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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2367 ratings

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5 stars This is indeed a masterpiece of prog music, and of rock in general. It only contains six songs and to some it may look a bit short, anyway two of the songs (Xanadu and Cygnus X-1) exceed the 10 min. length.

I have to say that RUSH's music is something you must grow accustomed to, because especially when you first hear it, you may think they're not that good. But as you explore their music and you slowly enter their world you become addicted (that's what's happened to me, at least :) ).

Let's take a look at the tracklist:

1) A farewell to kings: this is a great rocker with a beautiful intro played on classical guitar and synths and with a great solo section, which is simple but very effective. It throws me right into the middle ages! Great atmosphere, great lyrics. It may be a bit easier than other Rush songs (just a bit!) but it's a great track anyway.

2) Xanadu: This is where the real epic shows/starts. This is a 11+ min. song, telling about the fantastic dreamland created by the mythic Kubla Khan, as described by Coleridge's poem, but seen in a personal way (as Rush's usual). The long atmospheric intro is just great, and i think the guitar riff that swells into the main theme of the song is one of the best things ever written by Alex Lifeson. The song develops in many different moods and goes in circle revisiting the prevoious sections until it goes through a beautiful guitar solo to the grand finale. Great epic track.

3) Closer to the heart: This is THE classic Rush ballad, a radio favorite, but clever anyway. Great acoustic intro, a Beatles-like structure, great Queen-like solo by Alex, a great 3 min. tune. Here's an example of how you can sound great with simplicity.

4) Cinderella Man: This may sound like an easy song at first, but it's deeper than it seems. I find it very nice, especially for the lyrics, which tell about a man with a big sensibility who gets mocked by some people and then finds his own special revenge. Another great solo by Alex, this time with a wah.

5) Madrigal: A very short song with a very deep feeling to it. Geddy here is fantastic, he really makes you think he is a weary dragon-slayer who longs to go back home to his mate. The song has a very mellow and relaxing atmosphere, very sweet. Beatuiful lyrics. This one was described by Neil Peart as the album's "production song", something that later on became a tradition in Rush's discography.

6) Cygnus X-1: Now let me talk about this one: This may be my favorite Rush song ever, it's just crazy. It's straight metal for me, and it leans heavily on the sci-fi side, telling a story about a brave astronaut who throws himself with his spaceship (the "Rocinante") inside the black hole called Cygnus X-1 to discover its secret. The song starts with an ominous bass intro, which is joined by the drums after some beats (just listen to the tightness of the Peart/Lee rhythm section), and then by the guitar. The song then explodes into its main riff, always very nasty, almost thriller-like, and it leads to the moody Cygnus march (scary and HEAVY). The vocals start very late in the song. After a sung section in which we find one of the great riffs heard before, the song comes to its only "happy" section (as i call it), which describes the journey of the Rocinante through the galaxies. Very epic. Then comes the dramatic part. This part is VERY good. It almost feels like you're on the ship in your furious journey ready to be sucked into the black hole!!! In the very end Geddy screams like a madman, I think he must have blown a microphone here :) . Listening to the final spooky guitar chords you can just see the debris of the ship floating in space. Impressive. This song alway leaves me speechless after i hear it, it is more than a song, i guess it's kind of a space trip, with horror too!!! I love it.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this album to anyone who doesn't already have it in their collection. This is what i call an "essential" album. FIVE STARS!!!

porter | 5/5 |


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