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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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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)

2.92 | 911 ratings
Rush
1974
3.35 | 1005 ratings
Fly By Night
1975
3.53 | 1081 ratings
Caress Of Steel
1975
4.10 | 1759 ratings
2112
1976
4.34 | 1848 ratings
A Farewell To Kings
1977
4.37 | 1990 ratings
Hemispheres
1978
4.30 | 1722 ratings
Permanent Waves
1980
4.40 | 2359 ratings
Moving Pictures
1981
3.95 | 1122 ratings
Signals
1982
3.69 | 979 ratings
Grace Under Pressure
1984
3.54 | 850 ratings
Power Windows
1985
3.27 | 775 ratings
Hold Your Fire
1987
3.16 | 716 ratings
Presto
1989
3.09 | 734 ratings
Roll The Bones
1991
3.76 | 792 ratings
Counterparts
1993
2.86 | 713 ratings
Test For Echo
1996
3.43 | 740 ratings
Vapor Trails
2002
3.58 | 839 ratings
Snakes & Arrows
2007
3.96 | 917 ratings
Clockwork Angels
2012

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

3.85 | 385 ratings
All The World's A Stage
1976
4.04 | 491 ratings
Exit... Stage Left
1981
3.48 | 357 ratings
A Show Of Hands
1989
4.37 | 343 ratings
Different Stages - Live
1998
3.80 | 310 ratings
Rush - In Rio
2003
4.18 | 166 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
3.59 | 201 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
3.94 | 152 ratings
Grace Under Pressure 1984 Tour
2009
3.53 | 53 ratings
ABC 1974
2011
3.35 | 138 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.30 | 52 ratings
Moving Pictures: Live 2011
2011
3.99 | 69 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013
4.00 | 4 ratings
Kiel Auditorium, St Louis, MI, February 14 1980
2015

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

3.95 | 117 ratings
Exit... Stage Left (VHS)
1981
3.34 | 35 ratings
Through The Camera Eye
1984
3.99 | 98 ratings
Grace Under Pressure Tour (DVD)
1985
3.99 | 97 ratings
A Show of Hands
1989
2.98 | 74 ratings
Chronicles
1990
4.34 | 245 ratings
Rush in Rio
2003
4.41 | 238 ratings
R30 - 30th Anniversary World Tour
2005
4.04 | 124 ratings
Replay x 3
2006
4.12 | 135 ratings
Snakes & Arrows Live
2008
2.74 | 38 ratings
Working Men
2009
4.66 | 255 ratings
Beyond the Lighted Stage
2010
4.16 | 68 ratings
Classic Albums: 2112 - Moving Pictures
2010
3.90 | 92 ratings
Time Machine 2011: Live in Cleveland
2011
3.85 | 47 ratings
Clockwork Angels Tour
2013
4.29 | 19 ratings
R40 Live
2015

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

3.42 | 55 ratings
Archives
1978
2.72 | 24 ratings
Through Time
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Anthology
1984
3.58 | 95 ratings
Chronicles
1991
3.29 | 64 ratings
Retrospective I (1974-1980)
1997
3.17 | 62 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
4.18 | 33 ratings
Sector 1
2011
4.55 | 37 ratings
Sector 2
2011
4.58 | 38 ratings
Sector 3
2011
3.50 | 4 ratings
Icon 2
2011
4.11 | 18 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
2.80 | 26 ratings
Finding My Way
1974
2.60 | 5 ratings
In The Mood
1974
3.03 | 27 ratings
Fly by Night
1975
3.04 | 27 ratings
The Twilight Zone
1976
3.55 | 34 ratings
2112: Overture/The Temples of Syrinx
1976
3.65 | 35 ratings
Closer to The Heart
1977
2.26 | 18 ratings
Everything Your Listeners Wanted To Hear By Rush... But Were Afraid To Play
1977
3.38 | 10 ratings
The Trees
1978
4.10 | 45 ratings
The Spirit of Radio
1980
2.80 | 41 ratings
Entre Nous
1980
3.94 | 50 ratings
Tom Sawyer
1981
4.00 | 8 ratings
Tom Sawyer / A Passage To Bangkok / Red Barchetta
1981
3.71 | 7 ratings
Vital Signs / Passage To Bangkok / Circumstances / In The Mood
1981
4.12 | 7 ratings
Subdivisions
1982
3.80 | 5 ratings
Countdown
1982
3.14 | 37 ratings
New World Man
1982
3.50 | 4 ratings
The Body Electric
1984
3.57 | 35 ratings
Distant Early Warning
1984
3.07 | 35 ratings
The Big Money
1986
4.00 | 2 ratings
Prime Mover
1987
4.50 | 2 ratings
Closer To The Heart
1989
3.80 | 5 ratings
The Pass
1989
2.78 | 17 ratings
Ghost of a chance
1992
3.67 | 3 ratings
Roll The Bones
1992
1.86 | 18 ratings
The Story Of Kings
1992
3.00 | 23 ratings
Stick It Out
1993
3.33 | 26 ratings
One Little Victory
2002
2.82 | 187 ratings
Feedback
2004
3.50 | 2 ratings
Summertime Blues
2004
3.47 | 38 ratings
Far Cry
2007
4.10 | 126 ratings
Caravan / BU2B
2010
3.59 | 74 ratings
Headlong Flight
2012
4.67 | 3 ratings
The Garden
2013
3.00 | 2 ratings
7 and 7 is
2014
4.00 | 1 ratings
Roll The Bones
2015

