Review Summary: The ability of Rush is endless in this wonderful album. With everything to offer(catchiness, thoughtful lyrics, strong instruments, etc.), it's no wonder that I fell in love with one of the most refreshing listens I've had in a LONG time.Rush
I can not tell you how many times I was interested in this band and tried to get into them. Everyone I talked to praised the prowess of Moving Pictures
to me, telling me I should check that out, if anything from this band at all. After I asked several people, I decided to listen to some songs off of that album. They never really hit home for me, and I was actually kind of deflated with my ongoing search for finding a Rush album I honestly liked. Then, I heard La Villa Strangiato
off of Hemispheres
, and I just had one thought on my mind:
That is my thoughts on this album summed up in one word, even though I feel it doesn’t describe this album in its entirety. The passages that unfold in this album are amazing. The creativity exerts through their instruments as if it was effortless. With Geddy’s present bass(a big plus for me) that shines through every track, Alex’s amazing riffs and solo delivery that stays with me after I’ve listened to the songs, and Neil’s amazing drum beats and fills showcase his great technicality as one of the best drummers in rock music, the lineup is definitely impressive. It is no wonder this trio can come up with great music like this, and great music they play indeed. When I first heard this album, I really enjoyed it, but the more and more I listen to it, the more and more I love it. I couldn’t be happier with this result.
The first track off this album is the lengthy epic, Cygnus X-1 Book II Hemispheres
. This track is lengthy, clocking in at a little above 18 minutes. It starts out with a fast-paced bass guitar part with a strong synth and drums to accompany it. It seems the guitar is in the background for this one. The intro makes me feel like I’m diving into space for some reason. Now, I was never quite a fan of Geddy’s vocals for a long time, but when I heard the first lines of Apollo’s theme, it seemed to fit right together with the music and his voice was even enjoyable. The theme of this is great, and I think the artwork greatly identifies the theme: Two totally different beings (Apollo and Dionysus) trying to bring together a broken and divided world(the brain) after the broken world was pointed out by a bystander (Cygnus). This song showcases everything about the band; a great shredding solo by Alex, the bop-your-head tune of Armageddon, the soft but synth heavy Cygnus, and the overall great musicianship of the band. Geddy really impressed me on this track, showcasing his bass work that is phenomenal, his synth playing in Cygnus, and his vocals. The song ends quietly, as if the world is united, and in those few seconds of the world being united, everything is perfect in the world. An amazing opener to the album.
The next track in the small list of songs on this album is the lively Circumstances
. This is the shortest song on the album, and full of energy at that. This song has a really catchy riff and Geddy’s vocals are catchy in the chorus as well. The song is a funfest, with little bass fills everywhere, changing of riffs all the time which ushers the song at lightning pace, and then a fanfare-like organ(probably Geddy’s synth) playing in the bridge with soft background music to accompany it, slowing the song down for a few seconds. The song really takes off from there with a beautiful riff by Alex. Neil’s drumming is also top-notch in this song with lots of little fills and great beats, but when is it not great? The song ends with a bang and after I listened to it for the first time I realized I was bobbing my head the whole time to it. The catchiest song on this record by far.
A mysterious track is up next, the one that stands against the tide of the rest of this album. I can actually say this is melodic Rush, and this song is named The Trees
. This song starts off very quietly with an acoustic guitar and Geddy singing low and softly, gently pulling you in. It reminds me of walking through a forest at night. All of a sudden, the song explodes with strong guitars and Geddy wailing with his stronger and higher voice. This lasts for awhile, but falls back into seclusion again with what seems a flute solo, but is really Geddy’s synth I believe. It’s a very quite interlude, with a soft guitar part behind it. Geddy and Alex also come up with a great poppy riff here, making me feel like I’m continuing the journey through the desolate forest. Alex’s solo is great here too. Overall, this showcases the genius of the trio working together to make a beautiful song that may not have over the top musicianship, but great beauty in the work.
It’s instrumental time for Rush, and they decided to end it with La Villa Strangiato
. This song is my personal favorite, even though it doesn’t have a single lyric in it. The music speaks for itself, and I can’t help but feel that Rush were trying to add the three elements of the other songs to make this great one. The song starts out quietly with a strummed guitar that shreds at the end of its short intro, which is cool to hear. The song bursts into energy after a build-up of guitar, synth, and drums, vaguely reminding the listener of the march-y attitude that was Cygnus
. After we have some of this with a couple of great riffs by Alex, we go into the quiet interlude, and the best part of the song. It starts really quietly, having a repeating drum line and a soft synth behind the beautiful guitar of Alex. It starts slow, but eventually builds up to the most beautiful solo I’ve heard from these guys, if not the most beautiful solo I've heard, ever. He shreds up and down, but he does it with such great intensity and passion that I can’t help but admire it. After that, another beautiful palm-muted riff comes in. This section greatly reminded me of The Trees
. All of a sudden out of nowhere, a jazzy-like riff starts playing, and we’re greeted to the energy that was Circumstances
. With solos and fills being thrown in the mix everywhere, I was greatly enjoying this part and tapping my foot along with it. Alex has another crazy solo while Geddy and Neil trade off adding little parts in between sections. Eventually, they play the opening riff again and mess with some riffs, and the song finally ends.
After taking the time to soak it all in, Hemispheres
truly is a masterpiece, displaying great virtuoso of each player’s instrument and bringing melody and catchiness to the field as well. Rush really struck gold with this record, with combining things in songs that worked
for them. Any progressive or rock lover should have this record, but I would not recommend it to those that are not fans of either genre, which is why I can not give this a 5, even though it gets a personal 5 from me. If you give this a chance, get ready for a treat for your ears.