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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2484 ratings

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Eclectic Prog Team
5 stars One of the great Canadian trio's most remarkable releases, this album should put to rest any accusation that Rush is not a progressive rock act. I'm not sure I can heap enough praise on the band for Hemispheres; it is certainly an album I often turn to when I am in need of a Rush fix. Though only four songs are here, each one is a masterful creation in its own right. The eighteen minute epic is perhaps my favorite Rush piece- exciting, memorable, and entertaining. The two short songs are fantastic, blending elements of heavy rock and ambient phrases. The final track is a searing instrumental with the guitarist in the fore. Such an amazing album is not one to pass by.

"Cygnus X-1 Book II" The flow of this lengthy piece is unparalleled compared to other Rush epics. Sure there are six distinct sections, but they blend together almost seamlessly. Geddy Lee's bass playing is rather sophisticated, and his voice is beginning to mature at this point. Alex Lifeson's guitar moves between clean chords to crunchy rhythms with chorus throughout. Neil Peart's drums are effective and stand out more than they had up until that point. I really love the sudden stops that punctuate the piece. The use of the synthesizer is tastefully minimal, yet there are atmospheric sections where Lee's vocals are subdued. A short acoustic piece concludes the song, serving as something of an epilogue. This is probably the finest thing Rush ever recorded.

"Circumstances" Following such a powerful and wonderfully crafted track, Rush offers a short song that is structurally straightforward but still complex in its own way. It has that full Rush sound, Lifeson's guitar thick and creamy. This great song boasts great guitar riffs and a catchy chorus.

"The Trees" This song, with amusing lyrics, a classical guitar introduction, heavy rock, and a tranquil musical interlude in 5/4, has always been a favorite of mine from this great band. The chord progression is unique, and the light percussion during the relaxing bits is innovative. And Lifeson's solo still surprises me, just as I am starting to relax. From the acoustic introduction to the mentioning of the three arboreal equalizers, this is most certainly one of Rush's greatest works under five minutes.

"La Villa Strangiato" A gentle classical guitar introduction, fantastically performed, gives way to airy synthesizer and clear electric guitar. Lee and Peart fade in very gradually. This is if anything one of Alex Lifeson's grandest moments in the spotlight. A quiet passage, with Peart maintaining the main rhythm, has Lifeson playing with a cleaned up tone that soon becomes the screaming lead guitar sound he is more known for. This is not to say Lee does not have his moment in the song. After six minutes in, he fires off a quick little bass solo, and Peart soon follows suit. The bulk of the music consists of powerful chords and fast pull-offs, but the music fails to get stale, even after all these years- this instrumental rivals "YYZ" in terms of love from fans.

Epignosis | 5/5 |


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