RUSH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Roll The Bones by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1991
3.09 | 734 ratings

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Roll The Bones
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Chicapah
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After taking a long break from going through Rush's extensive catalog of work (and reviewing prog discs at all, for that matter) I sat down and gave this album a few spins recently. I recall all too well that the rock music scene in the early 90s was undergoing a drastic, everything-must-go overhaul due to the emergence and popularity of the grunge movement so I give this trio and all prog artists of that era a mile or two of slack. The "Seattle sound" invasion was akin to the "back to the basics" trend punk rockers instigated in the late 70s in an effort to distinguish themselves from what they considered pompous and preposterous posturing on the part of groups like Yes and ELP. Prog took a vicious uppercut to the jaw and hit the canvas hard. Many acts didn't survive the beating and those who did walked with a limp for the rest of their careers. The sole exception was Rush. They never expected to be accepted in the first place so being quarantined outside the mainstream was business as usual for those guys. The more I've gotten to know about them, the more admiration I have for their sheer audacity and guts to stay true to themselves. I still think "Moving Pictures" was their apex but I also think they scaled the heights of adaptive creativity on '84's "Grace Under Pressure." I find all of their releases to be above average in general but those two really stick out as special. As for "Roll the Bones," it sits comfortably in the "pretty-good-but-not-extraordinary" range.

They open with "Dreamline" and I was immediately struck by Geddy Lee's ever-maturing voice. I, like many others, had a very difficult time handling the screeching chirps that characterized his vocals on earlier efforts and it kept me away from giving the band a fair listen for decades. But beginning with the aforementioned "Grace Under Pressure" the man mellowed substantially and I found his lower register much more to my liking. This number is a dynamic hard rock ditty that showcases their always top-notch production, a reliable hallmark of their recordings, but the composition itself is slightly pedestrian. "Bravado" is next and I was instantly drawn into the track's cavernous depth-of-field and solid groove but the shallow lyric content doesn't stir up anything I can relate to. It doesn't help that Lee doesn't deliver them with suitable conviction. The title track "Roll the Bones" follows and I was bowled over by Alex Lifeson's guitar sound that's huge and impressive. Geddy's synth adds a brassy tint and, while I'm no fan of the genre, their detour into pseudo rap territory during the breakdown section actually provides a welcome relief from predictability. The "life's a crap shoot" theme imbedded in the lyric is attractive, as well.

"Face Up" is a bit of a throwback to their original sound but once again it's hard to take Lee seriously when he doesn't put enough raw passion into his vocal. Especially when he's singing about how angry he is. Gotta give Alex a nod, though. His flaming guitar solo rips a new one. The instrumental "Where's My Thing?" is the best thing on the CD because it's as if they finally stopped overthinking and just let nature take its course. It's awesomely funky and fun with Neil Peart getting to toss in some nifty drum fills. They take a few risks here and there and the enriching payoff proves they were worth it. "The Big Wheel" is next and it comes out swingin' with a Who-ish gritty vibe but the too-relaxed chorus detracts from the powerful verse pattern they'd built up. It would've been more effective if they'd kept this one a simple, straight-ahead rocker from start to finish. "Heresy" begins with a military march beat that promises an epic thrill ride but it ends up being more of the same arena rock fare. I'm not complaining, per se, but I expected something wild to happen and it never did. "Ghost of a Chance" sports the edgier approach that I prefer but alas, the airy chorus sucks all the helium out of the balloon. The song just never quite jells. "Neurotica" is next and, while I have great respect for their continuing to pay close attention to the technical quality of their artistic endeavors, the tune fails to take me anywhere they haven't taken me several times before. Lifeson does wow my ear canal briefly by letting the fur fly on his solo, though. "You Bet Your Life" has the trademark of a progression they might have developed while jamming in rehearsal but, no matter its birth, it manages to shine brightly. The song's chorus in particular is distinct and intriguing. Makes for a good exit.

