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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2565 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars I may be in the majority to state that this is my favourite RUSH album. Along with A Farewell To Kings (1977) it is Rush at its most progressive, and these two albums were even made in Great Britain as if to underline the influence of British prog and the will to break into the same album market. Another factor to tie these albums together is the sequel of sorts to the 'Cygnus X-1', the title epic filling the first side. It's the third and last time Rush made a side-long epic, and by far the best if you ask me. Yes, better than '2112' though many disagree!

It has a good concept - to which the cover art points directly with the brain hemispheres and two figures. Peart was inspired by a book (I now forget which, on psychology perhaps?) and he shaped the storyline about Greek gods Apollo, Bringer of Wisdom, and Dionysos, Bringer of Love, and their battle for power, until enters Cygnus, Bringer of Balance. The 18-minute epic has five sections. It works well on both narrative and musical levels with its many changes on dynamics. The use of synths is just suitable, more than before but not too much. Geddy Lee doesn't scream aggressively anymore as he did on '2112'. In my opinion Hemispheres is the high zenith of the epic prog Rush - which was to change into the accessible pop-sensitivity of Permanent Waves. But for a proghead this too is very accessible work.

The hard rocking, rather straight-forward 'Circumstances' is the only track I'm not fond of. Peart's lyrics deal with his personal disappointments in London before joining Rush. 'The Trees' is one of my biggest Rush favourites, what a wonderful, ironic story about overgone equalizing! It was inspired by a comic drawing. The battle for a place in the sun between Oaks and Maples ends up with the use of "hatchet, axe and saw". Not only the lyrics are great; the composition is both economic and exciting, dynamic, catchy and colourful.

The final piece 'La Villa Strangiato' - the first all-instrumental Rush track - is as excellent as it gets. "An Exercise in Self-Indulgence", based on a dream that Alex Lifeson had seen. The twelve parts form a cohesive whole that grabs the listener. The recording of this track alone took more time and effort than the whole Fly By Night album some years earlier. The album doesn't quite enter my list of all time prog favourites, but it's not very far from a five-star album for me either.

Matti | 4/5 |


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