Rush-A Farewell to Kings
A Farewell to Kings further explores the Space Rock of 2112 and brings in Moogs and an eclectic range of instruments. It is also the album with my favorite Rush epic of all time, 'Cygnus X-1'
1: A Farewell to Kings introduces you to a lot of what you will hear on this album, many soft-heavy transitions and acoustics. This track starts off with some beautiful acoustic guitar building up to heavy electric guitar, and Lifeson just nails this transition perfectly here. Rush also seems to be exploring more social/political lyrics mixed in with Peart's wondrous sci-fi-fantasy tales, which will characterize much of Rush's later work.(9/10)
2: Xanadu is the first epic on this album, and delves even deeper into Space Rock sounds then 2112. Xanadu starts off with peaceful sounds of birds chirping, droning synth, and interesting percussion. Bells start to chime in with the keyboard playing, then the heavy guitar kicks in at about two minutes through. The keyboard keeps flowing and complimenting the slashing guitar, then flowing straight into a softer melody with acoustics. The lyrics are also very beautiful on this track, about a man trying to find immortality then opening his eyes to the downsides of immortal life. The song ends with similar sounds from the beginning. This song is another favorite of mine. (10/10)
3: Closer to the Heart was the radio hit from this album, and for a short single, it is not bad. It has the same feel of the previous tracks, in being very empowering. A great casual listen. (9/10)
4: Cinderella Man was written by Lee, when most of Rush's lyrics are written by Peart. It has some very subtle social lyrics mixed in with the seemingly nonsensical fantasy lyrics, yet still fits in with the mood. It has some nice opening riffs and similar melodies to the previous songs. A pretty great underrated song. (8/10)
5: Madrigal is the weakest song on the album, although still a good song. It's a short little ballad-type song, but it serves as a nice interlude before the behemoth that is the next song. (6/10)
6: Cygnus X-1. This song is undeniably my favorite Rush song of all time! Starting out with some distorted spoken word, sort of reminiscing The Necromancer from Caress of Steel. The subtle percussion and menacing ambiance make for a much darker rendition of Xanadu. Driving guitar riffs slowly fade in, and Lifeson and Peart perfectly compliment each other on this part. I just love how the guitar is just rocking throughout while the drumming keeps a steady pace. Soon, the keyboard subtly fades in and gives warning for the song to rock further. Rush truly shows their Metal side here, with dark menacing swirling guitar rampaging through till the guitar starts to crunch through its strings. Lee then lowers his voice to speak his first words of this song, signaling the guitars to explode, and Lee begins singing about the the black hole soon to come. After some lighter guitar similar to the previous songs, the guitars scream out of the way. Silence falls, until Lifeson shows his fury with some crunching metal riffs, making way for Lee to sing in all glory. From then on, the Cygnus X-1 saga is to be continued... It is certainly one of the best rock/metal songs I've heard. (10/10)
Caress of Steel is still my favorite classic Rush album, but A Farewell to Kings is tied with Hemispheres, being essential to any Progressive Rock or Metal collection.
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