"Roll the Bones," released on September 3rd of 1991, was their 14th studio album and it marked an upturn in their collective fortunes. By reaching #3 on the American charts it became their first CD to reach the top five since "Moving Pictures" did that ten years prior. I've gotten to know more about Rush due to various documentaries, interviews and live concerts that keep being aired on satellite TV networks and my hat's off to them for hanging in there so long. They really are a remarkable entity but they had their ups and downs just like their peers. "Roll the Bones" is better than "Presto" was but only by a few checkmarks. 3.4 stars.

 Grace Under Pressure by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.69 | 979 ratings

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Grace Under Pressure
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by maryes

4 stars 4,5 stars !!! "Grace Under Preasure" , how I've said in my review about the previous album from RUSH ( (#1568194) | Posted Friday, May 20, 2016 ), with the audition of this one I start to make a better appreciation of the new direction assumed by these incredible Canadian guys, which in that moment I presume was shows how to make more simple melodic themes becomes a great progressive rock music. Already on the first track "Distant Early Warning" with their overture theme you can feel this - the repetition turns a "tension point" which as the same "trigger" To guitar solo and the climax of the track ! Another intersting point in this album is the clear Alex's tendency of prioritize the chjords progressions in the construction of his solo melodies - this is present in track 2 " Afterimage" and track 3. "Red Sector A". Besides the last track "Between the Wheels" are simply outstanding (slightly above the other tracks) . In short a excellent album. My rate is 4 stars !!!
 Grace Under Pressure by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1984
3.69 | 979 ratings

BUY
Grace Under Pressure
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Second signal

3.5 stars

Let's make it simple: "Grace Under Pressure" can be described as "Signals" bis, with a little more guitars and a slightly inferior quality. Pursuing the 'synthetic reggae-rock' approach of its predecessor, the band ventures again into new musical territories for them on some tracks, such as new-wave and ska. The keyboards and drums also sound colder, robotic, dehumanized, however this time Alex Lifeson plays a larger role: his interventions are more nervous and punchy than on the previous opus. Furthermore, and most important, the inspiration is still present.

The album title comes from the general theme of the songs: people's reactions when they're under pressure. The science-fiction and heroic fantasy stories of the 70's are now replaced by cold war, nuclear weapon and technology problematics. "Grace Under Pressure" can also reflect the particular conditions in which the disc was composed and produced, as the musicians separated from their historic producer Terry Brown, nicknamed 'Broon', before the recording.

The first side is very good. The powerful opener "Distant Early Warning" is the best track of the record. Referring a nuclear alert system, this reggae-rock song in the style of THE POLICE evolves into a true hard-rock piece, with ferocious guitar passages and an heroic finale. Great! Dedicated to one of the band's friend who had just passed away, "Afterimage" is a touching and melancholic synthesizer reggae-rock track with a cool solo from Lifeson. Inspired by Geddy Lee's mother experience during the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen camp, "Red Sector A"'s topic is the concentration camps and the Holocaust. Despite cheesy keyboards, it offers a nice alternation of electronic, rocking, epic and touching ambiances, even sounding new-wave. The Canadians made a ska incursion with "The Enemy Within", featuring different atmospheres and rhythms. Original and having its moments, but finally a bit uneven.

The second side is unfortunately less inspired. "The Body Electric" narrates the story of an android attempting to escape its programming. Despite its mysterious surprising opening, this electronic song is rather average. "Kid Gloves" contains an excellent guitar solo but the track itself sounds overall flat. As one of the oddest RUSH composition ever, "Red Lenses" is quite irritating as well as the only true weak passage of the record. One the contrary, "Between The Wheels" is the best song of Side 2 with its oppressive ambiance and icy heroic rock.

