While such albums as 1980's Permanent Waves and 1981's Moving Pictures are usually considered Rush's masterpieces (and with good reason), 1978's Hemispheres is just as deserving. Maybe the fact that the album consists of only four compositions (half are lengthy pieces) was a bit too intimidating for some, but the near 20-minute-long "Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres" is arguably the band's finest extended track. While the story line isn't as comprehensible as "2112" was, it's much more consistent musically, twisting and turning through five different sections which contrast heavy rock sections against more sedate pieces. Neil Peart had become one of rock's most accomplished lyricists by this point, as evidenced by "The Trees," which deals with racism and inequality in a unique way (set in a forest!). And as always, the trio prove to be experts at their instruments, this time on the complex instrumental "La Villa Strangiato." Geddy Lee's shrieking vocals on the otherwise solid "Circumstances" may border on the irritating, but Hemispheres remains one of Rush's greatest releases.
Performance CreditsRush Primary Artist
Geddy Lee Synthesizer,Bass,Guitar,Bass Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Moog Synthesizer,Pedals
Alex Lifeson Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,12-string Guitar,Classical Guitar,Pedals
Neil Peart Chimes,Drums,Gong,Bells,Timpani,cowbell,Temple Blocks,Crotale,Wind Chimes
Technical CreditsRush Arranger,Producer
Terry Brown Arranger,Producer,Engineer
Geddy Lee Composer,Contributor
Alex Lifeson Composer
Declan O'Doherty Engineer
Neil Peart Composer
Hugh Syme Artwork,Art Direction
Mike Donegani Engineer
Declan O'Dogerty Engineer
Reno Ruocco Engineer
Pat Moran Engineer
Bob King Art Direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is the ultimate for fans of the early art-rock heavy metal Rush. The eighteen-minute title track is a remarkably consistent piece of work, although it lacks some of the emotional climaxes of 2112. 'Circumstances' is more straightforward, but its knotty riffs and odd time changes make it interesting. 'The Trees' is the single, introduced by classical guitar picking and featuring some fantasy lyrics by Peart. The final track, 'La Villa Strangiato', may be the best - a nine-minute instrumental full of weird riffs, impressive solos and most of all surprises. Whether or not you like this album depends on whether you have any liking for Rush's brand of progressive hard rock. If you do, then this is heaven.
The title track is part 2 of ''Cygnus X-1'' from Rush's previous album ''A Farewell to Kings''. The B & N reviewer missed the message of ''The Trees''. It concerns the devastating solutions of socialism upon freedom, from a Libertarian point of view. ''Circumstances'' is always a joy to listen to as it is an introspection or perhaps even a grasping of the concept that the more things change the more they stay the same (which can also be said of Rush). ''La Villa Strangiato'' is just great fusion rock. Not a weak track on this album.
Here, these 3 princes of prog - rock combine the best of both worlds, a long and onerous theme for what was side A of an LP, 2 catchy songs with memorable chorus and interludes, and an insturmental tour de force. The opening theme, a story of the "left" and "right" brain using the metaphor of greek myhtology? To some it may be onerous, even repetitive, but the ideas, lyrics and arrangements of pieces are symphony like. They end the album with La Villa Strangiato, an instrumental with some unique twists and turns, and 2 of the best guitar solos ever recorded.