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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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R40 Live [3 CD/Blu-ray Combo]R40 Live [3 CD/Blu-ray Combo]
Rounder 2015
Audio CD$21.60
$15.88 (used)
2112 [Remastered]2112 [Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.11
$1.10 (used)
The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987The Spirit Of Radio: Greatest Hits 1974-1987
Remastered
Mercury 2003
Audio CD$3.58
$1.15 (used)
Moving Pictures [Remastered]Moving Pictures [Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$3.33
$2.50 (used)
Caress Of Steel [Remastered]Caress Of Steel [Remastered]
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$3.27
$0.24 (used)
Permanent Waves (Remastered)Permanent Waves (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.83
$0.70 (used)
A Farewell to KingsA Farewell to Kings
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.76
$1.10 (used)
Fly By Night (Remastered)Fly By Night (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
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$0.73 (used)
Hemispheres (Remastered)Hemispheres (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.76
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Power Windows (Remastered)Power Windows (Remastered)
Remastered
Mercury 1997
Audio CD$2.75
$0.01 (used)
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RUSH shows & tickets


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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)

2.90 | 879 ratings
Rush
1974
3.33 | 972 ratings
Fly By Night
1975
3.53 | 1048 ratings
Caress of Steel
1975
4.10 | 1696 ratings
2112
1976
4.35 | 1782 ratings
A Farewell To Kings
1977
4.37 | 1909 ratings
Hemispheres
1978
4.29 | 1654 ratings
Permanent Waves
1980
4.40 | 2267 ratings
Moving Pictures
1981
3.95 | 1077 ratings
Signals
1982
3.69 | 941 ratings
Grace Under Pressure
1984
3.53 | 821 ratings
Power Windows
1985
3.27 | 752 ratings
Hold Your Fire
1987
3.15 | 692 ratings
Presto
1989
3.08 | 709 ratings
Roll The Bones
1991
3.76 | 768 ratings
Counterparts
1993
2.85 | 692 ratings
Test For Echo
1996
3.43 | 718 ratings
Vapor Trails
2002
3.58 | 810 ratings
Snakes & Arrows
2007
3.95 | 877 ratings
Clockwork Angels
2012

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

3.85 | 368 ratings
All The World's A Stage
1976
4.04 | 472 ratings
Exit... Stage Left
1981
3.48 | 342 ratings
A Show Of Hands
1989
4.37 | 331 ratings
Different Stages - Live
1998
3.79 | 298 ratings
Rush - In Rio
2003
4.21 | 156 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
3.58 | 195 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
3.95 | 145 ratings
Grace Under Pressure 1984 Tour
2009
3.54 | 51 ratings
ABC 1974
2011
3.33 | 129 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.29 | 48 ratings
Moving Pictures: Live 2011
2011
3.95 | 61 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013
3.67 | 3 ratings
Kiel Auditorium, St Louis, MI, February 14 1980
2015

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

3.95 | 114 ratings
Exit... Stage Left (VHS)
1981
3.33 | 34 ratings
Through The Camera Eye
1984
3.98 | 94 ratings
Grace Under Pressure Tour (DVD)
1985
3.99 | 93 ratings
A Show of Hands
1989
2.95 | 70 ratings
Chronicles
1990
4.34 | 237 ratings
Rush in Rio
2003
4.41 | 233 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
4.04 | 120 ratings
Replay x 3
2006
4.12 | 132 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
2.74 | 38 ratings
Working Men
2009
4.66 | 247 ratings
Beyond the Lighted Stage
2010
4.12 | 63 ratings
Classic Albums: 2112 - Moving Pictures
2010
3.87 | 87 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.81 | 41 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013
4.17 | 11 ratings
R40 Live
2015

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

3.41 | 53 ratings
Archives
1978
2.72 | 24 ratings
Through Time
1978
3.58 | 93 ratings
Chronicles
1991
3.29 | 63 ratings
Retrospective I (1974-1980)
1997
3.17 | 61 ratings
Retrospective II (1981-1987)
1997
3.11 | 73 ratings
The Spirit Of Radio (Greatest Hits 1974-1987)
2003
3.09 | 49 ratings
Gold
2006
2.85 | 46 ratings
Retrospective III 1989 - 2008
2009
2.75 | 39 ratings
Working Men
2009
1.83 | 26 ratings
Time Stand Still: The Collection
2010
2.34 | 26 ratings
Icon
2010
4.19 | 31 ratings
Sector 1
2011
4.57 | 34 ratings
Sector 2
2011
4.62 | 35 ratings
Sector 3
2011
3.50 | 4 ratings
Icon 2
2011
4.08 | 17 ratings
The Studio Albums 1989-2007
2013

