Rush - A Farewell to Kings
Mercury Records
Classic Progressive Rock
6 songs (37:13)
Release year: 1977
Rush, Mercury Records
Reviewed by Jeff

One of the tightest and most talented hard rock trios to come out of Canada during the 1970's was Rush. Rush is well known for Geddy Lee's distinctively high voice and their incredible reproduction of studio material in a live concert setting. These days Rush has moved towards a more commercial, technical and progressive musical direction. The 1977 release of their album, "A Farewell To Kings", marked the extended use of keyboards like the mini-moog and bass pedal synthesizer, as well as various percussion instruments like bells and temple blocks. "A Farewell To Kings" contains six tracks that offer the listener an elevating experience both musically and lyrically.

The CD opens up with the title track, "A Farewell To Kings". Alex Lifeson starts the song with the classical guitar and Neil Peart adds a touch of bells while Geddy Lee provides some delicate keyboard sounds. The song gradually picks up in speed and in heaviness, with the guitar distorted enough to emphasize delicate picking and finger nuances. Lee plays some wicked bass lines and Peart keeps the consistent and perfect time changes on drums.

The next track is "Xanadu", a song well over ten minutes in length. The beginning includes the sounds of birds and a horse, as well as wind, temple blocks, chimes, bells, bass pedal synthesizer and mini-moog. This song gives you the vision of a rider traveling through the forest as he approaches the lost "Xanadu", in search for immortality. Lifeson uses volume control effects on guitar. Lee has an excellent vocal performance as well as some melodic moog phrasing and bass lines. Peart provides some powerful drumming and percussion overall.

"Closer To The Heart" is track three. It's a very popular concert favorite among Rush fans and the group themselves. The tune includes more use of bells, bass pedal synthesizer, twelve string guitar, and a strong vocal performance from Geddy Lee.

Track four is "Cinderella Man". It has a nice mix and trade off between electric and acoustic guitars. Lifeson plays some buzz-like guitar chords while Lee plays bass lines under them. Peart has some awesome drum fills in this song.

"Madrigal" is the next track. It's a slow, mellow ballad with a light mini-moog sound and acoustic guitar. This song is a medieval-type love poem that gives you the picture of the knight and the fair maiden in the forest.

The last track on the CD is "Cygnus X-1". It is about an astronaut who travels into a black hole. The introduction to the song has eerie space sounds created by the keyboards as well as some weird time changes on the bass. The story of "Cygnus X-1" is continued on the 1978 release, "Hemispheres", on the title track. That song has numerous changes in tempo, dynamics and timing.

The original record release of "A Farewell To Kings" contained a gatefold sleeve with lyrics, which has become very rare these days. The re-mastered version of the CD comes pretty close to reproducing the original packaging and artwork of the LP. And as far as the sound, it's amazing! This is one Rush album every Rush fan should have in their collection! BUY OR DIE!

Killing Songs :
All of them
Jeff quoted CLASSIC
Other albums by Rush that we have reviewed:
Rush - Clockwork Angels reviewed by Aleksie and quoted 90 / 100
Rush - Beyond The Lighted Stage reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Rush - Test For Echo reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Rush - Counterparts reviewed by Goat and quoted 86 / 100
Rush - Roll The Bones reviewed by Goat and quoted 87 / 100
To see all 26 reviews click here
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