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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.36 | 2203 ratings

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5 stars It's amazing to me that Rush was only four years in at this point. It sounds like they had been at it for much longer. I took French for four years in college, and I still can't speak a word.

"Hemispheres " marks their 7th album (6 studio, and 1 live) in only 4 years, which by today's standards is crazy. These days, we wait years between any band's releases. To this point, Rush had improved on every release, and "Hemispheres" is no exception. They trump every preceding album in every way with this release and produce their first perfect 10. There is not a weak moment, and there is no filler.

Before this album, they had some perfect songs: "Anthem," "Bastille Day," almost everything on "A Farewell to Kings," and of course "2112, but they didn't have a perfect album. Everything you get on Hemispheres is on the money.

On to the songs, "Circumstances" is this album's "Cinderella Man," but it's better in every way, which is a huge compliment because "Cinderella Man" rocks. "Circumstances" has always been one of my favorite Rush songs, and I absolutely loved hearing it live on the snakes and arrows tour.

"The Trees" has always been a fan favorite and a live staple. For some reason, people connect to this forest war between the maples and the oaks, and the last line gets me every time? "And the trees are all kept equal by hatchet, axe, and saw." Great closing line.

"La Villa" is just sick. Their first and best instrumental. I rank it above "YYZ". Best instrumental every written. End of story. It's 10 minutes, but it just flies by? every intricate note is perfection.

Then you have the "Hemispheres" suite, which is important for so many reasons. Here's the top 5.

1. It's the best epic they ever made. It beats "2112," and I'm not sure why it's not played live.

2. It's the last epic they ever made, and it represents an end of an era.

3. The "Prelude" segment is a war march section, which?as I've mentioned in other reviews ?I'm a sucker for? Tull's "Thick as a Brick," Bad Religion's "Along the Way," put a war march section in a song, and I'm sold.

4. Crescendo: Rush had mastered this technique at this point, and this is their best use of it. It builds up just like in "2112," then kicks in with the "all at once the chaos ceased" section. Simply fantastic.

5. "Atlas Shrugged" is put back on the shelf to collect some dust. The lyrics here are a departure from Randian idealism. Rand is all about reason (emotion is not on the top of her list). In other words, all mind and no heart. "Hemispheres" is about finding a synergy between rationalism and sentimentality. It's all about finding balance? "we will call you Cygnus, the God of Balance you shall be". Hemispheres really closes out that chapter of Neil's writing.

That about sums it up. The only negative is the cover. Not Hugh's best. Between this and Yes's "Going for the One," I've had enough naked men for a few years.

That's it, perfection. If you don't have it, you are missing out.

RMR | 5/5 |


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