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Review: "A Farewell to Kings: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition" - Rush

by Andy Snipper,

You are, as a rock fan, either a fan of Rush or an Anti – there seem to be very few equivocal voices where the band are concerned.

This remaster, as part of the 40th Anniversary series of reissues, is aimed squarely at the converted and while it may very well win over the uninitiated it will not convert the Antis.

What it does do is to show just how good the original album was and how badly it has been served by previous CD reissues.

When it was originally released back in 1977 it was the first Rush album to achieve Gold Record status in the US – it went on to Platinum status – and it has been a favorite of Rush fans ever since.
Shame then that the previous CD reissues have been so poor, suffering from compressed dynamics and almost losing all the bass lines in the noise floor.

This is different – very. The full dynamic range has been restored, Geddy’s vocal is less of a shriek and now actually has range, the drum lines are clear and powerful with an extra sense of ‘air’ around Neil Peart’s percussion, Alex Lifeson’s guitar lines are more integrated with the rest of the music and now you can actually hear and follow Geddy Lee’s bass lines. In short, it sounds as good as the original vinyl, if not better in some regards.

The two ‘monster’ tracks ‘Xanadu’ & ‘Cygnus X-1’ are as wonderfully symphonic and overblown as they ever were but the ‘pop’ numbers such as ‘Closer To The Heart’ and ‘Madrigal’ come over with a wonderful touch and musicality.

The package now comes complete with the whole of the show from Hammersmith Odeon and it really does show Rush at their live best – inventive staging and music with real power and force. Great version of ‘Bastille Day’ followed by a beautiful ‘Lakeside Park’ and on through the live favourites of the time and the whole of ‘Farewell To Kings’. Some of this has been released before but never as a total package. The 3rd CD also includes cover versions of some of the numbers by such as Dream Theatre and The Trews.

For fans of the band this release is a must – returned to majesty.