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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2484 ratings

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4 stars Given wisdom, given love, balance between the two is the answer. That's the message of "Hemispheres", an 18-minute Greek tragedy that, despite its allusion to "Cygnus X-1", is more of a followup to "2112". RUSH has always had trouble with the extended epic format; they write brilliant five- and six-minute songs, but they never seem to create enough music to support multi-part suites. The same themes are re-cast from part to part, disappearing in time only to reappear louder somewhere later. And that's my knock on "Hemispheres" -- it would have made a great six-minute song, but over eighteen minutes the music becomes too self-referential. Maybe the answer for RUSH is to follow the approach of other prog acts, and fuse different songs together as parts of a single epic, rather than stretching a single song to cover multiple parts. As a result, the album's balance shifts in favor of side two, all of it classic RUSH. "Circumstances" is the kind of punched-up pep talk that RUSH would re-visit on "Freewill", "The Trees" is the engaging offspring of "The End", and "La Villa Strangiato" might be the best instrumental workout of their career.

"Hemispheres" is ultimately half of a great album, not the sustained brilliance of "Permanent Waves" or "Moving Pictures", but deservedly a staple in any balanced repast of RUSH.

daveconn | 4/5 |


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