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

2.00 | 35 ratings
Not Fade Away
1973
2.75 | 23 ratings
Finding My Way
1974
2.00 | 4 ratings
In The Mood
1974
3.03 | 26 ratings
Fly by Night
1975
3.02 | 25 ratings
The Twilight Zone
1976
3.52 | 33 ratings
2112: Overture/The Temples of Syrinx
1976
3.63 | 34 ratings
Closer to The Heart
1977
2.26 | 18 ratings
Everything Your Listeners Wanted To Hear By Rush... But Were Afraid To Play
1977
3.29 | 9 ratings
The Trees
1978
4.08 | 44 ratings
The Spirit of Radio
1980
2.75 | 39 ratings
Entre Nous
1980
3.92 | 49 ratings
Tom Sawyer
1981
3.86 | 7 ratings
Tom Sawyer / A Passage To Bangkok / Red Barchetta
1981
3.40 | 5 ratings
Vital Signs / Passage To Bangkok / Circumstances / In The Mood
1981
4.04 | 5 ratings
Subdivisions
1982
3.67 | 3 ratings
Countdown
1982
3.11 | 35 ratings
New World Man
1982
3.33 | 3 ratings
The Body Electric
1984
3.54 | 33 ratings
Distant Early Warning
1984
3.03 | 33 ratings
The Big Money
1986
3.50 | 2 ratings
The Pass
1989
2.71 | 15 ratings
Ghost of a chance
1992
1.86 | 18 ratings
The Story Of Kings
1992
2.95 | 21 ratings
Stick It Out
1993
3.35 | 24 ratings
One Little Victory
2002
2.82 | 183 ratings
Feedback
2004
3.47 | 36 ratings
Far Cry
2007
4.10 | 124 ratings
Caravan / BU2B
2010
3.58 | 72 ratings
Headlong Flight
2012
3.00 | 2 ratings
7 and 7 is
2014
0.00 | 0 ratings
Roll The Bones
2015

RUSH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 R40 Live by RUSH album cover DVD/Video, 2015
4.17 | 11 ratings

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R40 Live
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by rdtprog
Special Collaborator Heavy Prog Team

4 stars For the celebration of the 40 and plus years of existence of the band, they went on tour in North America. This show was filmed in Toronto, their hometown. The band wanted to make things as usual, different with new visuals. The concept was to get back in time with the technology at first, the presence of the amplifier on stage, to the beginning of the band when they remove those amplifiers to see the band play with a curtain and no light show. Also the use of the screen to illustrate some animated videos on many songs was restricted to the minimum.

The show start with the strait forward hard rock number "The Anarchist" who his a favorite for the Rush fans. This is followed by 2 songs from their last two albums. Then for the first time, "How it Is" is played live, which seems to me like a odd choice considering that "Vapor Trails" contains more interesting songs. But playing "Losing it" for the first time with the original violin player Ben Mink was special, the song is the highlight of this rather disappointing first set list. The second set begin with 3 more favorite tracks before getting to the more progressive and longer tracks. "Natural Science" and for the first time in more than 30 years, "Jacob's Ladder" is played with all the laser effect needed to fit with this atmospheric song. Then the band did medleys of the Cygnus X suite before getting to "Xanadu". The encore brings back another rare song : "Lakeside Park".

The camera work and editing are very pleasant with long shots of each members and there's some nice balance between distant and close camera shots. David Bottrill did a good job compare to the Clockwork Angels DVD with more bass sound and this time Neal's drums are heard a lot more. There's 3 bonus song on the Blu-Ray and 6 on the CD. It's a bit of a of a let down that those 3 extra songs were not available for us to see. Grab this one, could be the last tour for the band and last live recording.

