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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
5 stars RUSH reach their musical zenith with this varied masterpiece.

'A Farewell to Kings' must have been a difficult album to make, having garnered widespread success and acclaim with their breakthrough album 2112 featuring the side long eponymous track heralded by many as a masterpiece of it's own, expectations were high for a follow up and RUSH certainly delivered with a varied and interesting album full of great music.

'A Farewell to Kings' starts off strongly with the hard rocking title track, with guitarist Lifeson playing a jaunty little neo-classical intro on his acoustic before the band in full voice come cascading in - triumphant and uplifting it's one of their best hard rock songs they have ever made.

Next up is my personal favourite of the album and one of my top 5 RUSH songs the 11 minute epic 'Xanadu'. Xanadu is based on the poem 'Kubla Khan' by Samuel Taylor Coleridge and as a drastic departure from the opening track, it starts off with an instrumental section which is very beautiful and meditative with birds chirping, volume swelled guitar and gentle percussion before the electric instruments come in generating feelings of excitement and contentment. This is one of RUSH's best written songs, nothing is really over the top here it all works together well and is structured brilliantly, it moves from slow to fast and soft to hard effortlessly, a very peaceful song.

The next 3 songs are fairly poppy standard RUSH songs, I feel I should lump them together because they are quite similar in the vibe they give off, quite mellow and subdued. Individually these songs might leave a bit to be desired but in the context of the album they work perfectly, they continue off of Xanadu and are nice and gentle to listen to.

Then things take a turn once again with the closing track Cygnus X-1, which is significantly heavier and different to anything RUSH had done up to date and is a great closer to the album and a great contrast to the rest of the songs certainly indicative of a band at their creative peak. Cygnus X-1 is about a starship getting sucked into a blackhole in the famous Cygnus binary system (the first black hole ever discovered) and is quite cheesy but in a good RUSH way The song starts off very gloomily with some heavily effected vocals and resonant bells before a rising bass appears and the song begins on it's sci-fi journey full of heavy syncopated rhythms and forboding melodies (with a brief happy departure in the middle). Cygnus X-1 is easily up there with the best RUSH songs, well crafted and interesting although it does tend to drag in a few places but it ends very strongly. The famous RUSH power trio really shine here, Geddy's bass is sounding great and there are some groovy riffs, Neil has some great syncopation going and Alex just holds it all together - their musical chemistry and alignment is frightening at times.

Overall this is in RUSH's top 3 albums and is one of the best prog albums of all time all the members are at their creative and technical peaks. There is an amazing variety of musical direction here in a mere 6 songs and every song has it's own merits, strongly recommended to any serious prog fan.

FruMp | 5/5 |


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