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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars Others will tell you this album is essential, and I respect their opinions. However, for me there are too many issues preventing my enjoyment of this record, fine though it may be.

First, and most important, while the songs are vigorous and energetic, they lack cohesion and impact - in essence, they don't have enough punch. This is particularly true of the two 'epics', 'Xanadu', with its misplaced, cringeworthy synths and dragging chorus, and 'Cygnus X-1' with its clunky sfx (though it is a much better track than 'Xanadu'): the shorter songs are more cohesive, leading to the suspicion that RUSH's prog-rock excursion in the late 70s was a mistake. This suspicion is proved correct when, for their most successful album ('Moving Pictures') they abandoned prog grandeur for something a little more streamlined.

I have to say I find their sound a little thin for a supposed 'hard rock' or 'heavy prog' group. The guitars are, frankly, a little lame, lacking the power one expects from those peddling heavy music. There's no excuse for the naive synths, either, not years after PINK FLOYD showed how the instrument could be used to create sophisticated atmospheres. That said, the drumming is a distinctive improvement on '2112', and the rhythm section certainly embraced progressive time signatures, nowhere more apparent than in the title track.

The 'hit', 'Closer to the Heart', passes by unnoticed every time I listen to this record: it doesn't have the bite I'd expect from a concise hard rock track. 'Cinderella Man' is excellent, with a playful instrumental section, and is perhaps the highlight of the album for me - though I can't help feeling that, like every RUSH track, it could do with a better arrangement.

RUSH have my respect but not my adoration. This album, like all their progressive records, fails to engage me. Every prog rock collection should have at least one RUSH album, but probably not this one.

russellk | 3/5 |


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