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 Exit... Stage Left by RUSH album cover Live, 1981
4.04 | 472 ratings

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Exit... Stage Left
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by jude111

5 stars My first ever concert was seeing Rush during the Moving Pictures tour, so of course when this album came out soon after in 1981, I picked it up immediately. At the time, I was only slightly disappointed, both due to the sound (a bit muddy - spring for the remastered version if you can), and for an incomplete tracklist. For example, at the concert I went to, they opened with an exciting version of Overture/Temples of Syrinx - a much better version than what's on the earlier, rawer live album All the World's a Stage. They also played Working Man and Fly by Night. I know those appear also on the previous live album, but still... I also wish Limelight would've been included, which was a highlight at the show and a big song on the radio at the time. Finally, the concert ended with the 2112 finale ("We have assumed control, we have assumed control..."). I might be wrong, but I seem to remember Rush introducing a new song - Subdivisions. (I'm not 100% positive about this; maybe my memory has gone a bit soft.) Someday I hope that Rush will release an expanded version of Exit Stage Left, with all those tracks included. As for the album as it is now, I admit it has sentimental value for me, but I also love these versions of Rush's classics.

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 Signals by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.95 | 1077 ratings

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Signals
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Mr. Gone

4 stars Maybe this shouldn't be my first Rush review. But I know this album quite well and enough of the history of the band to understand its somewhat divisive position. So here goes...

I like synthesizers. A lot. Polyphonic synths are a very important part of progressive rock for me. Not everything I own has them, but a lot does. And I came into the "Rush" game late (the live version of "Marathon" from A Show of Hands was the first exposure I had to them), so I had fewer preconceptions coming in than someone would have who cut their teeth on Hemispheres. So, for me, the synths themselves are not a problem. And I find that most of the material here ranges from "very good" to "excellent" from a songwriting standpoint.

All that having been said - the sound of this album is "off" for me. It's murky, muddy, fuzzy...something like that (one description I read said it sounded like you were listening to it underwater). One observation I've heard which makes sense is that they hadn't yet learned to play the synths and guitars in separate octaves, resulting in sounds on here that were "wallish" (is that a word?) but in a gloopy, sludgy morass. In smaller doses it wouldn't have done quite so much to affect my opinion - but the synths are all over the place and the amorphous battle between them and the guitars can get a bit overwhelming sometimes (contrast Grace Under Pressure, which arguably has more and busier synths, but sounds a lot cleaner to my ears).

However, the material here (with the exception of "The Weapon", a song I simply can't get into) is strong enough to overcome that by-in-large. I particularly love the reggae section of "Digital Man", where Neil Peart's drumming really shines (love the off-transition cymbal hits especially). "Analog Kid" features some of Alex Lifeson's best shredding on the solo. "Losing It' features a great violin solo from Ben Mink. And I may be the exception here, but I love "Countdown". It feels like a sunny spring morning watching the apex of technology at work in front of you - before I grew up and life lost its optimism as loss and hard experiences ravaged my idyllic existence.

So, I have to give this four stars (3.75, really). It would be a more solid four if it sounded better. Not sure what could be done to change that now, but it's still a totally worthwhile way to spend three quarters of an hour.

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 A Farewell To Kings by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.35 | 1782 ratings

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A Farewell To Kings
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Progkid

5 stars Rush followed the success of 2112 with A Farewell To Kings in 1977, and man this is one heck of a album, all three musicians are in fine form and it features some of Rush's Signature tracks. Geddy Lee plays awesome bass lines and his vocals are best in this album, Neil Peart or 'the professor' is brilliant as usual with deep philosophical lyrics and brilliant drum playing, with Alex playing some great guitar throughout the album

1. A Farewell To Kings- The intro by Alex is sure to get you hooked , I don't understand why is he so less known. Anyways, After some great guitar playing, Geddy follows with his unique and best vocals screaming and shouting, and then showcases his bass plating talent, this song is about common people were oppressed by kings and knights, and were helpless and showed no resistance, now the place is taken up by politicians but the pain remains the same. A perfect Start 10/10

2. Xanadu- I'll like to point out one thing in here, ALEX IS SO SOOOO TALENTED!!, I bet after hearing those mythical lyrics, and guitar playing along with other great song moments, you'll be forced to search for the Lost Xanudu, I love that part around 5:40 , that when the songs kicks in for me, one of the best rush moments, 10/10

3. Closer To The Heart- At around 3:00. in length and one of Rush's shortest its one of their best, what to say about this song, you gotta feel it by yourself, the lyrics show how everything can be accomplished if we work together and not be power hungry, 10/10

