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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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Tony R
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars One of the defining moments in my (then) young life was going into town to buy A Farewell To Kings, the first Rush album to be put out on official release in the UK. The wondeful gatefold sleeve, yet another Hugh Syme masterpiece,only served to heighten my excitement and expectation as I impatiently waited for the bus that would return me home. From the moment I placed it on the turntable and the first acoustic chords thrummed out from the speakers I knew this was going to be a classic album. A Farewell To Kings (the title track) immediately struck a chord with me- "cities full of hatred fear and lies" reminded me instantly of the atmosphere of fear that hung over Punk- era Britain. Gentle acoustic guitars and ringing synth give way to a tumult of powerchords and muscular drums and bass. Almost anthemic, sometimes brutal,this is really the song that defined Rush for me at this time, even loved the "yadda-yadda" vocals on this track that oddly sound treated in some way.The instrumental/solo break is one of their best a combination of "Bastille Day" and the later "Freewill" with the final few acoustic chords and cymbals setting the scene nicely for Xanadu. For me Xanadu will always be Rush's greatest epic and the track I always play to anyone I want to convert to the "Rush cause." It has the finest opening of any Prog Rock song, one that will always bring the goosebumps up on me:tubular bells and atmospheric guitar building up to a crescendo of foreboding before the more complex chops of drum, bass and rock guitar kick in.The mystical story provided by Coleridge's "Kublai Khan" is nicely judged as a framework for an epic musical workout, and boy do Rush do it justice.The guitar solo at the end of the piece is one of Lifeson's best and spawned a host of imitators ( Pallas & Def Leppard to name but two.) Closer To The Heart next and what can you say? Two minutes and fifty-five seconds of pure genius.This was always going to be a crowd favourite-hopeful lyrics, jangly guitars, a synth solo and gasp, more tubular bells! A minor hit in the punk rock-bloated Uk charts was the outcome. Cinderella Man is a pretty straight-forward (for Rush) song,echoing the title track in tone and execution. Madrigal is a pretty little soft-rock ballad that allows Geddy Lee to sing "normally" for a change. Sci fi sound effects lead us into another classic "Cygnus X-1." The bass throbs in with a pulsating riff, joined by strident guitars and drums.The band move into a pulsating, rhythmic jam that wonderfully evokes space travel, pulsars,black holes and all things Steven Hawking.I always remember my parents baulking at the strangulated vocals especially as our hero plunges into the Black Hole, but to me it readily evoked the cataclysm of that mysterious space phenemenon.Bludgeoning guitars, bass and drums in unison-play at volume 10 for maximum impact! This is such a good album that any review would fail to do it justice.Go out and buy this if you dont already own a copy.
Tony R | 5/5 |


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