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Rush - A Farewell to Kings CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.33 | 2289 ratings

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Symphonic Prog Specialist
4 stars In the early and mid 70's I was not particularly a fan of RUSH, always saw them as an excellent Hard Rock band with little Prog and a vocalist with an annoying voice (Not as annoying as Jon Anderson though), but I had hard time finding Prog in them.

But then came "A Farewell to Kings" and my opinion changed radically, they passed to be on the Prog acts that I respect more, the delicate combination of the strong Hard Rock with melodic Symphonic passages really captured me, specially when Alex Lifeson plays his spectacular 12-string guitar or Neal Peart gives any of his amazing performances, but most important, discovered that even when Geddy's voice is extremely acute, the guy knows how to modulate it, doesn't throw it like other vocalists, he works it and presents delightful variations.

The album is opened with the delicate acoustic guitar intro by Alex Lifeson which blends with the keyboards to create a sweet, somehow Medieval influenced melody, but then the explosion comes, Neal changes the Classic guitar for the electric while Geddy and Neal hit us with all their repertoire and pass to a controlled climax with the vocals making perfect match, an amazing opener.

"Xanadu" is the longest track of the album and they make well use of the 11:155 minutes, at the beginning with a soft keyboard intro an announcing the dawn of a new day just to blow our heads in a frenetic succession of melodies and pure strength, this is how a "Power Trio" should sound, the impeccable drumming of Neal play a crucial role along with Geddy's bass.

The main difference with other Heavy Prog bands is that every change in RUSH is gradual, like preparing the audience for everything, but when they need to free the beast, they open the cage, this guys really care about the arrangements and structure, and that's the touch of a genius.

Before any comment, I must say that "Closer to the Heart" is my all time favourite RUSH song, the double introduction is as beautiful as you can get, it's also amazing to listen such a powerful keyboardist as Neal Peart playing soft bells with extreme delicacy. But the song is not only the intro, the perfectly crafted work of the band, making the music start to grow in intensity and start again is one of the finest moments in Heavy Prog.

"Cinderella Man" is a strange song, the band seems to return to their roots with a touch of LED ZEPPELIN, this is pure Rock without Prog elements, but this doesn't make it less enjoyable, at the end Prog's most important component is Rock.

The fusion of the acoustic and electric in "Cinderella Man" is simply brilliant, like a collision of two parallel universes, but with no destruction, only creation of a new and fantastic sound. "Madrigal" as it's name implies is mostly a vocal composition with Pastoral leanings in which the instruments play a secondary role behind the voice, a good preparation for the brilliant finale.

The weird introduction of "Cygnus X-1" announces that the album is about to finish, but they won't leave without giving a strong closure to this excellent album. The key moment is when Geddy's bass announces the change from experimental and weird to Hard Rock, a perfect bridge between the two main sections from the song.

But it's only when guitar and drums take the joint lead that the song develops in a sonic kaleidoscope, with frantic, calmed, dramatic and extremely elaborate moments that are superposed one over the other in a competent work, that closes the album in a superlative level.

Not my favourite band, but would lie if I didn't recognize the quality of "Farewell to Kings", an album that deserves no less than 4 solid stars.

Ivan_Melgar_M | 4/5 |


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