4. Often overlooked for its simplicity, its one of my fav lyrics ever, so I'll discuss it in detail, cause its my life story "A modest man from Mandrake, Traveled rich to the city He had a need to discover A use for his newly-found wealth

Because he was human Because he had goodness Because he was moral They called him insane"

How people like us, innocent, always helping, thinking good, trying to change the world are labelled as ' complex and insane', only because we are good and have moral values? I read somewhere Neil faced similar experience in school

"Delusions of grandeur Visions of splendor A manic-depressive He walks in the rain

Eyes wide open Heart undefended Innocence untarnished

Cinderella Man Doing what you can They can't understand What it means

Cinderella Man Hang on to your plans Try as they might They cannot steal your dreams"

Obviously that leads to depression, heart undefended might mean if someone close to you said all those? it hurts 1000 times more cause you wouldn't care if he was a stranger, Cinderella Man? the title suggest of being in love with someone, being nice, doing everything you could, only to be questioned. But one should not give up and continue with what he's doing, cause whatever may happen they can't take away your dreams

"In the betrayal of his love he awakened To face a world of cold reality And a look in the eyes of the hungry Awakened him to what he could do

He held up his riches To challenge the hungry Purposeful motion For one so insane

They tried to fight him Just couldn't beat him This manic-depressive Who walks in the rain"

How once you are betrayed like that, you only come back more strong, there is someone sarcasm at the person who betrayed him too ' a purposeful motion for one so insane' the last 4 lines? how you can't beat a damaged man because he knows he can live his life, once a person decides something nothing can go wrong

I find it strange that it is overlooked for simplicity, this song signifies that there's simplicity in all and one shouldn't be labeled as an outcast complex just goes he does thing , people don't understand overall 10/10

Madrigal: The simple acoustic piece, serves great for me after the dark Cinderella man, Love the way, you can forget all the pain around you, well said 8.5/10

6.Cygnus X-1 Book one the voyage: Great track, funny to end a philosophical album with a science fiction track, but who's complaining when its so well done, Great bass playing, lovely intro(scary tho) and you keep asking yourself what happens to the ship while it is sucked by the black hole, great way to end the album, I won't say much, there are some qualities review about this song in here, but why not forget it And feel it by yourself.

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 Test For Echo by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1996
2.85 | 692 ratings

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Test For Echo
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Test for Echo marks Rush's last album before the tragedy that had befallen Neil Peart in which his daughter and wife died in a car accident, and at the same time, the album marks the effective end of Rush's era of more straightforward rock music. This specific sound initially emerged when Presto was released, using more traditional rock style to counter their previous synth-based pop elements with albums like Hold Your Fire. But I've gotta say, despite trying to get back to basics, these guys have made some pretty odd decisions in their 90s work. For instance, who honestly expected the rapping in the bridge of "Roll the Bones?" Or how about those funk guitar sections in the instrumental "Where's My Thing?" Well, Test for Echo also sees Rush test the waters of a few new sounds, but also scales things back to a surprising degree.

When you get down to it, this is probably the most conventional album the band have ever crafted. Sure, it certainly has its progressive moments (what Rush album doesn't), but much more emphasis is placed on both accessibility and atmosphere this time around. What definitely adds to its appeal, however, is the balance of moods and sounds displayed. Turn on the album and you're greeted first by the melancholic and textured title track. Take another stab at the record and you find the more upbeat and commercial rock number "Half the World." But as usual, the best songs here are the ones that go for straight-up complexity and focus on the band's instrumental interplay. "Time and Motion" is easily the standout track on Test for Echo as it combines some of Alex Lifeson's heaviest guitar work with Rush's typically unusual time signatures and an almost orchestral and cinematic vibe with the synthesizers. The lyrics, keeping in with this era of Rush's career, often focus on real-world scenarios and concepts; "Virtuality," for instance, addresses how relationships and overall communication are affected by the Internet, while "Driven" is what I can assume is about being in control of your own life during its ups and downs (similar to Incubus' "Drive"). Once again, Peart's lyricism is of a very high quality and still proves that he is just as good at depicting realistic subjects as he was with his more fantasy-based material of the 70s.

