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RUSH

Heavy Prog • Canada


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Rush biography
RUSH are a pioneering line-up of Seventies Progressive rock, who influenced many Prog, hard-rock and heavy metal bands. This Canadian band is composed of bassist, singer and keyboard player Geddy LEE, guitarist Alex LIFESON and renowned drummer Neil PEART. In 1974 John RUTSEY was replaced by Peart who also assumed the role of the band's primary songwriter. Acclaimed for their instrumental virtuosity, their lyrics and longevity, throughout their 40+ year career they've proved to be the masters of their respective instruments while creating challenging yet popular music. They have the record for the third most consecutive gold or platinum albums for a band on the US album chart behind The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

Now, a brief summary of the band's career ...
Through the history of RUSH, they have passed through many distinct phases. Every one of these phases represents a triumph in music, allowing the band to move on. As at the end of all of RUSH's phases, a live LP was released. This tradition began with "All The World's A Stage", recorded live at Massey Hall in Toronto, Canada. Since then, the group has released three additional live albums: the best selling "Exit... Stage Left" (1981), "A Show of Hands" (1989), and the three-disc set "Different Stages" (1998), which encompasses three decades of the group's music.

FIRST PHASE (1974-1976):
In the beginning, they started off as hard rock blues outfit with John-boy before he left and Neil came in, bringing his sci-fi mind into the works. The music seems to be a transition between straight-ahead rock tunes and more complex progressive tracks. "Caress of Steel" is a landmark album in the history of RUSH. Lyrically and musically, "2112" was a masterpiece. This multi-platinum release remains one of RUSH's best-selling albums.

SECOND PHASE (1977-1981):
They moved headlong into progressive rock in the later part of the decade, starting with the album previous and right on to their massive breakthrough, 1981's "Moving Pictures". Synthesizers were now employed by the band, played in the studio and on stage by Geddy. This was the end of transition from long epic pieces to shorter, more concise, and intricate songs. "Permanent Waves" is widely considered to be second only to "Moving Pictures" as RUSH's finest achievement.

THIRD PHASE (1982-1989):
RUSH embraced the 1980s sound...
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Live On Air 1975-1980:Legendary Radio BroadcastsLive On Air 1975-1980:Legendary Radio Broadcasts
LASER MEDIA 2017
Audio CD$10.55
$14.50 (used)
The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987
Remastered
Mercury 2003
Audio CD$3.29
$0.69 (used)
2112 [2 CD/DVD][40th Anniversary]2112 [2 CD/DVD][40th Anniversary]
Mercury 2016
Audio CD$22.36
$13.12 (used)
Moving Pictures [Remastered]Moving Pictures [Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.06
$1.00 (used)
Permanent Waves (Remastered)Permanent Waves (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.47
$2.00 (used)
2112 [Remastered]2112 [Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$1.39
$0.01 (used)
Fly By Night (Remastered)Fly By Night (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.45
$2.44 (used)
Rush (Remastered)Rush (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$1.18
$1.18 (used)
Caress Of Steel [Remastered]Caress Of Steel [Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$1.83
$0.24 (used)
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RUSH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

RUSH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

2.93 | 945 ratings
Rush
1974
3.36 | 1045 ratings
Fly By Night
1975
3.53 | 1118 ratings
Caress Of Steel
1975
4.10 | 1824 ratings
2112
1976
4.33 | 1921 ratings
A Farewell To Kings
1977
4.36 | 2070 ratings
Hemispheres
1978
4.29 | 1784 ratings
Permanent Waves
1980
4.40 | 2451 ratings
Moving Pictures
1981
3.95 | 1161 ratings
Signals
1982
3.70 | 1013 ratings
Grace Under Pressure
1984
3.54 | 879 ratings
Power Windows
1985
3.27 | 802 ratings
Hold Your Fire
1987
3.16 | 743 ratings
Presto
1989
3.09 | 756 ratings
Roll The Bones
1991
3.76 | 815 ratings
Counterparts
1993
2.86 | 738 ratings
Test For Echo
1996
3.43 | 760 ratings
Vapor Trails
2002
3.58 | 864 ratings
Snakes & Arrows
2007
3.96 | 951 ratings
Clockwork Angels
2012

RUSH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.86 | 399 ratings
All The World's A Stage
1976
4.05 | 511 ratings
Exit... Stage Left
1981
3.49 | 366 ratings
A Show Of Hands
1989
4.37 | 348 ratings
Different Stages - Live
1998
3.81 | 320 ratings
Rush - In Rio
2003
4.20 | 175 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
3.60 | 206 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
3.94 | 159 ratings
Grace Under Pressure 1984 Tour
2009
3.53 | 57 ratings
ABC 1974
2011
3.39 | 147 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.35 | 58 ratings
Moving Pictures: Live 2011
2011
4.01 | 78 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013
4.00 | 8 ratings
Kiel Auditorium, St Louis, MI, February 14 1980
2015
0.00 | 0 ratings
R40 Live
2015

