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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2494 ratings

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5 stars With their sixth studio effort in just 5 short years, Rush produced the masterpiece Hemispheres, an outstanding piece of conceptual hard rock and possibly their most progressive effort. Stylistically very similar to A Farewell To Kings, the band pushes even further into uncharted territory of ultra-technical, conceptual and progressive hard rock.

The obtusely titled Cygnus X-1 Book 2: Hemispheres is arguably a finer sidelong epic than the seminal 2112. For eighteen minutes, Rush bedazzles us with unbelievable musicianship, shifting moods and tempos, compelling narratives, and all the other hallmarks of classic Rush and symphonic prog rock. And unlike the early era side-long epics, the whole thing flows! In this way, it is much greater than the sum of its smaller parts. The bass lines are funky and powerful, the guitar solos soar, the drums are unusual yet driving. The whole presentation is something that can transport and move the listener to Rush's fantastical world. Utterly unique and fascinating, and quite accessible.

There are two shorter songs, which accomplish an impressive amount in their relatively short duration. The arrangements are incredibly colorful, loaded to the max with interesting keyboard sounds, odd percussion, quantum time signature changes. The lyrics on The Trees are a remarkably poetic way of degrading the welfare state and deserve recognition no matter your political views.

Lastly, the almost ten minute La Villa Strangiato is a hyper complex instrumental which sees these young men pushing their music to the absolute limits of their considerable technical skills. There's brilliant flamenco Spanish guitar, funky bass solos, indescribable drum fills, while still finding space for slowly building jazz-fusion sequences. Astounding.

Hemispheres was such a demanding album to write, perform, and record, that the band refused to attempt to recreate something of this caliber, the process was simply too taxing. It is an album of unrestrained ambition and complexity rivaling works such as Yes' Relayer and Gentle Giant's In A Glass House, but with 100% more classic rock in the mix.



TwoCents | 5/5 |


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