Unfortunately, the homogeneity of the album is the price one has to pay for these perks. There are some more experimental tunes on the record, but the overall bland sound of the whole thing makes the experience quite tiring after a while. Geddy Lee's voice doesn't really do much to shake things up either, being unusually one-note compared to his normal style. And therein lies the big problem with Test for Echo: no matter how much seasoning there is on an album, it doesn't do much to help when the core of the record is so uninteresting. Samey mid-tempo numbers like "The Color of Right," "Resist," and multiple other songs lead me to believe that perhaps the band members' hearts weren't fully into it this time. As for the more unusual tunes, "Dog Years" is probably the most notable for being so... odd. Between the punk-esque opening riff and the weird lyrics that relate to the title, I'm not exactly sure what to think of the song. At the very least, though, it helps break up some of the monotony.

Test for Echo is a bit of an oddity in Rush's discography. It's certainly not a bad record, but suffers from a serious lack of standout moments... not even standout tracks, just standout moments. If there were a few more songs like "Time and Motion" or "Driven," then this could have turned out to be one of Rush's finest records. But as it stands Test for Echo is just barely above average and can safely be considered the worst album the band have released. Luckily, 2002's Vapor Trails would see this legendary act reborn with a fresh new style and attitude, so things only went up from here.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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 Hemispheres by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.37 | 1909 ratings

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Hemispheres
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Necrotica
Prog Reviewer

5 stars No matter what you think of Rush, I think anyone can agree that they rarely rest on their laurels. Even later on in their career, the band would always experiment with sounds of the decade while sticking to own their guns in the process. The 70s and early 80s held the best examples of this, with the trio constantly expanding upon their concepts and style with each record. Their debut and a large chunk of Fly by Night were rooted in bluesy (sometimes folky) hard rock in the vein of Led Zeppelin, but they soon realized that evolution would be important to their work. If someone ever needed the best proof that Rush's progressive experimentation was the best thing that happened to them (along with Neil Peart, of course), I'd tell him or her to look no further than their 1978 effort Hemispheres.

With its four songs and 36-minute running time, Hemispheres is more abstract and less accessible than its predecessors; however, it also ends up being the band's most concise. We've got an 18-minute epic, a long-winded instrumental closer, and two shorter hard rock songs sandwiched in between. As with 2112's title epic, the opening epic on Hemispheres makes up the entire first side of the record. The storytelling and overall lyricism, also like 2112, are once again a big part of this song, as I'll talk about in a minute. As for individual performances, the trio absolutely astounds. One quality of Neil Peart's drumming here that really sticks out is the fact that he seems to put the overall band first. What I mean by this is that he only gets flashy when the situation calls for him to do so; he anchors the other musicians very nicely while bringing his own style to the table as well. Geddy's voice is as high-pitched as ever, but the bass playing is phenomenal at the same time. Alex Lifeson is more experimental with his guitar effects this time around, utilizing a wide range of tones and sounds to suit any given situation. His emotive and technical solos on "La Villa Strangiato" and "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres" are standout moments on this album as well.

When the title track bursts right out of the gate, you can feel the band's confidence shining through 100%. The band aren't going to take any prisoners on this effort, and it shows as the instrumental overture goes on. Similar to "2112," you'll hear many of the song's future themes on this overture as it displays all of the band's frequent time signature changes and unorthodox compositions. As you could imagine by the "Book II" in the title, there's also a story to this epic. Following the events of "Cyngus X-1 Book I" in which the protagonist was sucked into a black hole during his voyage, the explorer enters a new world where he's eventually destined to be the God of Balance. In a world filled with multiple extremes and fluctuations between love and hatred, the explorer decides to be the balance that anchors everything into place and is named Cygnus. The story is epic and moody, and the instrumental work always gets switched up to suit the mood. For instance, the Apollo segment contains contemplative guitar work and a sense of instrumental control to display the theme of wisdom that's supposed to be represented there. While the technically remains present, it sounds more reserved at the same time. Then there's the Armageddon segment in which the music is much more distorted and loud to represent conflict and chaos. The rhythm Neil goes for is a bizarre sort of swing beat, but it surprisingly works with the music. The last few sections depict how the explorer eventually becomes Cygnus (after it's debated by the other Gods) and the Sphere segment tightly wraps things up with a calm acoustic finale. It brings a sense of closure to one of progressive rock's best epics; frankly, I can't recommend this song enough overall. It's simply a masterpiece in every sense of the word.

