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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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4 stars 2112 spawned a streak of great Rush releases and although this one is definitely a weird one, still A Farewell To Kings is by no means an exception to that statement!

What makes this album a bit strange is the fact that it's not really a great album but, just like 2112 before it, A Farewell To Kings somehow manages to deliver enough great moments to make it another interesting release for our friendly Canadian rockers. Once again it's the first side that gives us the best material while the second side is mainly good, but non-essential. The album begins with another memorable acoustic guitar section from Alex Lifeson which then transforms into a full blown rocker, that is the title-track. Unlike the previous shorter compositions this one is actually 6 minutes long making it a hybrid between the longer and shorter formats which the band nails completely.

Just like everyone else before me I shall give my highest regards to Xanadu since this track is well worth all the praise that you've heard about it. The lyrics are based on the 18th century poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, meaning that the band was expanding their horizons beyond the fictional realm by incorporating the actual poem recital in the lyrics. Musically it's Neil Peart's drumming that completely steals the show here delivering a career highlight on his part. We also get the early glimpses of the synthesizer sounds that would be incorporated more and more into the mix with every consecutive release.

Closer To The Heart might have opened the band to a mainstream audience but the track isn't really all that exciting from neither the historic nor progressive point of reference. Instead, it marks the first signs of a decline that we will observe throughout the rest of the album. Cinderella Man is completely bland and the sentimental lyrics by Geddy Lee don't really make this obviously commercial track any better. I'm on a fence about Madrigal since it reminds me of Different Strings off Permanent Waves, which I like, but to be completely honest there isn't really much to gain from this short performance.

Cygnus X-1 is a track that I really liked a few years back and I even suggested it as a jam session track for my band mates at one point since the track's first part has an excellent bass groove to it. Unfortunately the build-up that is created in the first half of the track doesn't really payoff since the ending can be described a meaningless stab at punk music of the time. Fortunately this wasn't the last that we would hear of the mysterious Cygnus X-1 and the the much anticipated Cygnus X-1 Book II would make for a worthy conclusion to the themes that were set here.

Once again Rush managed to conceive an excellent album by only creating one side worth of masterpiece material and another filled with somewhat of a mixed bag. Luckily their work would be greatly improved on by the next couple of releases!

***** star songs: A Farewell To Kings (5:50) Xanadu (11:05)

**** star songs: Closer To The Heart (2:52) Madrigal (2:34) Cygnus X-1 (10:22)

*** star songs: Cinderella Man (4:19)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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