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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2484 ratings

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4 stars After three albums that featured signs of development towards progressive rock Rush finally went all in and carved their most complex album yet! Widely considered to be their most progressive release, a statement I support completely, Hemispheres was also the most consistent band effort from the trio. Just when Rush managed to score their biggest hit with Closer To The Heart the band must have left the mainstream audience feeling cold after hearing this album, which might explain the indifferent reviews that this album has received from a wide array of critics. Let's talk about the music!

I think that it was a smart idea adding the tag Book II to Cygnus X-1 Book II since, besides one riff rehash and the sampled section there isn't really much of a connection between the two compositions. Lyrics are much more coherent and the ending brings the two pieces to a completely unexpected closure that is well worth experiencing. As a composition this one still doesn't hit the spot as much as 2112, due to a rather slow progression, but it's a definite improvement over the performance that we've heard on A Farewell To Kings! Unlike the previous two albums where the second side didn't hold a candle to the excellent first side, Hemispheres actually gets even better towards the album's end.

Circumstances might not be the best rocker that we've heard from the band but it has grown significantly over the years, which might explain why Rush still performs this track during their concerts. The Trees is easily my favorite 5 minutes featured on this album. What we get here are smart lyrics mixed into a masterfully technical rocker. Plus there is an acoustic middle section, leading up to the guitar solo, that sounds like as if it was lifted straight out of a classic Genesis tune! Surprisingly enough I've never been much of a La Villa Strangiato-fan. I can sympathies with everyone who considers it to be a solid instrumental piece but there's just nothing more to this performance. Yes, it's a great highlight in a live setting but that's probably why this studio version leaves me cold.

Unlike the previous releases that had a few majestic highlights that kept those releases afloat Hemispheres is a very consistent record from start to finish that might not have as many magnificent moments. Nonetheless, it's an excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.

***** star songs: The Trees (4:42)

**** star songs: Cygnus X-1 Book II (18:04) Circumstances (3:40) La Villa Strangiato (10:34)

Rune2000 | 4/5 |


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