RUSH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

3.97 | 121 ratings
Exit... Stage Left (VHS)
1981
3.37 | 37 ratings
Through The Camera Eye
1984
3.99 | 100 ratings
Grace Under Pressure Tour (DVD)
1985
4.00 | 102 ratings
A Show of Hands
1989
3.04 | 79 ratings
Chronicles
1990
4.35 | 254 ratings
Rush in Rio
2003
4.41 | 246 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
4.05 | 131 ratings
Replay x 3
2006
4.13 | 140 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
2.79 | 42 ratings
Working Men
2009
4.67 | 264 ratings
Beyond the Lighted Stage
2010
4.20 | 73 ratings
Classic Albums: 2112 - Moving Pictures
2010
3.91 | 95 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.87 | 53 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013
4.33 | 29 ratings
R40 Live
2015
4.75 | 4 ratings
Time Stand Still
2016

RUSH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.41 | 56 ratings
Archives
1978
2.74 | 25 ratings
Through Time
1978
3.50 | 2 ratings
Anthology
1984
3.60 | 100 ratings
Chronicles
1991
3.30 | 68 ratings
Retrospective I (1974-1980)
1997
3.18 | 65 ratings
Retrospective II (1981-1987)
1997
3.12 | 76 ratings
The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987)
2003
3.10 | 51 ratings
Gold
2006
2.88 | 50 ratings
Retrospective III 1989 - 2008
2009
2.77 | 42 ratings
Working Men
2009
1.81 | 28 ratings
Time Stand Still: The Collection
2010
2.32 | 28 ratings
Icon
2010
4.17 | 36 ratings
Sector 1
2011
4.53 | 40 ratings
Sector 2
2011
4.55 | 39 ratings
Sector 3
2011
3.29 | 7 ratings
Icon 2
2011
4.16 | 24 ratings
The Studio Albums 1989-2007
2013
4.50 | 2 ratings
2112 40th Anniversary edition
2016

RUSH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.01 | 37 ratings
Not Fade Away
1973
2.80 | 27 ratings
Finding My Way
1974
2.67 | 6 ratings
In The Mood
1974
0.00 | 0 ratings
Bastille Day
1975
3.05 | 28 ratings
Fly by Night
1975
3.04 | 28 ratings
The Twilight Zone
1976
3.56 | 35 ratings
2112: Overture/The Temples of Syrinx
1976
3.66 | 36 ratings
Closer to The Heart
1977
2.27 | 20 ratings
Everything Your Listeners Wanted To Hear By Rush... But Were Afraid To Play
1977
3.37 | 11 ratings
The Trees
1978
4.09 | 46 ratings
The Spirit of Radio
1980
2.80 | 42 ratings
Entre Nous
1980
3.94 | 51 ratings
Tom Sawyer
1981
4.10 | 10 ratings
Tom Sawyer / A Passage To Bangkok / Red Barchetta
1981
3.89 | 9 ratings
Vital Signs / Passage To Bangkok / Circumstances / In The Mood
1981
4.14 | 9 ratings
Subdivisions
1982
3.67 | 6 ratings
Countdown
1982
3.14 | 38 ratings
New World Man
1982
3.67 | 6 ratings
The Body Electric
1984
3.56 | 36 ratings
Distant Early Warning
1984
3.00 | 1 ratings
Afterimage
1984
3.07 | 36 ratings
The Big Money
1986
4.00 | 4 ratings
Prime Mover
1987
4.50 | 4 ratings
Closer To The Heart
1989
3.86 | 7 ratings
The Pass
1989
2.78 | 18 ratings
Ghost of a chance
1992
3.80 | 5 ratings
Roll The Bones
1992
1.89 | 20 ratings
The Story Of Kings
1992
3.05 | 25 ratings
Stick It Out
1993
3.33 | 27 ratings
One Little Victory
2002
2.83 | 191 ratings
Feedback
2004
3.50 | 4 ratings
Summertime Blues
2004
3.48 | 39 ratings
Far Cry
2007
4.09 | 127 ratings
Caravan / BU2B
2010
3.59 | 75 ratings
Headlong Flight
2012
4.20 | 5 ratings
The Garden
2013
3.00 | 3 ratings
7 and 7 is
2014
3.50 | 2 ratings
Roll The Bones
2015

RUSH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Grace Under Pressure by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.70 | 1013 ratings

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Grace Under Pressure
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars This is a bit hard to rate as a Rush album. It breaks significantly with the sound of previous albums (even with Signals, which also broke with the sound before it). Alex Lifeson's guitar sound went from progressive rock power chords and fast solos, to ethereal echo-laden Andy Summers-like accents. There are no epics. Geddy is singing down the register. This album largely set the formula that would be followed on Power Windows and Hold Your Fire, two of Rush's weaker albums from the 1980s. Yet, Grace Under Pressure is really good! The songs have more potency and urgency than anything on either Signals or the other 80s albums. Neil Peart has said this album was made during a difficult time, emotionally, for the band. Perhaps that spurred to members to feel things more and to put their hearts into the compositions. The songs on this album are consistently good, even if very different from the style set by Rush's 70's classics. The lyrics here are some of Neil Peart's best, in my opinion (not only poignant, but full of double entendres, puns, etc - I even remember reading that MAD magazine had awarded them some award for the humourous lyrics). So, while for me Signals feels too safe somehow, this album feels like the band are taking some real risks and laying their creative souls on the line. The album flows exceptionally well as an album. While some tunes got more radio play, I think virtually all the songs on this one are very close to each other in quality, not "essential" but solid, with great lyrics. For me, this is one of the few Rush albums they did post-Moving Pictures that deserves four stars. I give it 8.2 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 4 PA stars.
 Hemispheres by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.36 | 2070 ratings