The other songs are great too. "Circumstances" is the most accessible song on here, a straightforward hard rock song with Geddy Lee's high-pitched screaming leading the chorus. There are still plenty of technical moments here as well, like with the calm instrumental break before the finale or the chorus itself. Either way, everything sounds tight and in place. "The Trees" is a bit more interesting, talking about prejudice but with... well, trees. Sort of a weird scenario, isn't it? Well anyway, it starts with 3/4-time acoustic guitar segment before launching into a clash of instruments before the verse comes about. The instrumental break in the middle is pretty interesting too, preferring to build itself up instead of making things too obvious. You get many little nuances here, such as Neil Peart's woodblock or the underlying synthesizers. Finally, we get to the other highlight of the album: the instrumental "La Villa Strangiato." Holy hell, this song is absolutely insane; first of all, what other song would start with a shredding intro on a classical guitar? Anyway, this is another song that builds things up, eventually leading to one of Alex Lifeson's most emotive and refreshingly spacious guitar solos. After that, the craziness begins; a rolling drum beat is supported by a hard rock riff and rhythm changes start to get constant. The "rolling riff" is a recurring theme but usually appearing in different forms, such as a bluesy swinging section that reminds me of "Lovin,' Touchin,' Squeezin'" by Journey. This song is pretty much a perfect combination of compositional variety, exceptional instrumental prowess, and a cohesion matched by very few progressive rock/metal bands even today.

So what do I think overall? Get this. I don't care how you get it, just do. It's one of the best progressive rock albums of all time, if not one of the best rock albums in general; this record represents what music is all about, and only in 36 minutes. Very impressive.

(Originally published on Sputnikmusic)

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 Clockwork Angels by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.95 | 877 ratings

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Clockwork Angels
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rush is my favorite band. They will probably always be my favorite band. Every one of their albums is great for different reasons, even the ones I've given low stars to on ProgArchives. I'm a Rush fanboy. That being said, Clockwork Angels is a great heavy prog album that will crush you with monstrous compositions and impeccable playing - but you may walk away from this album remembering only that it was big and loud.

From a songwriting perspective, Clockwork Angels is an interesting entry for the group. Claiming that this is a "prog" Rush album seems a silly debate to me, because Rush has never sat comfortably within a genre; they change a little bit with every album. While the feel of Clockwork Angels is big and heavy and sweeping, it's not epic prog music to sit side-by-side with Hemispheres. There are loose connections to the steam-punk story (which I'm not a fan of) throughout, but it's clutching at straws to say that this is a concept album. Clockwork Angels is a collection of songs that are a bit more grandiose than the band's recent offerings. Overall they're good, a few are great, but none are amazing. None of them struck me like the achingly poignant songs on Vapor Trails, or the beautifully cynical and secular songs from Snakes and Arrows. There are few songs here that would make it to my list of essential Rush songs.

As a whole the band's playing is ultra-tight, creating a huge sound that is more aggressive and bottom heavy than any of their previous albums. Geddy's bass is very strong and takes the forefront for most of the dramatic moments. He kicks out some monstrous chugga-chugga riffs which demand attention. Alex's guitar is mostly there for texture; there are disappointingly few guitar solos and those there are do not demonstrate his virtuosity. In fact, I'd say that much of his playing comes across as sounding atmospheric. This is a shame, because it makes me feel like the band is missing one of its key voices; this could be an understudy standing in for him. Peart's drumming is characteristically excellent; in fact, it feels exceptionally energized and intense throughout the album.

So Clockwork Angels hit me as a mixed offering from my favorite band. I loved how savage Geddy's bass playing is, and the instrumental highlights throughout. Everything on this album is good; there really isn't much to complain about, but then again, there isn't much for me to rave about, either. Clockwork Angels is a unique album in the Rush library, and a worthy purchase for anyone that's a fan of the band, especially if you enjoyed Vapor Trails or Counterparts, which is a close approximation of this album's sound. Is it a return to their proggish roots? No. Is it a powerful collection of songs akin to their core '80's releases? No. It's not quite either of those things, and it's not quite as good either.