"Grace Under Pressure" is the continuation of "Signals", a little bit more unequal and 80's sounding. Like its predecessor, 'electronic reggae-rock' could be an attempt to describe the style of this album. Although it features dated synthesizers, the first side and the last track really rock. By incorporating a few new musical elements, the band proves they were still creative and daring.

This tenth studio offering from the Canadians will be the last truly good RUSH album of the 20th century. If you didn't enjoy "Signals", this one is not for you either. Otherwise, go for it without hesitation. Recommended to fans of "Signals", THE POLICE, or even reggae-rock.

 Signals by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1982
3.95 | 1122 ratings

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Signals
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Signs of life in the 80's

Released after the melting-pot album "Moving Pictures", "Signals" represents one of RUSH's biggest musical mutation. The transformation started in 1980 is now complete: dominated by synthesizers, and even sequencers, the music is radio-friendly, less aggressive, contains less guitars. The tracks have all a normal duration and are neither progressive nor metal anymore. Already explored by the band, the reggae sections are also more present. Last point to mention: Geddy Lee's voice sounds now perfectly clean. So... is the end of RUSH as we know it? Yes. Is it worth listening? Yes too.

Rather than turning commercial, this evolution denotes the will of the Canadians to explore new musical directions in the new decade, however this does not necessarily result in a soapy 80's pop-rock. After all, this is RUSH. The inspiration is here, and, if the compositions display an homogeneous style, they still use uncommon time signatures.

The change of musical direction can be heard from the very first seconds. Featuring passages with different rhythms, "Subdivisions" is a powerful synth-rock opener, with a nice melody. Alternating rocking and calmer moments, "The Analog Kid" is driven by an energetic guitar and includes a cool guitar solo by Alex Lifeson. Nonetheless, the overall is a bit uneven. On the contrary, "Chemistry" is my favorite song of the record. A nearly cosmic overture and heroic melody, it rocks! The very cool "Digital Man" contains top-notch bass playing, reggae-based sections and numerous rhythm structures changes.

Even more surprising, the spacey disco-rock "The Weapon" is quite convincing and epic! Then comes "New World Man", a pleasant a soft reggae-rock that an remind THE POLICE at times. Featuring Ben Mink, a friend of the band, at electric violin, I'm not really a big fan of the "Losing It" and tend to find this ballad a bit flat. The only true weak track of the disc for me. The closer "Countdown" is a tribute to the NASA and its astronauts. The song narrates the launch of Space Transportation System-1, the first orbiter of NASA's Columbia Space Shuttle program. The band attended the event in 1981 in Orlando. The track incorporates genuine radio dialogs between the two pilots, John W. Young and Robert L. Crippen, before and during the flight, and is dedicated to them. Not the best passage of the album, but enjoyable.

As may understand, we're not in hard/heavy prog rock anymore. No long 70's hard/heavy prog ambitious suites like on "2112" or "Hemispheres" here. No new-wave either. 'Synthetic reggae-rock' could be an attempt to describe the style the musicians adopted on "Signals". For sure, the eighties' synthesizers sound quite dated, but this does curiously not prevent the tracks from being pleasant and original. Again, this is RUSH, so this is still creative in its way as no other band were offering something musically comparable at the time. Furthermore, this opus has a rather constant quality, and remains better than most 70's' progressive bands' releases in the 80's.

If you only know the seventies' years of RUSH, prepare for a surprise, but a good one. Accessible and lively, "Signals" opens new horizons for the Canadians, and should please fans of the trio, THE POLICE, or even reggae!

 Moving Pictures by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1981
4.40 | 2359 ratings

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Moving Pictures
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rush's best album of the 80's

Last 20th century RUSH album to really contain progressive compositions, "Moving Pictures" is clearly their most varied and colorful studio opus. Its predecessor, "Permanent Waves", marked a turn towards more radio-friendly material, and so do this eighth offering. However, although the record contains several of the band's best-known songs, the music itself has a rich orchestration and still remains quite adventurous, with complex rhythms structures, while approaching different styles. The tracks can be seen as a link between their long elaborated 70's suites and their short and direct synthesizer-reggae-rock songs of the 80's. As ever since "2112", the keyboards become more and more present, whereas the incursions in the metal territory are rarefying. Another point denoting this evolution: there are no acoustic guitar passage.