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Hemispheres
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Walkscore

3 stars This is one of Rush's "Kimono" albums. Clearly, they were under pressure to come up with something that could meet the expectations set by Farewell to Kings. While "The Trees" and "La Villa Strangiato" are excellent (among Rush's best songs), the rest of the album suffers. As Neil Peart himself said about this album, looking back it was clear they were "reaching". This is most evident in the long epic "Cygnus X Book II Hemispheres". While I usually love long epic compositions, and I LOVED Cygnus X-1 on Farewell to Kings, I think Rush were tired and trying to hard when composing this follow-up. It probably could have been a decent 7-minute tune, but by stretching it out to 18 minutes they felt compelled to come back too often to the "I bring..." theme, which gets tiring after a while and is the least musical theme on the album. This, to me, is a good example of how long does not necessarily equate to musical. (And while "Circumstances" is fine and listenable it is nothing too special). With the test of time mainly only supporting Trees and Villa, which I admit are essential SONGS, I can't call the entire album "essential" or a "masterpiece", or even "excellent". I give this 7.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is short of the threshold needed for 4 stars. So, for the album, 3 PA stars.
 A Farewell To Kings by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.33 | 1921 ratings

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A Farewell To Kings
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Walkscore

4 stars As a Canadian who has been listening to Rush for eons (essentially since I began collecting albums), I will go out (slightly) on a limb here and claim this to be Rush's best album, although by a hair (over Moving Pictures). It contains what I think are three of Rush's best compositions (Farewell to Kings, Xanadu, and Cygnus X-1), as well as one of Rush's best and best known hit singles (Closer to the Heart). Indeed, Xanadu is a classic, and although I think it works even better live (e.g. the version on Exit Stage Left), it fits very well on this album. I also think this is where Neil Peart's lyric writing matured sufficiently that it does not get in the way of the music (many of his lyrics are previous albums gratingly ideological), even to the point that the lyrics on 'Closer to the Heart' can resonate (positively) with anyone. The music is sufficiently diverse to keep the album interesting and flowing. The guitar chords/progression on Cygnus X-1 for me defines the Rush sound perfectly. I also think Cygnus X-1 is Rush's most successful epic. Why not a five-star rating? Well, not all of the songs are 5-star quality (Cinderella Man, Madrigal), and even though I love this album, it is not in the top 50, and when I compare it to other 5-star albums (like Close to the Edge, or Harmonium's albums), well it can't quite make it. I give this 8.8 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is just a bit short of the level needed for 5 stars. So, PA 4 stars.
 A Farewell To Kings by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.33 | 1921 ratings

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A Farewell To Kings
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
Collaborator Eclectic Prog Team

2 stars To put it quite simply, this is a disappointing album, and I think its faults are best summarized with a track by track.

Starting things off, we're greeted to a more serene Rush than we've ever heard before. Classical guitar? Lush synthesizers? What is this blasphemy?!? After about a minute of inconsequential softness, though, the Rush we're more familiar with reenters the picture. A nice hard-hitting riff comes in and sweeps us off our feet. Admittedly, "A Farewell To Kings" is a fine track. It's not the best opener in Rush's catalogue, and even the main body of the song itself shows a marked lack of the exuberance that they so faithfully put into each and every second of their first four albums. Unfortunately, this will serve to be a common motif for the album.

With the opener drawing to a close, it's at this point that I'd like to say something along the lines of "and now here's where the prog awesomeness comes in!", but I really can't. "Xanadu" occupies the remainder of side two, and is the first "epic" of the album. It's really difficult for me to call it that, though, even in quotation marks, because there's really nothing evocative, daring, or thrilling about it. 3 minutes of dated synthesizers open it off, in some futile attempt to create atmosphere, but it does absolutely nothing for me. Fortunately, just as I'm reaching for the skip button, that's when Alex Lifeson saves the day with some more good ol' fashion Rush riff-age. Unfortunately, then, the track never develops past being a collection of riffs, sometimes interspersed with "dramatic" breaks synth effects that wouldn't seem unfit for a 90's new age album, or an Asia b-side. In general, "Xanadu" is simply a flawed track. While there are enjoyable moments, namely when the band actually decides to *rock* a little (Lifeson's solo is quite good, really), the dreadful synth tones, and the start-and-stop tendency make this one really difficult to appreciate as a whole. After sitting through this, I can't help but think "man, this sure makes the last track look good in comparison". And, unfortunately, that sentiment is perhaps the most commonly recurring motif on the whole album.

