RUSH — Hemispheres (review)

RUSH — Hemispheres album cover Album · 1978 · Hard Rock Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Hemispheres is the sixth studio album from hard rock/progressive rock band Rush.

With 2112 and A Farewell to Kings firmly placing the band in the royal court of spacey heavy rock/metal bands, Hemispheres sees Rush continue in the style of the previous album. This is only fitting, as the grand finale of A Farewell to Kings's "Cygnus X-1" was a bit of a cliffhanger. So here comes Book II of Cygnus X-1.

The "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres" suite takes the spot as Rush's third longest song, clocking in at just over eighteen minutes. This title track moves all over the place, with many different riffs and passages. While this worked so well in "Cygnus X-1" and "2112", it honestly doesn't work well here. There's a few cool riffs, especially the sharp metal march at the beginning, but it's overall not as exciting as previous epics and my mind starts to wander after a while. The problem is that there are just too many ideas here, without the time to let it all play out. "2112", while longer, kept things fresh but at the same time kept things going long enough for the listener to enjoy one passage. Here, as soon as I start really getting into a sweet riff, it's gone.

Despite the main event being a bit of a snooze-fest, the three other songs featured are more enjoyable. "Circumstances" is probably my favorite on the album, with killer riffing and showing Peart's lyrics becoming less sci-fi and more philosophical. "The Trees" shows Peart's lyrical genius as well, with some of the greatest metaphorical lyricism I've ever heard. The finale, "La Villa Strangiato" is a bonafide classic and one of the greatest instrumentals of all time. Despite being all over the place like the title track, "La Villa Strangiato" makes it all work. It all flows smoothly together, with rumbling bass, guitar shredding, and crazy drum work. So many musical styles are packed in, ranging from space rock, shredding heavy metal, jazzy swing drum/bass interplay, to serene guitar harmonies reminiscent of Santana in his prime.

If the opening suite, which is half of the album, wasn't so boring this would be a masterpiece. While half of it is boring, the rest of the album is absolutely killer and keeps you at the edge of your seat. The second half of the album is so killer, that it's worth listening. Just don't expect any "2112" with the title track.

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10 months ago
The epic is better than 2112 :P

siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Weird how things work, huh? LOL
Unitron wrote:
more than 2 years ago
This one was actually the other way around for me. I used to love the first song, as I stated in my old review from a couple years ago. I still love the other three songs, I just wish there would be more time for parts to play out in the suite. :-P
siLLy puPPy wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Hopefully it will be one that grows on you. Some of my favorite albums took years to dig into my skin. This is one of them :)

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