Inspired the famous book of American writer Mark Twain, "Tom Sawyer" is RUSH's most successful hit single. A powerful and retro-futuristic rock song, with changing rhythms, setting immediately the tone. Great! Alternating softer passages and raging guitars, "Red Barchetta" is enjoyable. With "La Villa Strangiato", "YYZ" is the best instrumental composition of RUSH, and even one the finest of the hard rock genre! YYZ is the international identity code assigned to Toronto's airport. Transcribed in Morse code, these three letters form the opening rhythmic of the track, at bells and guitars. As Toronto is the town where the members live, "YYZ" has a particular meaning to them, as it means home sweet home. This track possesses all you could expect from the Canadians: uncommon time signatures, different ambiances, epic passages, various soli and even a spacey interlude... Fantastic! Highly influential, this complex jazzy heavy rock is simply breathtaking! On the contrary, I'm not really a big fan of "Limelight". Although also elaborated and evolving, this piece is rather average.

Longest and most progressive song of the disc, "The Camera Eye" features both somber and dreamy atmospheres. These 11 minutes contain nice guitar works and rocking passages. Not the best mini-epic from the band, but still good. The two last tracks are the most surprising for the fan. The dark fantasy "Witch Hunt" is quite particular in RUSH's discography. Cover art designer Hugh Syme's synthesizers' layers create a deep, haunting mystical ambiance, increasing more and more in intensity. Love it! Rather lively, the electronic reggae "Vital Signs" foreshadows the style that the trio will develop in their next two albums. It rocks!

The mixture of genres displayed in "Moving Pictures" was quite unique at the beginning of the eighties, when prog has already declined. Varied, original, risky and refined, the music should even please the seventies' purists. I find this album a bit overrated though, as "Red Barchetta" and "Limelight" tend to bore me. Nevertheless, the other compositions are great and more remarkable than "Permanent Waves"'s. At the beginning of the eighties, Lee, Lifeson and Peart still remain pioneers and adventurers.

One of the best and most eclectic albums from RUSH! Highly recommended!

 Exit... Stage Left by RUSH album cover Live, 1981
4.04 | 491 ratings

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Exit... Stage Left
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rush's best live album?

After four studio records, one live album. Released in 1981, "Exit... Stage Left" concludes in a beautiful way RUSH's second period, often considered as their most progressive and creative. The set-list consists in extracts from "Fly By Night", "2112", "A Farewell to Kings", "Hemispheres", "Permanent Waves" and "Moving Pictures", recorded at concerts in UK and Canada.

The set-list is more varied and colorful than on the band's first live release, "All The World's A Stage". Still played with the same energy and virtuosity, the tracks have been quite reworked in the studio. Furthermore, Geddy Lee's singing sounds less juvenile and enraged, but rather mastered and fluid.

The cover art (front plus back) contains elements from all RUSH's studio albums from 1974-1981.

"YYZ" includes a mindblowing drum solo by professor Neil Peart, displaying his knowledge and technicality, whereas Alex Lifeson has sharpened his axes on "Jacob's Ladder". Not featured on any other live or studio release by the band, "Broon's Bane" is the novelty here. A nice short instrumental acoustic guitar piece by Lifeson, introducing "The Trees". With "Xanadu", the these two songs see their orchestration enhanced by the addition of cool synthesizers accompaniments. Same goes for "La Villa Strangiato", incorporating also great alternative guitar interventions. Unfortunately, these are also the first official released performances with the super soapy ballad "Closer To The Heart", which appearance will become recurrent at the trio's concerts.

Whether you prefer "All The World's A Stage" or "Exit... Stage Left" is just a matter of taste. The first live album represents RUSH's wilderness and youth, while this one represents its sophistication and maturity. The music of the first one is hard/heavy rock just beginning to turn progressive, whereas the second displays a wide panel of the Canadians' neo-hard-prog more elaborated compositions. As you prefer...

Anyway, both live albums are essential for every fan of RUSH, which won't be the case for the third one...

 All The World's A Stage by RUSH album cover Live, 1976
3.85 | 385 ratings

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All The World's A Stage
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Rush's first live album

One live release every four studio albums, this will be the rule. Recorded in 1976 in Toronto, the band's town, "All The World's A Stage" covers RUSH's first period, from 1974 to 1976. A this time, the Canadians were beginning to incorporate progressive elements in their powerful seventies hard / heavy rock. The set-list features extracts from their self-titled debut, "Fly By Night", "Caress Of Steel" and "2112". All discs are well represented and the songs are interpreted with energy, volume and conviction.

