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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2483 ratings

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Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
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.

TCat | 5/5 |


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