Songwriting: 4 - Instrumental Performances: 4 - Lyrics/Vocals: 3 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 3

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 2112 by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.10 | 1696 ratings

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2112
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by A_Flower

5 stars So, according to most critical aclaim, this is when Rush has a breakpoint. In my opinion, this is the start of there prime era. It was when they got a good grip on prog, however Caress of Steel is still a pleasent album. Alex, Geddy, and Neil bring us 2112, with a 20 minute title track telling the story of a dystopian future where some man rediscovers music but is denied to make it. The album is very good, however, not in a way of instermentation, but in concept, which of course is an important factor in prog.

So we start with the one song A-Side, "2112." This begins with futuristic sounds ahead of there time! A very good intro. Then we get a few licks from Alex, they eventually start to repeat and echo-soon it changes-and then a riff-add acoustic-add Geddy-add power! This is the amazing overture taking us into the year 2112. This entire overture is basically a...well overture, playing some music we will soon be hearing again through the song. The overture ends with an explosion and Geddy sings "...And the meek shall inherit the Earth." Immediately, there is a riff for "The Temple of Syrinx." This part is describing the rulers if the dystopia. The song is very good and is played a lot live with the overture. Anyway, the next part gives us a sound of a river and a gutiar. The part is when music is rediscovered by our protagonist. "Discovery." So, you can hear him teach himself guitar. However, he must be a genius because he taught himself to play very well within three minutes. I mean, he probably doesn't even know what a scale is and all and...oh forget it. So he teaches himself gutiar, and goes to the Preists to show them in one of my favorite sections, "Presentation." What's awesome is how Geddy basically makes the two characters, like, "Listen to my music." "YES WE KNOW." I was very happy seeing that in the set list for R40, they will be including this part with 2112. This part is concluded with some heavy double guitar soloing. Things start calm in "Oracle: The Dream." It's calm at first, and grows in a strange way when it gets heavier-a very cool section for sure. I guess he has a dream about how the Priests gained power and it wasn't always like this. Our river sound is back in "Solioquy." Like the last part, it starts calm and acoustic. Then the riff comes in, one of the best ones. It's very underrated. Ten comes "Grand Final." A few riffs are played, and some back noises are heard. It all ends with a robot voice saying "WE HAVE ASSUMED CONTROL." Rush has assumed control.

Now "A Passage to Bangkok" starts with a regular riff and then gets Asian. The riff repeats and Geddy songs about ridding to Bangkok, which is probably an analogy for Weed. Close to 2 minutes has a strange transition into a great gutiar solo. Afterwords we get Asian again and Geddy sings the melody. Not a bad song, but not the best.

The next song is "The Twilight Zone." After the 30 second intro, the song becomes very spooky. Geddy starts with a "I ni ni ni ni ni ni ni ni." The lyrics of this song are very creepy, though I wish they had the spooky part be the majority of the song and, with the end and the spooky part going on, some more "i ni ni's" would make it perfect.

"Lessons" fades in on acoustic guitar. Slowly we hear Neil join in on drums. This is a simple song, and get's great when the electric guitar kicks in! I like this song, it should be appreciated more.

The most bitter sweet part of the album is in this next one, Tears." With an acoustic intro, guess what's next? Mellotron! They have a guest mellotron and flute. That is what makes this song so beutiful as a prog rock song. It's usually great when tye have a fourth member with them. Anyway, the song ends with an amazing meletron.

The final song is "Something for Nothing." Like most f the songs on the album, it starts acoustic and then electric gutiar kicks in. This one has a few great gutiar riffs, it also has powerful lyrics. This song is one of the best on the album. It fades out, and I love when albums end with a fade.

I was gonna give this 4 stars, but I think it deserves 5. It's skilled, powerful, has great concept. However, it isn't Rush's best album. That would probably have to go to Moving Pictures, or maybe Permanent Waves or Hemispheres.

Song Ranking: 1. 2112 2. Something for Nothing 3. A Passage to Bangkok 4. Tears 5. The Twilight Zone 6. Lessons

Favorite quote from the album: "Listen to my music, and head what it can do." -From "2112"

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 Hold Your Fire by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1987
3.27 | 752 ratings

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Hold Your Fire
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

3 stars By the time the last half of the 80s was rolling around, Rush had settled into it's keyboard/lyric dominated sound. The songs for the last 3 albums were starting to sound too similar, except for in a few cases. That trend continued for "Hold Your Fire" and, if there were any changes, it was a trend to a more popular sound than ever. There is no mistake, when listening to this album, that it is a product of the 80s. There just isn't much guitar domination here. Those crazy and irresistible guitar hooks and anthems were non-existant at this time, except for a few guitar breaks which are much too short, the guitar has become totally supportive to Geddy's vocals and Neal's lyrics. And the songs, for the most part, continue to sound the same.

