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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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Heart of the Matter
5 stars Fifth studio album by Rush and (even when composed under pressure during the All The World's A Stage tour) a serious candidate to be their masterpiece, A Farewell To Kings shows a decisive increase in instrumental equipment (new Moog synth, double-neck guitars & basses) as well as in metric complexity, so effective in making a progressive impresion. It's also said that Neil Peart adopted a new stick-gripping technique and an enlarged percussion set including all sorts of non-standard items

The actual recording and mixing process took place in the UK, under co-producer Terry Brown's guidance. Some acoustic guitars and percussion were taped outdoors in order to capture ambiance, natural echo, and bird singing (a bit like Geoff Emerick did with McCartney's "Blackbird" for Beatles' White Album). Listen, for example, the opener's intro by Alex Lifeson on Renaissance-styled acoustic guitar and Geddy Lee on crazy synth harmonies, after which the electric trio takes over with great energy and rythmic intricacy.

There are other small acoustic beauties here, just like the favourite "Madrigal", with pristine melody and outstanding vocal delivery, but the prog core of the album lies within the two major epics:

"Xanadu", the template for so much hard-prog to come, including unforgettable Moog breaks by Geddy.

"Cygnus X-1", a Sci-Fi epic named after the first black hole to be discovered (initially known only as an unexplainable source of X-rays in Cygnus constellation). Here the intro, ascending by a scale of whole tones, averts momentarily any sense of diatonism or modality, depicting the star's gravitatory collapse.

Heart of the Matter | 5/5 |


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