Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2296 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

The Runaway
5 stars A Farewell to Kings is Rush's turning point from hard rock experimenting with progressive elements to full-on progressive rock. The band has decided to take it far over the top and make a progressive rock opera spanning over two different albums, which are A Farewell to Kings and Hemispheres.

The album begins with the title track, A Farewell to Kings (obviously), starting with a finger-picked classical guitar line similar to the opening of The Trees on Hemispheres, or Closer to the Heart, which comes later on this album. It then evolves into the "major power-chord" Rush we have heard in previous albums. Peart took his drumming down a notch to Rutsey-like drumming, which is not too complicated, or heavy, yet he still has some very good drum fills on this track. This track is still very similar to other Rush tracks such as Fountain of Lamneth in some cases, or The Necromancer, but it still keeps a style of its own. The song is very versatile and colorful, all while keeping a rocking sound!

The end of the previous track marks the start of the wonderful track, Xanadu, which is in my opinion, one of Rush's greatest tracks. With this track we hear the band has a taken a whole new direction in their composing and writing, using many complex time signatures, and a whole different playing style overall. The track is 11 minutes long, featuring a long, instrumental opening in 7/8's. The song then progresses into what would be the verse, which feels nostalgic to the fans of old-school Rush's heavy flanger-riffs and hi-hat beats, but it probably will be the last you will hear of that sound for a while. I really can't explain how good this track is in words, so I just have to tell you have to listen to it to understand these words of mine. Overall, this song IS Rush!

Now comes Closer to the Heart, a song with a trademark guitar opening we must have all heard in some point of our lives, be it television, concerts, or movies. The opening lyrics are very symbolic and mark the fact that Rush is not only 6+ minute progressive rock tracks on this album, but also mellow 2-3 minute tracks, which can also be called rather mainstream, but not the bad kind of mainstream: "And the men who hold high places, must be the ones to start. Mould a new reality, closer to the heart.". A really good track, but not excellent, or awesome.

The next song, Cinderella Man, isn't really, the highlight of the album. Feels too poppy, commercial (not to be confused with mainstream), and just plain bad to me. Geddy Lee wrote the lyrics to this song, and I have to say, I'm not too fond of his writing ever since Tears on the previous album, 2112. Also, Alex Lifeson did a bad job at composing this song. He was trying to make this a guitar song, but the guitar parts just aren't good enough. That doesn't mean this song doesn't have its moments though. I don't "hate" it, I just don't really love, or recommend it.

Ah, good old Madrigal. This song is not a classic Rush song, but that doesn't mean it isn't good, and it is quite the opposite, actually. It's mellow, and very lyric-based, so it gives Peart's lyrics time to penetrate Lifeson's mighty axe sound, which doesn't really exist on this song. This song is not really your average Rush sound, but I really like it's mellowness. It's like the band makes a chill song, but that chill song is fantastic, and awesome, and everything else which is good. This song is great because it doesn't try and highlight any instrument, it just tries to be, a song, and it really isn't that bad at doing that.

Now comes Cygnus X-1, the start of Rush's 2-album progressive rock opera. I cannot say much about this song, as it is so full, and wealthy, and tasteful, and yet, it has its boring and annoying parts. Great song though, it really is a song to show your friends that Rush is an awesome, diverse, awesomer, diverser band than what they say they are. Go Cygnus X-1, as it is a first in progressive rock history, and maybe even music history.

I have to say, it'll really help to understand the Cygnus X-1 storyline if you get the following album, Hemispheres, after you get this one, but it really is not a must. Get this album people! 5/5 because Rush could not have made a better album, and that's final.

The Runaway | 5/5 |


As a registered member (register here if not), you can post rating/reviews (& edit later), comments reviews and submit new albums.

You are not logged, please complete authentication before continuing (use forum credentials).

Forum user
Forum password

Share this RUSH review

Social review comments () BETA

Review related links

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: — jazz music reviews and archives | — metal music reviews and archives

Donate monthly and keep PA fast-loading and ad-free forever.