Side two opens with "Closer To The Heart" and "Cinderella Man", which just let that "man, that sure makes the last track look good in comparison" magic keep on delivering. Forgettable riffs, low energy performances, you name it. These are simply sub-par rock numbers. "Madrigal" just keeps the disappointment and immemorability coming, but it's not until the album's closing "epic" that those sentiments reach an all-time high.

Ah, "Cygnus X-1". No wonder people can't take prog seriously, if this is the kind of stuff that serves as the genre's public face for so many. On the bright side, at least Book I has one redeeming feature in that it isn't quite as bad as Book II (yes, somehow Rush manages to make the "man, this sure makes the last track look good in comparison" motif span multiple albums!). 2 minutes of spacey stock sound effects give way to a mediocre medley of riffs, each one disjointed from the last and never developing into anything substantial. But perhaps the general lack of compositional capability here is at least masked somewhat by the unparalleled cheesiness of the concept. Looking purely at the positives, though, I suppose that I should give this song at least some merit. There aren't many things more hilarious than the mental image of Geddy Lee getting sucked into a black hole.

So there you have it. An album that starts off decent, only to gradually devolve as it runs its course. I feel an insatiable desire to give this flopper a sole, feeble star as fizzled out and lifeless as Cygnus X-1 itself, but I realize that there are a great number of Rush fans who actually enjoy "A Farewell To Kings". So with that in mind, I hesitantly give this 2 stars. If you're already familiar with the majority of the Rush catalogue, and enjoy it a lot, you'll probably enjoy this one, too. But for everyone else, avoid this thing before it tries to suck you in.

 Signals by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.95 | 1161 ratings

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Signals
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by greenflash

4 stars (By Jonathan Moss & Charly Saenz)

Rush have a reputation as a mediocre second generation prog rock band. Their reputation is similar to first gen prog band Emerson, Lake and Palmer, a lot of instrumental talent, but most of it wasted. While I would argue slightly with this appraisal of ELP, it's more or less completely accurate for Rush (or should that be Lifeson, Lee & Peart?). However, for a brief moment, Rush were one of the greatest bands in the world. This kind of started with Permanent Waves, but that was still too proggy and fillerish. Things got considerably better with Moving Pictures, which is a minor classic, featuring, lets get this strait, some gorgeous synth tones. However, it was only with their ninth studio album Signals that they managed completely to remove any prog influence and embrace beautiful art rockish new wave. You can hear this immediately in the guitar solos, which far from sounding generically heavy metal, are restrained and tasteful, and anyone who tells you otherwise is strait up deluded.

I know this is an incredibly uncool thing to say about Rush, but this is such a cool sounding album! Our friend Franco Micale has always argued to me that Rush had a slightly alt-rockish sound, and he's completely correct, especially on this album, with its catchy melodies and arpeggiated guitar riffs. The synth tones are absolutely blissful as well, they have an almost retro vibe to them, like 60s organs. But at the same time they also have a kind of futuristic vibe, retro-futurism if you will. Geddy's bass playing is great as well, fluid and melodic throughout, you can call him a frustrated lead guitarist if you want, but that whole idea is bull[&*!#], and insulting to bass players. His vocals are certainly an acquired taste, he definitely sounds sincere throughout the album and manages to get the messages of Neil's lyrics across with passion. Speaking of Neil, while he is definitely overrated as a drummer, his work on Signals is graceful and accomplished.

There's a bold statement to start the album, a fierce proud synthesizer pattern that becomes a small symphony when Peart starts weaving the rhythm around with the usual perfect bassline by Geddy, and his controlled voice is the human beauty in the technically charged surroundings. "Subdivisions" is a rebellious chant detailing cold society oppression, The Machine.

"Growing up it all seems so one-sided Opinions all provided The future pre-decided Detached and subdivided In the mass production zone Nowhere is the dreamer Or the misfit so alone" "

"The Analog Kid" starts off as a more direct rocker with the superb riff by Lifeson, but it's the otherworldly interaction among the three players here, and those tasty keyboards that send this song directly to heaven. No, this is not Prog Rock. This is plain old Rock with a new sound. It's definitely the most beautiful song on the album, the way Geddy sings "you move me you move me", well, it moves me :P

And, as fellow Rushologist Jonathan Hopkins says: "One time, I got really high and listened to the Analog Kid like 20 times in a row because I didn't realize I wasn't changing songs. It's a great song."

"Chemistry" reminds us how Rush were few of the mainstream acts of their time (Police also comes to mind) to incorporate reggae vibes successfully into their sound. So does "Digital Man" and the fantastic, catchy break:

"He'd love to spend the night in zion He's been a long while in babylon He'd like a lover's wings to fly on To a tropic isle of avalon"

The song contains a wonderfully melodic and playful bassline, and the reggaeish guitar playing gives it an almost urban vibe. The song is downright groovy. The song also has a great chorus, feauturing some juttering, funky synth playing. Oh, and that guitar solo!

