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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.37 | 2484 ratings

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5 stars There is something special about this record. Something strange and wonderful, like in an Arthur C. Clarke novel. And it wasn't just because Rush had finally found that ideal balance of hard-hitting power and disturbingly good musicianship, showing at last a truly distinct identity among modern rock bands. No, it was something else, and it gave this recording a flavor unlike any of their other releases. The music seems to arrive straight from the cosmos onto the playing fields of paradise, delivered by deities for our pleasure and sparkling with incredibly bright electrical power.

A backward cymbal sweeps us into the enormous 'Cygnus X-1 Book ll Hemispheres', an ambitious track even for 1978 with six parts, bold and high-minded arranging, symphonic flair and flawless execution. Lee and Lifeson's compositons are nothing short of inspired, especially when one keeps in mind Rush were, at heart, a hard rock band. And Neil Peart, a brilliant drummer who inexplicably writes all the lyrics, carries this album with his joy and enthusiasm. This title track was the band at the peak of inventive and physical energy, and set a standard for excellence in progressive rock that few could even consider matching. The piece ends with the moving simplicity of 'Cygnus, Bringer of Balance'. Alex Lifeson's power chords break into 'Circumstances', Peart's playing fantastic and Geddy Lee shrieking in his best classic Rush manner, and I wouldn't have it any other way. The ethical axis here is 'The Trees', a stunning personification of nature that oozes troubled symbolism. A great cut. The record concludes with 'La Villa Strangiato', a fan favorite... and who can blame their loyal throngs, it is a thrilling nine-minute instrumental that may be the single finest moment in the heavy progressive rock theater.

The remaster sounds great but the original production was so good it barely matters... and the original poster (a bit smaller of course) is included. Sweet.

Atavachron | 5/5 |


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