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Hemispheres (Remastered) Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered

305 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered, May 6, 1997
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Hemispheres (Remastered) + A Farewell to Kings + Permanent Waves (Remastered)
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Editorial Reviews

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Smart rockers Rush were just on the brink of being embraced by the album rock mainstream when they recorded Hemispheres. Already wildly popular with a certain corner of the intellectual crowd, thanks in part to drummer Neil Peart's Ayn Rand obsession, this CD marked a turning point for the Canadian trio. Hemispheres explores the political, social economic, and sci-fi themes prevalent on their early work, continuing the saga of "Cygnus" from A Farewell To Kings. Rush was fond of writing in movements, almost orchestrally, rather than the typical verse/chorus/verse/chorus structure, and Hemispheres has the usual opus-like compositions that perfectly displayed their chops. The CD features time changes that you'd need a calculator to crack, impossible guitar arpeggios from Alex Lifeson, and Geddy Lee's low end bass rumblings and high end vocal shriekings. Rush's lofty lyrics sometimes bordered on the ridiculous and, if for no other reason, Hemispheres deserves props for Lee's ability to sing the line, "There is unrest in the forest..." (from "Trees") while keeping a straight face. --Steve Gdula


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song Title Time Price
  1. Cygnus X-118:08Album Only
  2. Circumstances 3:44$1.29  Buy MP3 
  3. The Trees 4:45$1.29  Buy MP3 
  4. La Villa Strangiato 9:34$1.29  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 6, 1997)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Original recording remastered
  • Label: Mercury
  • ASIN: B000001ESL
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (305 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,019 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

76 of 83 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 24, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Hemispheres marks the end of Rush, Book 1, "the full-blown art-rock conceptual piece". On future releases, the band would condense their complex song structures into shorter songs, sacrificing self-indulgence for the sake of melody to create more accessible songs.And this is a fine closing chapter, for it bridges to where Rush was heading in the 80's. In the span of 36 minutes, they said goodbye to the side-long suite ("Cygnus X=1, Part II"), said hello to tighter song structures ("Circumstances"), introduced us to the new condensed prog-rock ("The Trees"), and gave us a first glance at the fusionesque instrumental ("La Villa Strangiato").Neil Peart's lyrics also began to change here. After completing the Cygnus X-1 story, he would abandon the mythological and science fiction themes for good, and concentrate on more human themes, such as fear, isolation, the pressures of fame, prejudice, and loss, to name a few. Thus, as the years passed, he became more introspective, and the lyrics really took on deeper meaning and connected more effectively. There is a glimpse of the new direction here on "Circumstances", one of his more underrated lyric pieces.You have to own this album if you want to hear Rush at their most "progressive". If it is your first buy (highly unlikely), you must also pick up A Farewell To Kings, for you need to have "Cygnus X-1" to fully understand the story behind the concept. Then proceed to Permanent Waves, and so on... Heck, buy them all, preferrably in chronological order, and take note of the directions Rush took with each in terms of music composition and lyrics. It will be well worth the money you spend, if you truly appreciate what these three extremely talented musicians have to bring to the table.
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49 of 53 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on August 14, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Not that I begrudge Rush their tremendous success or anything, but I really liked liking them back before they got popular.

_Hemispheres_ is one of my old favorites from that time. After the release of their next album (_Permanent Waves_), you couldn't turn on an FM station without hearing 'The Spirit of Radio' or 'Freewill'. Those are both great songs, of course, but because of their frequent airplay they're very strongly associated with that period of time: whenever I'm reminded that I can choose a ready guide in some celestial voice, I close my eyes and suddenly Reagan is in the White House again.

But I can't recall that anything from this album got any real airtime. And in a way that's nice, because I can listen to it today _without_ being transported back to my sophomore year of high school.

And I do listen to it. _Hemispheres_ has lots of good stuff on it.

Of course there's the 'rock opera' track to which the title refers. Ostensibly it's the second 'book' of a piece begun on _A Farewell to Kings_ (these guys are forever splitting up suites across albums) -- and for better or worse, it does include the guy who got sucked into the black hole in Book I. But thematically, it's a somewhat Nietzschean reworking of some ancient mythology (mostly Greek, but the Christian Armageddon is in there too), articulating the need for a proper balance between reason and feeling. It's a bit shorter (and in my opinion tighter) than the title track from _2112_ but very much along the same lines. (And it shows lyricist/percussionist Neil Peart stepping a bit further away from his Randian roots; for Ayn Rand, feeling was firmly subservient to reason and that was that.
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77 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Samhot on November 16, 2001
Format: Audio CD
As the closing album of Rush's classic progressive period, this is possibly the album where they reached their peak in composition and concept. Starting from 1976's _2112_, and up to this album from 1978, one can see how the band's performance & writing skills had progressed.

The concept here (or rather the title centerpiece) deals with the conflict of reason (the left hemisphere of the brain) and emotion (the right hemisphere of the brain), and the consequences of the lack of equilibrium between the two. It's divided into six movements: each (with the exception of the closing movement) represented by a mythological figure that correlates with the designated psychological/behavioral characteristics associated with each respective one.

The musicianship displayed here is nearly flawless and awe-inspiring, as the band here is nearly playing orchestral music - only in a hard rock/metal context. I could easily see this title-piece arranged for an orchestra. The first movement called Prelude plays out like an overture: giving subtle glimpses of what will appear in later moments. It bursts open with an F#7 sus 4 chord from Alex Lifeson, followed by full band interplay which then plays out in typical rhythm - albeit with some unpredictable chord changes. Shortly after, Lifeson plays some ethereal guitar arpeggios, then switches the atmosphere abruptly with a near-diatonic scale riff in descending mode. Later, Lifeson plays more wispy, atmospheric arpeggiated riffs, which are later followed by the band playing in full hard rock mode, and not to mention Geddy's infamous "shrieks."

The second movement called Apollo: Bringer of Wisdom opens up with that descending riff from Alex Lifeson found on the first movement.
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Hey, this a forum for a Rush album, guys. You're all long gone by now but I wish you had taken this somewhere else. Like, you know, a Metallica album or something? I'm gonna blame you Deluce or whatever, because you started this with your fan bashing. You know where that always ends up too, I... Read More
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