"The Weapon" might easily be one of those overlooked gems in the album. The opening synth melody is somewhat Devoish (New Traditionalists Devo), just real sort of warm and deep, with a kind of looping, computerish quality. Sci-fi, if you want us to make it sound lame. I guess, to make it sound cool to the kids, we'll call it proto-synthwave as well. The drone guitar weaves a luxury melody, and by the minute 4, it becomes bigger than life; the keyboards hardly appear as a symbol of modernity. The mid way point of the song, with its soaring guitar, sounds almost ambient. It's got that dark urban city vibe. The finale with the fading guitar is Beatle-level fantasy.

"New World Man" was the single of the album, made at the last minute to complete its tracklist. It's a strait rocker and it appealed to the masses. It opens with a fun goofy sounding synths, followed by some melodic, R.E.Mish guitar work. The chorus is super catchy as well, even if it does stray slightly into proggish pomposity. Still, when Geddy belts out "HE'S A NEW WORLD MAN" I just want to sing along.

The most delicate piece in the album, is without a doubt, "Losing It". The electric violin played by Ben Mink is the best introduction to some refined lyrics using the adequate dancer's metaphor to discuss time passing and crushed illusions:

"Some are born to move the world --- To live their fantasies But most of us just dream about The things we'd like to be"

The synth pattern that opens the song and stays throughout is gentle and lullabyish, and the guitar tone has a mournful melancholic quality. The song does have a slightly arena-rockish sound during parts, but its fine, the cunts pull it off. It still doesn't fail to detract from the gentle quality of the song.

"Countdown" is a fine way to end the album, even if the clips from an actual countdown are cheesy as [%*!#]. It features an ominous synth and guitar line working well together to make the song seem creepy. I guess this is to convey hour nerve racking a NASA launch would be, which, duh. Geddy's vocal melody manages to imbue the song with some sense of calm though, he just sounds so assertive and confident. There's a fun, squiggly little keyboard line later on, and the chorus is tense and memorable.

Signals might be considered a maligned album by many, but it meant a lot to many people, it stands right in the middle of Rush's career between their progressive beginnings, right after their breakthrough album and their newer stuff, who arguably abuses the 80s production a little bit. It's full of hooks, touching and meaningful lyrics.

But here, we're still at the perfect top. Exquisite keyboards, how to sound futuristic without being a cold bitch, and feeling without leaving the rock pulse.

 A Farewell To Kings by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.33 | 1921 ratings

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A Farewell To Kings
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by ProgMirage1974

4 stars REVIEW #9 - "A Farewell to Kings" by Rush (1977)

Coming off of their successful "2112" album, Rush travelled to the UK and began recording a new studio album. With improved recording techniques providing a better sound as opposed to their Canadian-produced albums, it brings a whole new life to the Rush sound. Stronger all around than its predecessor, and much more proggy, this is a legitimately good album. Even the band members have expanded their musical horizons - bassist Geddy Lee plays the prevalent synth on this album, guitarist Alex Lifeson begins to experiment with acoustic guitars and a classical sound, and Neil Peart experiments with instruments such as wind chimes, glockenspiel, and gongs. The result is a very diverse album - with ambient and rocking passages.

The title track (4/5) leads off the album, opening up with an acoustic passage before reaching that trademark heavy Rush sound. A pretty long song with a solid Lifeson solo, it has a good chorus and thoughtful lyrics to make a good opener. The song closes and the next song, the beautiful "Xanadu" (5/5) begins. An eleven minute track, deeply prog, and based upon the Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem "Kubla Khan" it combines Rush's heavy sound with a new ambient touch. With a long five-minute build up before reaching the mesmerizing lyrics - describing Coleridge's dream where he visited the Mongol summer capital of Xanadu, the reference to British literature is awesome, with the band capturing the metaphysical nature of Coleridge's poem. We are graced with an epic guitar solo to end this song, and the first side as a whole. A musical journey, this is one to be listened to, and in my opinion, the BEST Rush song.

The second side starts with one of Rush's most commercially successful songs, "Closer to the Heart" (5/5). A very short song by Rush standards at about three minutes, it was written by a friend of Peart's, being the first Rush song to not be written by a member of the band. With simple lyrics and a very pleasing sound, it is no wonder why this song was so successful. It is also one of the band's tracks which still receives frequent airplay on classic rock radio to this day. The next song is "Cinderella Man" (4/5), written by Lee. Better than Lee's last contribution to an album (the boring "Tears" from 2112), it sounds pretty good, especially for a filler track. We then get a reprieve with the short and soft "Madrigal" (4/5) which has beautiful medieval-style romantic lyrics, although it is a little bit out of place having to separate the previous song with the science fiction epic "Cygnus X-1 Book I: The Voyage" (4/5), which closes out the album. Beginning with a little bit of plot background, we learn that the protagonist is piloting a space ship called the Rocinante (a homage to the novel "Don Quixote") towards a black hole, in hopes of being sucked into a different world. This song ends on a cliffhanger, as the protagonist goes into the black hole in a flurry of destruction captured by the music perfectly. As the album ends, the listener anticipates the sequel, which would be released a year later on their next album "Hemispheres". A unique concept, it is largely build- up, but captures a really surreal and potentially scary ambient sound. When this song hits its heavy musical parts, it rocks very well and should not be discredited.

