Rush a Farewell To Kings Album Review

Rush – A Farewell To Kings – Classic Album Review

A Farewell To Kings. This is one of those albums that I couldn’t imagine being without. The incredible 11 minute Xanadu was featured on an Old Grey Whistle Test show fairly soon after the album’s 1977 release. Utterly blown away, I bought Farewell at the very first opportunity. The first viewing of that video was something I’ll never forget.

The follow up to the incredible 2112, and recorded in Wales at the legendary Rockfield Studios, AFTK was, for me, the moment when the band’s awesome potential was fully realised.
It’s such an overwhelming set of music. Multi, multi-layered and featuring the then fast maturing master musicianship of Messrs Lee, Lifeson and Peart.

Very 1970s in its overall mood, motifs and fantasy themes, Farewell was very much of its time, yet to these ears it’s as fresh as that first listen.
I’m not a particular fan of what Rush became after Moving Pictures, and if pushed to name a favorite LP, I think I’d pick this one.

Although it’s not a concept album, it has that kind of gravitas. Each song is of such high quality, with Xanadu and Cygnus X-1 being really dramatic epics and most definitely high up in any Rush devotee’s top track list.
Seen here as a 2015 Direct Metal Master reissue on Mercury, on 200gram vinyl, the sonics are quite incredible and proof, once again that, when properly handled, today’s reissues often top the original when taken as a whole.

Farewell To Kings was subsequently issued again as a 40th anniversary package. However I don’t like that they’ve messed with the quite wonderful original cover art and, from what I understand, the vinyl is unchanged from the Abbey Road remastered 2015 version in any case.

The impact of this album on me is such that, when holidaying in Wales one year, I had to go to see Rockfield Studios just to say I’d been where Farewell, and a good many other great albums, in fairness, were recorded.
It’s such an immense record.

Chris Wright | Now Spinning Magazine

 

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