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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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4 stars "A Farewell To Kings" is another visionary progressive rock record by the Canadian legends "Rush". It unites rather catchy and commercial songs like "Closer To The Heart" with epic conceptual science-fiction pieces like the brilliant "Cygnus X-1". Any fan of progressive music can hear that this record largely influenced bands such as "Ayreon" and "Dream Theater" many years ago and it is interesting to discover the roots and influences of those outstanding bands. Personally, I adore the diversity and visionary works of Rush and prefer them to "Genesis" that got to commercial and "Pink Floyd" that were not always able to get their inspirations to the point. "Rush" are neither very commercial nor handicapped by heavy drug abuse so that they are free to do what they want. That's what this album is all about: diversity and freedom. In the progressive rock world, there are only "King Crimson" and "Tangerine Dream" that I like as much or more than Rush.

Nevertheless, there are a couple of flaws on this particular record. First of all, the band starts with the most incoherent and weirdest song "A Farewell To Kings" that really takes some time to grow. It's not the best choice as an opener and title track and probably the uneasiest song on the record. I can't get a healthy approach to it as there is a lack of addicting elements in this experimental song that goes a little bit nowhere.

Second, this record is technically well crafted and even perfect but I miss some emotions and some human warmth in the songs. That's a flaw that many progressive rock bands have but some exceptions prove that this is possible and that's what divides the small path between an excellent and a very good band.

The third negative point is the vocals, probably the only truly weak point in this band, Rush's Achilles' tendon if you want to call it like that. Geddy Lee screams and yells like an angry woman from time to time and especially the more complex epics are too much interrupted by his surely unique but pretty much annoying voice. Most people might pardon those flaws and I agree that they don't really do any harm as I appreciate discovering this record over and over again but those points are the reasons why this isn't the band's best work and why some people might have some difficulties to get into this.

The instrumental parts are the true highlight on this record and I mostly appreciate the longer tracks that have less lyrics and concentrate on a conceptual atmosphere like "Xanadu" and especially the outstanding "Cygnus X-1" that surprises with its dystopian and mysterious moods and offers many changes of style, rhythm and melody and is one of the best progressive rock tracks in history.

In the end, this early masterpiece of the band is amongst their best albums but not yet in the top notch because of a few little flaws. The longest and most important tracks are all great and add something new and unique to the genre while the shorter tracks are less impressive. From an intellectual and technical point of view this record is close to perfection but concerning the emotional and coherent point of view, there are a couple of aspects that could be further worked out.

Originally published on on May 12th of the year 2011.

kluseba | 4/5 |


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