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Rush - Hemispheres CD (album) cover




Heavy Prog

4.38 | 2722 ratings

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5 stars This album is Rush at the peak of their artistic ability and in the very center of the evolution of their music. The album art and lyrics of Cygnus X-1 Book 2 epic make a clear refference to the existential concept of equating emotion with reason, and just as evident are the allusions to Greek Mythology. This work seems to be Peart's strongest statement of his intellectualism, especially his understanding of literature. Rush had also finally broken completely from their early Led Zeppelin-ish influences, which even surfaced slightly in the previus album, and had not yet incorperated the hard rock new-wave sound of the time in their following albums, making it in a way THE Rush album, and I'm not the first to say it. Each song is stunning in its own way, but all are intensely progressive in nature. Changes in meter and use of odd time signatures is abundant, Peart's pointless-to-compliment drumming becomes even more pointless-to-compliment, and the band's intellectual sound is at an I. Q. of about 300.

Cygnus X-1 Book two is an incredible epic only matched by such songs as 2112, Close to the Edge, Supper's Ready, and the like, though perhaps even less pretentious. Continuing the story from (or more like "sort of linked to") Cygnus X-1 Book 1, this song, rather describing the journey to a black hole, describes the concepts of reason and emotion, what society would be like with one and not the other, and eventually the waring gods Apollo of wisdom and Dionysis of love caused society to be divided into hemispheres of the two thought processes, hence the name of the album. The concepts are also in a way split to opposite hemispheres in the brain, hence the album cover. Anyhow, I don't think there is a Rush song that matches the musical complexity and overall intellectual sound of this epic, besides maybe the other songs on the album of course. Peart's drumming on this song is probably the most creative he has come up with, especially his mastery with the high-hat, also evident throughout the album. Overall, individual musicianship seems to be a bit less stressed in this song; rather, how the band sounds as a whole seems more important, at least more than usual. To be honest, I didn't like this epic much at first and it took me quite a few listens before I realized its genious.

Circumstances seems the weakest part of the album, and considering how awesome it is, all saying that really does is compliment the rest of the album. This song in particular seems to hint at the harder rock direction the band has decided to take. The songs sounds like it could have been organized a little better, especially how the song almost randomly (though quite nicely) moves into a prog-synthy part in the middle, but that is quite minor. Overall a really good song.

Trees was once my favorite Rush song of all time, and still sort of is. The wonderful woodsy sounding nylon guitar reminds one of the intro to A Farewell to Kings, only with more interesting chord changes. The lyrics are some of the best Peart has ever written, which are a metaphor of the progressive movement in the early 20th century toward workers' rights, and even somewhat make fun of the socialist ideals (hatchet, axe, and saw). This is a progressive Rush classic if ever there was one. Time signatures included: 3/4, 4/4,6/8, 4/4, 5/4 (with the solo), 4/4. Absolute genious.

Finally we have Rush's finest insrumental (next to YYZ), La Villa Strangiato. This song is almost all about the individual musicians' talents, how incredibly fast as well as percise they can play, and the use of synthesizers has never been better. Probably Rush's most progressive and well written song, all members are at their prime, playing with incredible technique that could make any open-minded musician's jaw drop. This ten and a half minute long song solidifies this album as an absolute masterpiece.

Draith | 5/5 |


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