RUSH — A Farewell to Kings (review)

RUSH — A Farewell to Kings album cover Album · 1977 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
"A Farewell to Kings" is the 5th full-length studio album by Canadian progressive rock act Rush. The album was released through Mercury Records (US/Europe)/Anthem Records (Canada) in September 1977. Originally on vinyl featuring a gatefold sleeve. After releasing three albums which earned Rush some attention but not a genuine breakthrough, "2112 (1976)" proved to be just what the doctor ordered in terms of critical acclaim and commercial success. "A Farewell to Kings" continued that trend and ended up selling 500.000 copies within 2 months of its release (US Gold Certification).

Stylistically "A Farewell to Kings" continues the hard rocking progressive music style of its predecessor, but adds new levels of sophistication in terms of more adventurous songwriting and an even higher level of technical playing (drummer Neil Peart has for example greatly increased the fusion elements in his playing style). Rush now also frequently use synthesizer in their music, and that element is an important feature in their sound on the album. In addition to that we´re as always treated to hard rocking riffs, creative lead guitar ideas, busy and adventurous bass playing, and Geddy Lee´s distinct sounding high octave voice and skillful and passionate delivery. Rush are an incredibly well playing band and paired with their clever compositional skills, it´s a potent cocktail.

"A Farewell to Kings" features 6 tracks. "Xanadu" and "Cygnus X-1, Book I: The Voyage" are both over 10 minutes long progressive rock tracks, featuring complex structures and intricate playing, while the remaining tracks are slightly less progressive in structure, but a little more hard rocking (except for "Madrigal" which is a short ballad type track). "Closer to the Heart" is the most vers/chorus simple track on the album, but no less appealing because of that, and "A Farewell to Kings" is overall a nicely varied release. To my ears "Cinderella Man" and "Madrigal" are slightly sub par to the rest of the material on the album, which affects my rating of the album a bit, but they are not bad quality tracks by any means. The highlight of the album is arguably "Xanadu", which is an absolutely brilliant composition.

The sound production is powerful and organic, suiting the material perfectly, and upon conclusion "A Farewell to Kings" is another high quality release by Rush and the next logical step in their musical development. A 4 star (80%) rating is deserved.
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more than 2 years ago
And Cygnus X-1, described by Martin Popoff as "the evil twin" to Xanadu. I love how the music of Cygnus X-1 sonically describes much of the voyage of the ill-fated Rocinante. The spiralling into the vortex of the black hole part near the end is particularly intense.


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