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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2483 ratings

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4 stars No prog n' no problem: 8/10

Truth be told, I always found RUSH's flirting with prog rock laughable. Not only their "innovations" are dated, but they are not innovations at all. While the musical movement shook the earth in the early 70s, RUSH was busy playing simpleton hard rock (that bordered metal) tracks. This obviously doesn't take their merit as accomplished musicians and creators of good music, but I feel I would be ridiculous to visualize RUSH as a progressive powerhouse. So much so that, after their "prog" phase, they hopped in the synthesizer-driven poppish rock trend of the early 80s without a single flinch. Almost as if they were glad that they had no longer to worry about faking a "prog" posture. Honestly, their music became more natural.

Putting this aside, HEMISPHERES, just like most of their songs in the "prog era" (or almost any era I have listened to, to be honest) is fun to listen to. I can't seem to find any excerpt of theirs that sounds saddened or melancholic or to put it simply, isn't downright upbeat. Their joviality, cheerfulness and a rather unpretentious (well, unwillingly, because eighteen minutes long tracks aren't written accidentally) approach to music are so appealing to me.

Hemispheres is perhaps their most polemic work. Deemed by some as boring and dragging and others as enjoyable, this has a lot to do with its lack of diversity on the riff repertoire. There's also a debate whether the lyrics are overly cheesy or a well-crafted lyrical fountain. I belong to the latter group. I love this song.

Circumstances show that RUSH never truly abandoned their simple and unadorned approach to hard rock.

The Trees is a weird version of a fable. Rather than featuring animals, it features plants. Lyrics tell of small trees that, due to lack of sunlight, joins in a syndicate against the larger trees that absorbs it all. In the end - spoilers - all trees are chopped so what difference does it take? The distilled sarcasm is sturdy, resembling Frank Zappa's. Also, the midsection features a delightful and serene atmosphere as Peart plays the temple/wood blocks.

La Villa Strangiato is their acclaimed and indisputably most 'progressive' work, an instrumental song with various jams and sections that showcase their fullest potential. Didn't give many listens to it, but from what I've heard it sounds masterful.

If you are willing to ignore the debatable "lack" or "abundance" of progressiveness in their songs and just enjoy it labellessly, I'm pretty sure you're going to have a good time with it. I did.

(originally written to rateyourmusic, hence the review's less substantiality than I usually put)

Luqueasaur | 4/5 |


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