This album was a great step in the right direction for the band. With less filler material, it is a definite improvement over their previous (yet amazing in its own right) album. With two epics that hold their own weight, there is no bad moment on this album. It lacks many "great" moments, which bars it from reaching the five-star mark, but you will certainly not get bored listening to this piece of prog rock art. The band would go on to release another really proggy album and this album and that successor "Hemispheres" marks Rush's magnum opus as a prog rock band. Although panned by critics, this album is solid and a good listen for any fan of the genre, as it encompasses many different musical styles while retaining that prog intricacy.

OVERALL: 4.4/5 (B+)

 2112 by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.10 | 1824 ratings

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2112
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by ProgMirage1974

3 stars REVIEW #8 - "2112" by Rush (1976)

Facing pressure from their record label to make a more commercially-friendly album, Rush decided to ignore the threats and create another album similar to their panned "Caress of Steel." Drummer Neil Peart, an objectivist and avid reader of Ayn Rand's work at the time, sought inspiration from Rand's novella "Anthem" (for which he dedicated a song back on their second album) to create an epic based upon the archetypical dystopian story. Titled "2112", this album would amazingly bring the band to the mainstream; attaining success against the concrete beliefs that commercially-friendly music is the only path to mainstream success. With a minimalist cover, it also marks the first appearance of the "Starman" logo that would be become a symbol of the band.

The first side is the epic "2112" (5/5), for which the album is named after. A concept, it details the story of an unnamed protagonist who stumbles upon a guitar and realizes the nature of the totalitarian world he lives in. After foolishly trying to present the guitar to the leaders of his society, he is shunned and falls into a state of depression after experiencing a dream of a better world free of bondage. This depression prompts him to commit suicide, ending the story. It is believed that, through the final lines of the song, that the society he dreamed of indeed came back to Earth and freed the people from the totalitarian regime. Coming in at twenty minutes and being the longest song the band would ever record, this is a very good epic, although it does not necessarily feature any outstanding musicianship. The seven parts of the song (including an overture and a finale) range from an acoustic passage to full blown Alex Lifeson guitar solos. It is still a musically diverse song with an interesting story - a story so rooted in objectivism that it drew criticism from media outlets such as NME, who labeled the band as "Nazis", "fascists" and right-wing "extremists." A great epic, and one of the most famous in prog, it is a must-listen.

The rest of the album is a series of shorter tracks. The first is "A Passage to Bangkok" (4/5), a song which is essentially about drug tourism, mentioning Bangkok, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kathmandu, and other popular Asian destinations to get high. A jamming song through and through, with a nice guitar solo and a humorous theme. Next up is "The Twilight Zone" (3/5), a song about the TV series of the same name. All in all a pretty average track, just like the next track "Lessons" (3/5), written by Lifeson. It gets even worse with the soft track "Tears" (2/5) written by bassist Geddy Lee - a boring love song that just seems out of place with all of the other material on the album, which contains philosophical or science fiction subject matter. However, the listener is salvaged by the decent closing track "Something for Nothing" (5/5) - a song deeply rooted in objectivist philosophy, similar to "Anthem" from their second album in its blunt statements. Overall the second side is pretty weak, yet is overshadowed by the monstrous "2112". Outside of the opener and closer here, it is better to just play the first side over and over again.

Now having attained success, Rush would embark on a trip to the United Kingdom to continue their phase as a prog rock band, recording their next two albums in Europe. A seminal album for Rush fans, without its success, the band would have had a much shorter lifespan. A good album, and a solid example of conservative philosophy in music, Rush's music at this point in time was certainly unique. The title track alone is worth purchasing the album, and it is a must-listen for Rush fans and those who prefer heavy prog, as this album certainly crosses the threshold into heavy metal. Although I prefer their next two albums, "2112" will always reserve a spot in my heart for being one of the first prog albums I ever listened to. It is a nostalgic album for me, and I suppose it is for many others here. Unfortunately the awesome "2112" (which still lends this album my recommendation) is saturated by the lackluster content on the second side, and as an album in its entirety, it is sadly adequate.

OVERALL: 3.67/5 (C-)

 Caress Of Steel by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1975
3.53 | 1118 ratings

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Caress Of Steel
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by ProgMirage1974

3 stars REVIEW #6 - "Caress of Steel" by Rush (1975)

The second of two albums released by Rush in 1975, and the one following the moderately successful "Fly by Night", this album represents a major shift towards conventional prog rock by the band. Some prog themes had been given rise thanks to the inclusion of new drummer Neil Peart, but "Caress of Steel" is the album which veers away from the shorter, more commercially-friendly songs the band had put out on their first two albums. A failure, it nearly had the band dropped from their record label, as it sold poorly and its accompanying tour was also a wash. Nevertheless, the album has gained a cult following by many die-hard Rush fans over the years, with some claiming it's their most underrated album. Bassist Geddy Lee has also made known that the band was "pretty high" during the recording of this album - which may explain the crazy concepts and ambitious nature of some of the tracks on this album.

