same message 100 times in a record.
The remaining songs, save the instrumental, are more of the same philosophical bullshit Rush fans have had to put up with for the first 40 minutes of this record, but said a little differently.
I agree with Steve Harris when he quipped in "For the Greater Good of God" that "religion has a lot to answer for", but Iron Maiden is far more relevant today than Neil Peart is. Snakes & Arrows makes me long for another Geddy Lee solo album, because let's face it. My Favorite Headache is a far cry better than Snakes & Arrows.