Skipping the "Discovery" and "Oracle: The Dream" sections, "2112" has been shortened to 16 minutes. Overall cool, however I do prefer the more polished studio version. On the contrary, "By-tor And The Snow Dog" has been extended to 12 minutes and is undoubtedly the highlight of the record, maybe superior to the original. The band sculpts here an incandescent sonic magma, especially Alex Lifeson creating a maelstrom of furious cosmic guitars. Terrifying! The mysterious spacey interlude is also transcended and simply gorgeous. An unbelievable tour de force! The selection of the average "In The End" as a calm ballad to slow the pace down is a curious choice. "Working Man / Finding My Way" features a long drum solo at the end, Neil Peart being called "The Professor" by Geddy Lee.

Although a bit lengthy, "All The World's A Stage" clearly remains one of the band's best live releases. The concert will please every early RUSH fans, and is also a good entry point for newcomers to discover the trio's first period.

 Permanent Waves by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1980
4.30 | 1722 ratings

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Permanent Waves
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars A permanent shift towards the radio waves?

Stuck between the great "Hemispheres" and "Moving Pictures", "Permanent Waves" is RUSH's transition album from ambitious epic suites to more accessible songs. Released January 1st, 1980, this seventh studio opus makes the junction between their 70's neo-heavy-prog style and the more radio-friendly and electronic compositions the Canadians will develop in the 80's. Musically speaking, the synthesizers' presence is growing in the band's universe, and the trio slightly starts to incorporate elements from other genres, such as reggae. Furthermore, the lyrics become more oriented towards human nature, society and technology than fantasy and science-fiction. So, has RUSH abruptly left the progressive sphere? Don't worry seventies fans, this a transitional record, so there are still hard/heavy prog rock/metal pieces with complex rhythms structures, uncommon time signatures and changing atmospheres.

The hit single "The Spirit Of Radio" is powerful and evolving. Simply rocks! In the ending section, RUSH even made their first (slight) incursion in the reggae territory, a style that they will further explore in their next three albums. The hard catchy "Freewill" is also quite nice and contains cool spacey guitar soli. However, the highlight of the disc is undoubtedly the somber progressive "Jacob's Ladder". Referring a meteorological phenomena, this track features multiple time signatures, epic riffs, oppressive metal passages and a spacey interlude. Great!

On the contrary, "Entre Nous" ("Between Us" in English) is a much more conventional rock. Average and not very original, this is the weak song of the record. "Different Strings" is a kind of soft and melancholic ballad, with cover art designer Hugh Syme performing a piano solo. Enjoyable. The disc concludes with the 9 minutes "Natural Science", the longest track. Beginning with river and forest sound effects, this hard/heavy prog metal piece has a few futuristic moments. The ending, named "Permanent Waves", is quite heroic. A pleasant but somehow uneven mini-epic.

"Permanent Waves" is definitively a transitional album, as well as a short one. Despite songs not as remarkable as its predecessor's and its successor's, the quality and inspiration are nonetheless overall constant and the trio's hard/heavy prog rock/metal is still efficient. Even if more accessible, the music should please all fans of the late 70's period of RUSH. Once again, the multiple breaks and complex time signatures may have influenced an important number of progressive metal bands.

That's why there is finally no reason not to give it a listen!

 Hemispheres by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1978
4.37 | 1990 ratings

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Hemispheres
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Beyond the black hole

4.5 stars

Often referred as one of RUSH's best albums alongside "2112" and "Moving Pictures", "Hemispheres" extends the musical approach and story developed on "A Farewell To Kings". Still consisting in sophisticated changing tracks, uncommon time signatures and complex rhythms with fantasy / sci-fi lyrics, the musicians develop their neo- hard/heavy progressive identity they've been crafting in their two previous opuses. Unlike its 1977 predecessor, there are no filler songs here, the quality and inspiration remain constant this time.

The story of "Cygnus X-1 Book Two" begins where the first book stopped. Initially describing the descent into a black hole, the second book explores what's beyond this spatial singularity and the possible conflicts between the two cerebral hemispheres, by mixing Greek mythology and philosophy. This 20 minutes epic is in the same neo-heavy- prog vein as the suites from RUSH's two previous albums. It alternates soft, calm and rocking passages but is a bit lengthy. Nice, although not as dark and epic as "Book One" or as remarkable as "2112".