The album starts off with a conventional hard rock song titled "Bastille Day" (4/5), and is about the French Revolution. A rocking song, made better by the wailing voice of Lee, it is a surprisingly good and catchy track with an interesting theme. No problem there, but the following track is a complete 180 degree turn - "I Think I'm Going Bald" (1/5), a song inspired by Canadian Kim Mitchell and the KISS song "Goin' Blind", it is uninteresting and the humor does not appeal to me. This track certainly would have been a better fit for a B- side than on an actual studio album. One of the worst Rush songs in my opinion, this is just one I have to look over, for I know this band is better than what this song conveys. The last "short" track on the album is "Lakeside Park" (3/5), an early favorite at Rush concerts. About the nightlife of a 1970's Ontario town, it is a very soothing and comfortable song that provokes the nostalgia of careless teenage life. The lone single off the album, and not looked upon favorably by Lee, it is a good track, and that's about it. What comes next is the first ever prog epic by the band, "The Necromancer" (5/5), coming in at over twelve minutes. With fantasy themes inspired by Tolkien, it is split into three parts - a build-up, a very heavy middle part, and an acoustic closer. There are many bright spots on this song, ranging from the inclusion of narrations by Peart between the three parts and the jamming of guitarist Alex Lifeson, to the inclusion of the third part "Return of the Prince"; the prince being By-Tor from the previous album who now as a hero, slays the evil antagonist of the story. All in all, a very solid song and worthy of playing over and over again.

The epic "Fountain of Lamneth" (5/5) occupies the entire second side. The longest song on the album at one second shy of twenty minutes, it is based upon the journey from birth to death, or rather an allegory. The protagonist is searching for the fountain, which can be an analogy for the mythical fountain of youth. Detailing birth, adolescence, love, heartbreak, aging, and death in six parts, this song is certainly ambitious. A rather pretentious song at times, it is very well thought out and has very good passages, ranging from soft acoustic parts to jamming guitar passages and even a drum solo by Peart. The beginning and ending parts are also book-ended to possibly symbolize the endless circle of life or the return to nothingness at death. An interesting concept, and a definite thumper, this track is indeed an underrated masterpiece - overlooked and now serves as the first true epic the band would create.

"Caress of Steel" was not well received by their label, Mercury. Demanding that the band create a more commercially friendly album, they threatened the band with dropping them - into sheer irrelevancy. However, the band decided to ignore the label's demands, and went to creating a similarly ambitious album with another twenty-minute piece, and no truly radio-friendly songs. Thankfully, that album was "2112", and it propelled the band to stardom. A great story of perseverance, and a lesson to everyone of being resilient and never giving up, without the band's stubbornness, we would see Rush as another obscure prog rock band, sucked up by the sands of time. I can see how fans love this album - it has pretty good examples of prog, and the epics are pretty strong, but this album simply is hampered by the awful second track. A great listen for hardcore Rush fans and those who want to delve further into the seemingly endless abyss of 1970's prog.

OVERALL: 3.6/5 (C-)

 Hemispheres by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.36 | 2070 ratings

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Hemispheres
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by ProgMirage1974

5 stars REVIEW #3 - "Hemispheres" by Rush (1978)

Still in the United Kingdom after recording their follow-up album to their successful 1976 album "2112", Rush continued on the path of conventional prog rock necessities - long songs with thought-provoking lyrics, interesting stories, and instrumental virtuosity. Their 1978 album "Hemispheres" would be the magnum opus of the band's prog rock phase, topping the solid "A Farewell to Kings" and being the most ambitious album by the band ever. With four songs, it features a continuation of the band's previous closing song (Cygnus X-1) and three very solid tracks on the flip side. This album very well shows how Rush is pretty good at making music - each member is phenomenal on the album with their respective parts - from bassist Geddy Lee to the ubiquitiously acclaimed Neil Peart on drums.

The entire first side is occupied by the second part of the Cygnus X-1 suite, continued from the band's previous album. "Hemispheres" (4/5) is quite possibly the most ambitious song the band had created to that point; an eighteen-minute, five part epic with themes rooted in Greek mythology, science fiction, the supernatural, and human nature. A more musically pleasing song piece than the first part of the suite, we learn what happens to the protagonist and how he, with the guidance of Greek gods Apollo and Dionysus, saves Earth. The concept of introversion and extroversion also emerges, with the former representing the left hemisphere of the brain and the latter the right. A fine sounding song, my gripe with it is its musical redundancy through the first three parts - it sounds the same and goes on for quite a while. The fourth part brings us back to the action, as the first three provide background on the new characters and the situation back on Earth (keep in mind the protagonist is in deep space). The underrated masterpiece of this album lies on the fifth (and final) part of this track - an acoustic, light piece titled "The Sphere (A Kind of Dream)" that is essentially a plea to peace and harmony in the world. All in all this is one of the better Rush songs, but is hampered by a convoluted story that is hard to digest for new and/or less intellectual listeners. The band itself has also admitted that the room for creativity at this point had been zapped, as the band felt pressured to make a solid sequel to the first part.

