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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.32 | 2277 ratings

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If All the World's a Stage was a monument to Rush's power, A Farewell to Kings is a monument to Rush's talent. Few bands would manage to constantly move and update their sound with such easeness and quality as Rush, specially from this album on.

With A Farewell to Kings Rush finally found their own hard rock approach to prog rock, making their sound richer, more sophisticated and complex without losing edge. With such instant classics as the title track and the inevitable Closer to the Heart, the band managed to keep its newfound hard-prog sound within the boundaries of a traditional song - something they were unable to do in their previous albums, where the shorter tracks pretty much relied on the conventional hard rock approach.

On the other end of the equation, they finally master the epic style in mid-sized tracks (that is, by epic prog standards) Xanadu and Cygnus X-1, both 10-minute plus songs that come together as organic pieces, with no holes and logical, smooth transitions, even when shifting moods radically.

Dealing with such themes as history, mythology and philosophy, Neil Peart's lyrics had never sounded sharper, and he proves himself much more than just the science-fiction lyricist he's often mistaken for - that is, only by those unfamiliar to the band or biased towards it. He does dive - literally - into science fiction in the phenomenal ending track, Cygnus X-1. It sings about a black hole, one from which the band come out well and alive. Rush's best extended song to date.

Musically, the band made room for a whole set of new instruments from classical guitar to tubular bells to mini-moog. The result is complex and baroque, yet balanced. Nothing sounds out of place, not a single note or a single word. Even Lee's singing has never sounded better, a little more restrained.

It is hard to point highlights in an album with no weak tracks and made almost entirely of classic tunes. Aside from singing, Lee also provides a winner - words and music - with his charming Cinderella Man. From Lifeson's trademark heavy, raw guitar solo, to the delicate beauty of Madrigal, the shorter track, from the mystery that brings near such distinct and distant places as the desolate "fearsome force" of Cygnus X-1 and the "Pleasure Dome" of Xanadu, A Farewell to Kings is eclectic, still harmonious and cohese, shifting from weights and moods - often in the same song - without losing pace.

This is probably my favourite Rush album. The work of a mature band, A Farewell to Kings is the album where the band finally develops and displays its immense talent - and only the first one, in a streak that would sail the seventies through, way into the eighties.

bfmuller | 5/5 |


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