"Circumstances" is a powerful heavy rock in the style of "Something for Nothing" from "2112". Geddy Lee even sings a part of the lyrics in French: "Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose". It rocks! "The Trees" is social fable narrating the battle between two tree species, the oaks overshadowing the maples. At the end, Man comes to cut all trees down, making them equal in death. This song includes nature and bird sounds and features acoustic and nervous changing passages. Another very good track. However, the genuine highlight of the record is clearly the great mini-epic "La Villa Strangiato", RUSH's best instrumental with "YYZ". Here, all musicians deploys their talents and personality through multiple soli showing their virtuosity at their respective instruments, supported by complex rhythm structures. The music itself offers a wide range of various ambiances: Spanish, trippy, beautiful, hard rock, heroic, and even prog metal and little jazzy moments. Original and mindblowing, this composition alone justifies the listen!

Apart from "Cygnus X-1 Book Two" which may be a little repetitive and not as inspired as the other songs, the overall quality of the disc is much more constant than its predecessor's. Unique at the time, the Canadians develop their identity and still manage to bring something new to the progressive world in the late 70's during the punk revolution, when the British elders were rather getting away from it. No other band was offering such neo-heavy- prog at the time. No wonder they strongly influenced DREAM THEATER.

"Hemispheres" is indeed one of RUSH's best albums, maybe the most progressive in terms of structure. Highly recommended!

This sixth studio release is also their last opus to contain 20 minutes suites. The musicians were beginning to find the long epics songwriting too stressful. After this one, the Canadians' music will become a little more accessible, but this does not necessarily means a loss of quality or interest...

 A Farewell To Kings by RUSH album cover Studio Album, 1977
4.34 | 1848 ratings

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A Farewell To Kings
Rush Heavy Prog

Review by Modrigue
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Rush's most uneven album?

This fifth record by RUSH is a mystery for me. "A Farewell To Kings" pursues the same musical approach as its great and mindblowing predecessor, but unfortunately not the same inspiration and constancy. As groundbreaking as "2112", this disc is full of contrasts, as it contains two of the best mini-epics the Canadians ever composed, but also their least convincing short songs of their 1974-1984 period.

The combination of changing rhythm structures, progressive approach, fantasy and science-fiction themes with hard/heavy rock/metal songs was quite risky in 1977, during the punk revolution. Although not as complex as YES' or GENESIS', the music is nonetheless more direct and catchy. Synthesizers become slightly more and more present in the band's vocabulary.

The title track opens with a delicate medieval tune to then become more aggressive. Containing rhythm changes and variations, this song is a bit strange and uneven, but overall rather enjoyable. Unfortunately, this is the best short piece of this disc. The first mini-epic, "Xanadu" is simply a little fantasy prog gem. Unique, the music transports you to a magical world that can remind YES, but however different, as it alternates calm, epic and ferocious moments. A part of the hidden missing link between symphonic and neo progressive, really unique. Then begins the weak middle of the record. The hit single "Closer To The Heart" is over soapy and cheesy. It will unfortunately become one of RUSH's most popular song and a concert favorite...

Don't really understand how RUSH could have composed the boring "Cinderella Man", as this track sounds not very personal. Concerning "Madrigal", it's an average peaceful ballad. But at least comes the highlight of the record, the somber "Cygnus X-1 Book One". The title comes from the name of the first officially identified black hole ever, in 1971, in the Cygnus Constellation. This mini-epic is the first part of the "Cygnus X-1" dyptic, which will be concluded on the next album. "Book One" describes the journey an astronaut in a spaceship diving in to the black hole. Despite its title, the music is no space rock but rather complex prog metal. Beginning with electronic effects like "2112", the different sections weaves terrifying, powerful and cosmic ambiances. Quite ahead of its time, the song is full of syncopes and unusual rhythm signatures. Mindblowing! The general oppressive impression is coherent with the title and retranscripts well the idea of being absorbed by a black hole. One of my personal favorite from RUSH!

As a conclusion, the fantasy progressive "Xanadu" and the dark suite "Cygnus X-1" are truly the main interests of "A Farewell To Kings". No other bands was creating this kind of neo-heavy-prog music at the time. These compositions really display the talents and the originality of the Canadians. In contrast, the short tracks are not that interesting, which is hardly understandable as the ones from "2112" and from their next albums are overall very good. This record stands as an exception, a kind of black hole concerning the short songs... If these were of the same quality as the two mini-epics', this opus would have clearly been a masterpiece.

Anyway, although uneven, any RUSH or hard / heavy progressive rock fan should listen to this disc, at least for "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1"!

Thanks to Tony R for the artist addition.

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