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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars "A Farewell to Kings" is a landmark album in the long, prolific career of its threesome perpetrators. The progressive colours that had been part of Rush's sonic landscape in their previous two studio efforts are now taken to the next level, becoming now an integral element of a hard-rock driven progressive power trio sound. Another important factor is that Peart's lyrics are getting increasingly better at alluding and eluding things along and behind the lines. The intro theme to the opening namesake track is not misleading at all: the classical guitar motif seasoned with lines on piccolo-like Moog and glockenspiel is a proper announcement of the band's commitment to progressive exquisiteness and symphonic pomposity. They never leave that metallic aggressiveness, which is still administered with skill and fire, but it is also clear that the rhythm section is riding headlong for a complex ideology of pretentiousness, while the guitar parts are in many, many passages designed to fill an orchestrating role in company of the synth harmonies and textures. Well, the opening track is quite amazing, with its catchy riffs, jazz rock interlude, and a dramatic guitar solo soon after. The percussive arsenal handled by Peart serves as a fundamental basis for the band's renewed symphonic orientation: that is mostly obvious in the album's absolute highlight 'Xanadu', a 12-minute epic where the heavy and the texturial alternate with full splendour. The other epic is the more directly heavy metallic 'Cygnus X-1', which exhibits obvious hints to their 75-76 albums. Though I find it less inspired compositionally than 'Xanadu', I still regard it as an impressive number where all three musicians exhibit their own individual capacities and their combined ability to function as a perfectly united ensemble - the explosive neck-breaking finale is something that leaves the listener stunned long after the song has ended. In the middle, here we've got one of Rush's undisputed anthems (the high-spirited humanist chant 'Closer to the Heart'), a serene acoustic-based ballad ('Madrigal'), and a 'Caress of Steel'-like rocky number ('Cinderella Man'), whose sense of irony is attractive enough to keep the listener's interest after the emotional candor exhibited in 'Closer to the Heart'. In short: "A Farewell to Kings" is one of Rush's masterpieces, and a masterpiece in itself in the overall context of the history of prog rock.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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