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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover

HEMISPHERES

Rush

 

Heavy Prog

4.38 | 1648 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

lazland
Prog Reviewer
3 stars The album that could almost, in the light of hindsight, be subtitled "A Farewell To Epics", because this was the last time that the band would ever try anything quite so lengthy or a concept piece, certainly with the sci fi fantasy that marked earlier epics. I take issue with those who declare that this album marked the end of Rush as a prog band. Maybe it was their last proggy album, for want of a better word, but they certainly, with subsequent releases, established themselves as one of the planet's leading progressive rock bands (and I do think there is a difference).

Of course, in 1978, we all lapped it up. Hemispheres is the direct sequel to Cygnus X-1, and has five distinct segments lasting an entire side of 18 plus minutes. Listening to it again now, there are some lovely sections, but, dare I say it, I really don't think it has aged particularly well over the years, certainly not as much as its illustrious two predecessor albums. The story (which is so well known, I won't bother to repeat it here) is actually insensibly carried forward from the first part, and it all sounds very disjointed in a way that, for example, 2112 didn't. Sure, it features some massive riffs, excellent rhythm section work, and Geddy Lee in fine vocal fettle, but, somehow, it just doesn't hold together for me. The acoustic passages are by far the best in this.

Side two gave us a hint as to the future direction the band would take. Circumstances and The Trees are two shorter tracks, whilst La Villa Strangiato, whilst fairly hefty in terms of length, offers us no lyrics and lets the music speak for itself.

Circumstances is a good rocking track, with excellent riffs. The Trees is a track I love, and strikes me as actually being the true successor to the music in A Farewell To Kings. Lush and acoustic to begin, the main riff follows with the type of catchy main section for which they would definitely continue with in the later releases. A great track, with prophetic lyrics as to the future of our world, and the Lifeson & Lee main feature riff packs in more of a punch in a mere couple of minutes than the title track did in its entirety. The final, instrumental, piece of music is a glorious exercise in symphonic rock and is the sound of a threesome entirely at ease with themselves and their craft. The theme of this would later be taken forward in XYZ, albeit in a shorter time frame (i.e. without the drum soloing). This is up there with that classic.

Reviews for this album range from the incredible to the damning, and it remains one of the progheads favourite Rush albums of all time. I'm in a minority when I say that I regard side two as being far better than side one. In fact, I suspect that the band, especially Peart, thought the same, because they had gone as far as they could with this particular phase of writing and recording. They then did what all of the best bands do - they moved on and progressed to another level.

Three stars for this. A good album that is great to revisit every now and again.

lazland | 3/5 |

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