Three more songs occupy the second side. The first two are shorter pieces in relation to the two giants on the album - "Circumstances" (4/5), a track about Peart's life away from his Canadian hometown in England and his journey to find himself (similar to their 1975 hit "Fly by Night"). A comfortable song, it is not an astounding masterpiece, but rather a fine track that cannot be summed up as filler content. The other short track is "The Trees" (5/5), considered by some Rush fans as one of their best songs. Based upon a children's story that is an allegory to class warfare, it pits two species of trees as they fight over sunlight, with the smaller trees crying "oppression" in the words of the proletariat to the bourgeoisie. An odd choice for a theme, especially as the band was considered to be heavily libertarian (as evidenced by the songs "Anthem", "2112", and so forth), but Peart denies having any ideological consensus with the story's message. Also notable on this song is the calming acoustic intro by guitarist Alex Lifeson - which would later be expanded into its own song titled "Broon's Bane". Overall, a brilliant song and one of their best as well. Finally, the album is ended by a very ambitious instrumental track titled "La Villa Strangiato (An Exercise in Self-Indulgence)" (5/5) which would test the musical virtuosity of all three band members. With twelve parts in total inspired by a dream of Lifeson's, it is truly a masterpiece of the genre, with ruthless drumming by Peart, establishing himself as one of rock's best, and intricate bass and guitar work by both Lee and Lifeson. This song alone took more time to record than the band's whole 1975 "Fly by Night" album, and is a fan favorite, despite being pretty much retired due to the band's lack of stamina as they grow older.

"Hemispheres" would be the last strictly prog rock album the band would make. Its intricacy and pretentious nature ultimately drove the band in a more commercial direction - one which would eventually yield them mainstream success with a more new wave sound. This song would also feature their last song to date above twelve minutes, and the last to feature the glockenspiel, wind chimes, and gong that Peart used so well for ambience on this album, as well as "A Farewell to Kings." It's my personal favorite Rush album due to its well-structured, unique songs, and it deserves great honor. I enjoyed this album so much I eventually purchased a limited release Canadian red vinyl of the album - which sits at the pinnacle of my LP collection to this day. It isn't perfect, but it is pretty well near there, and deserves a "rare" five-star rating. A great album for prog fanatics and those who want to get into the world of prog from heavier rock and metal.

OVERALL: 4.5/5 (A-)

 Signals by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.95 | 1161 ratings

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Signals
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by aglasshouse

5 stars It's obvious that Rush's zenith was none other than the 1980's, a time considered emphatically by most to be the worst ten years for progressive rock (and admittedly there is some truth to the hyperbole). What gave Rush the edge over the rest of those who hit a low point in the 80's was their ability to be simplistic yet deeply complex seemingly at the same time. A record that exemplifies this well is none other than '81's Moving Pictures. It was a refreshing glimpse into the hard rock scene, and was what I like to call the second coming of Rush, where the legendary trio was once again able to meld the entire rock scene with pure power. Now I am a fan of Moving Pictures but I actually have somewhat of an unpopular opinion, because I believe that their following year follow- up, Signals, is in fact an even better record than it's predecessor.

Signals is very similar to Moving Pictures in many ways. For one, Lifeson sounds nigh identical to how he did on the latter, with the same echoey twang that's become signature for Rush. But what I thing Signals did so much better was the balancing of the instruments. I will admit sadly that the bass guitar, an obviously necessary instruments gets buried in progressive rock, and a lot of that comes from how many filters and sounds are layered over it. Signals is one of the few records where I can honestly say that Geddy Lee presents his full blown talent to us on the bass without fail, while still keeping Lifeson's guitar at the helm. Peart is somewhat receded in his playing which to a drummer like myself sort of does get under my skin because I know that his simplistic drumming on Signals is a bit of a facade, though he still does still have some great rolls even with his constraints.

Most of the songs are either fast-paced swinging rockers or slow, intricate jams. 'The Weapon' showcases one of the catchiest beats by Peart I think I've heard by far, and some of those pseudo-poetic lyrics that I know the band loves dearly (as do I). The two man-centric songs, 'Digital Man' and 'New World Man' are quite different, the former being practically a cheesy b-side from a Moving Pictures track (not a bad thing), and the latter being slow methodical tune that talks about the development of technology and the wonders of one certain man who has harnessed it to his own will. 'Countdown' I love so much but it infuriates me in equal measure. This particular track irks me because of it's potential to become an epic (one that could maybe even be a 20-minute long spectacle). It has so many different coinciding musical themes to it that bounce off each-other, and practically are an introduction to a suite where these different themes will be displayed in their own unique and powerful movements...but alas nothing of the sorts happens. The only song I dislike in any way is 'Losing It', which granted starts out with a particularly creative intro Kraftwerk- like techno tune, but shifts into a particularly annoying ballad halfway-through. Unfortunate because I found the first third and the last third to be dreadfully catchy and particularly good background music. Not exactly 'bad' but definitely not a high point of an otherwise great album.

If you show someone who you know who by some mystifying means doesn't know Moving Pictures, and afterwards inquires for more of it, give them Signals. Depending on how well-versed they are with Rush or at least Rush's sound, they may like it the same, or in my case more than other 80's Rush works. Two thumbs way up.

4.5 rounded to a 5.

Thanks to Tony R for the artist addition.

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