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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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5 stars This album brings great memories for me as I got it when I first entered Bandung city at first time for my enrolment as engineering student at Institut Teknologi Bandung (ITB). Well, pretty late actually - roughly close to two years after official release date in 1977 - but I had no regret at all because for the past one year I had worked really hard to get the entrance to ITB, due to a very tough national competition while I was just a village boy coming from small city Madiun, 800 km away from Bandung. Yes, I was born with the heart of Lothian. I built my rock spirit when I was grown up in Madiun with all of limited availability of rock albums - but it's OK. On my first day in Bandung, I visited a rented house where my senior from Madiun (who had been an ITB student) had stayed. I heard from his room a rock music being played from the car stereo in his room. The vocal quality was very unique and very easy to identify. So, I asked him: "I it Rush?". "Yeah!" he replied while handed over me the cover of a cassette with provoking label: "RUSH - A Frewell to Kings". Wow! What a great cover and great music. That day, I went to down town Dalem kaum to buy the same cassette of this album. This represented my first collection during my study at Bandung. Bandung was the place where I met many prog mates who introduced me to diverse music styles, especially progressive rock.

The Album

The wonderful acoustic guitar work which is performed energetically, augmented with key synthesizer and vibraphone works at the intro part of opening track "A Farewell to Kings" reminds me back to "Horizon" by Genesis's Steve Hackett even though it's totally different kind of music. This excellent opening sets the overall atmosphere of the album. The music flows in a rocking style with some variation All musicians fill their roles excellently as the music produced is really solid and packed. Lifeson's guitar combined with Lee's inventive bass lines and Peart's syncopated drumming has given great enjoyment pleasure for me. Memorable segment for me is when Lee gives his bass guitar solo augmented with powerful drumming at approx minute 3:12. Lifeson then gives his guitar solo part after drum and bass works. Really nice!

The second track "Xanadu" starts off with an ambient music exploring synthesizer with soundscapes, congas, triangles and bells. This long introduction that consumes approx 2 minutes has become a pivotal part of this excellent track. The music enters slowly at minutes 2 through the soft touch of guitar fills and drum work. This instrumental part gives an excellent work of bass guitar that serves as main rhythm section of the music which is led by guitar solo plus drums. The music turns into quiet passage when Geddy Lee's voice starts to enter the music but it then moves into more complex arrangements. Synthesizer solo also enriches the textures of this track. Surely, this is one of my favorite Rush tracks.

"Closer to the Heart" (2:51) is another excellent composition which starts beautifully with acoustic guitar work and vibes to bring Lee's voice enters the music. The song moves into rockier part as the lyrical part requires the higher register notes to present. "Cinderella Man" (4:19) is another excellent track combining acoustic guitar rhythm and guitar solo. "Madrigal" (2:33) is mellow track with synthesizer and guitar rhythm that provides a good break into quiet passages.

"Cygnus X-1" (10:21) is my favorite track from this album. I enjoy the opening part on quiet passage for approx 2 minutes time. The music then enters with heavy and solid bass lines combined wonderfully with machine-gun drum work and guitar riffs. The music flows smoothly in a rocking style until vocal enters the scene in quiet mood. Structurally, this epic comprises various forms of music with a balanced combination between high and low points. In some segments there are atmospheric nuance combined with dynamic combination between bass guitar and drum. Geddy Lee's voice changes throughout the epic from high to low and returns to high points. It's very enjoyable.


Overall, "A Farewell To Kings" is the first progressive efforts by the band as all tracks are truly progressive. With this album, Rush established its strong standing as a full progressive rock band expanding its creation with various styles and forms of rock music. Most of song structures are not straight forward - even some tracks feature frequent tempo changes. It's one of finest albums by Rush. Highly recommended! Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild, GW

Gatot | 5/5 |


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