"Hemispheres" marked the beginning of a transitional period for Rush. Containing their last 'epic' song (the 18-minute "Cygnus X-1 Book II"), it showed the beginning of a move away from their previous hard rock styles towards a more commercial sound. This period ultimately ended up with the hugely successful "Moving Pictures" (which in turn would pave the way for the overall sound of Rush's '80s albums), but "Hemispheres" is a gem in itself.

A mere 36 minutes in length, the album packs its initial punch with the opening chords of the first track, which tells the tale of a space explorer falling into a black hole. The middle two tracks are catchy (with "The Trees" being one of my favourite Rush tracks), and the album closes with the 9-minute instrumental "La Villa Strangiato" (appropriately sub-titled "An exercise in self-indulgence"). Overall a great album which showcases some of the band's best work. And you can even buy the album artwork as a t-shirt. What's not to like?

~320 kbps (VBR)

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