Not that there weren't some gems on this album, but seemingly less than on the previous 3 albums. Two of the best songs, "Force Ten" (which was the last song recorded for the album) and "Time Stand Still" (the album's huge hit) start the album off quickly and things seem great at first. But after that, the songs fall into that sameness as before, yet now even mellower and more keyboard laden. After those first two great songs, the only other songs worth mentioning are the fairly decent "Mission" which contains a more unique melody and some tricky rhythms in the instrumental break that stands out better than the others, and the very distinctive "Tai Shan" which is more experimental, and as such, breaks up the monotony of the rest of the album. Interestingly enough, the latter mentioned track was named as one that the band had wished they left off of the album because it was so different from the rest of the material. Hmmmm....well, it works for me to at least add some variety to the album.

But the highlights are too few and far in between and even the highlights can't come close to the earlier albums that came before "Signals". Again, we have a keyboard heavy album, with songs that don't stand out much and fail to generate the excitement of their earlier albums. Only the few highlights of the album save it from falling below 3 stars. Not a great album, just good, but not one I would recommend.

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 Hemispheres by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.37 | 1909 ratings

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Hemispheres
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Here is another Rush album that has been reviewed so many times that everything that needs to be said has been said. "Hemispheres" is one of the many 5 star albums by the band. But there were some interesting changes going on and that becomes apparent almost immediately. Keyboards were being used again, and were being used effectively. The core guitar, bass, drums were still the driving force.

But the first real obvious change is that Geddy's voice is suddenly a huge centerpiece on the first track, which is the very long suite which serves as the sequel to "Cygnus X-1" from the previous album "Farewell to Kings". It's not really a sequel though because the first part dealt with a science fiction theme where part 2 deals with mythology. Whatever, it's Rush. The track is full of reminders of the first part with a few repeated or similar guitar hooks taken from the first part. But after a decent instrumental introduction, Geddy's vocals take over and don't let up much for the remainder of the long track. There were some disappointed fans at this time as this was the first time the guitar didn't stand out so obviously. It took more time to appreciate this track this time around, but after a few listens, it was hard to deny it the progressive epic status it deserved. Yes there was a lack of guitar craziness in the first half of the album, which is comprised of the suite, but there was masterful skill in the composition of the track. It did take a little longer to appreciate, but now that I do appreciate it, it is a masterpiece.

The 2nd half of the album is a return to form from "Farewell to Kings". This was the familiar Rush with the same formula of excellent keyboards, blazing guitar and bass solos, and heavy exciting songs. "Circumstances" and "The Trees" are rock classics and the guitar solo in "The Trees" make the difficulty of "Cygnus Part II" easier to digest on the first few listens and it also guaranteed Rush fans would return to the album. Fans were happy, and soon they would accept the long suite even if it meant listening to it a few times to appreciate it.

But I don't think anyone was ready for the awesomeness of what was to come next on the album. This is the best guitar solo ever! I know when I first heard this solo, I was amazed and excited, and I was sold on the album. After all these years, it still hasn't worn itself out, I still consider it the best instrumental track by Rush and one of the best Heavy Prog songs ever. Even if it is driven by guitar for the most part, it is a multi-dimensional full blown prog anthem. "La Villa Stragiato" would set the bar for guitar based prog for years to come. We all knew that Alex Lifeson was one of the best prog guitarists, but after this track, he was considered a guitar god. Simply amazing track that still gets me excited when I hear it. And the progressive nature of the track is amazing with all kinds of rhythmic changes, dynamics, moods, style shifts and it's all done seamlessly. If nothing else on the album was any good, this track still would have been a standout in all of rock music. But fortunately, the album is still great. One of Rush's many masterpieces, heavy rock with classical attributes in the composition of the music and loaded with prog elements galore. 5 stars.

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Thanks to Tony R for the artist addition.

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