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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2484 ratings

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Cesar Inca
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
5 stars In my humble opinion (which is coincident with that of many Rush loyal followers), "Hemispheres" establishes the finest hour of Lee, Lifeson and Peart as both performers and portrayers. Keeping their strong step on the road of hard rock driven symphonic prog that had been started in "A Farewell to Kings", "Hemispheres" finds this power trio exhibiting an air of finesse fluidly combined with their habitual metallic rock conviction. The namesake suite, which occupied the whole A-side in the vinyl format, is a perfect example of the maturity that by now Rush has achieved: it is more cohesive and its successive sections are more cleverly arranged in an integral way than the '2112' or 'Fountain of Lamneth' suites. The link between the 'Prelude' and the main motifs of 'Apollo' and 'Dionysus' arrives to an awesome climax in the martial-like tout-de- force of 'Armageddon'; the inscrutable spatial ambience in the first part of 'Cygnus' creates a dramatic ethereal intermission between the epic fire of the previous sections and the one that burns even more intensely in the climax that signals the last part of 'Cygnus'. A bang on the gong announces the closure of 'Cygnus' with powerful majesty, but there's still something left: a beautiful 1-minute acoustic ballad in which Lee gently proclaims the dream of a unity of both sides of the human soul (the rational and the emotional). Hard as it seems to be, the remaining repertoire is not to be overshadowed by this explosive epic. Well, 'Circumstances' actually is just a moderately complex rocky number, whose melodic lines are based on catchy guitar riffs: but what a good rock song it is, indeed. 'The Trees' is an attractive fable that still nowadays is part of the band's usual tracklist on stage. Its storyline, centered on the subject of unfair inequity being eventually replaced by forced equity, is conveniently reflected by the varied instrumentation, handled with a sense of fine musical vision: a classical guitar intro, the rockier sequences switching from 4/4 to 6/4 with total fluidity, a brief introspective interlude in which the Moog solo and the cowbells portray a forest in a state of "calm before the storm". each and every element in this song shouts out the greatness conveyed in it as a whole. And the same happens in the case of 'La Villa Strangiato', a powerful instrumental "exercise in self-indulgence" that is among the most emblematic pieces in Rush's entire career. All along its 12 sections displayed in a time span of 9 and a half minutes, the threesome expose their technical abilities and their combined versatility in order to create a multi-faceted journey through the realms of symph prog, hard rock, jazz rock, Arabic-like eerie ambiences (even a memorable although brief Flamenco intro!!). The guys seem to be at ease fulfilling such a demanding task, having fun while challenging the listener with all the overwhelming complexity that is contained in 'La Villa'. What a way to close down an album! In fact, what an album! Just like its predecessor, "Hemispheres" is a 5-star masterpiece.
Cesar Inca | 5/5 |


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